02/12/2003 1:00AM

Summer preview from pair


ALBANY, Calif. - Jockeys Kevin Radke and Gary Baze are giving Golden Gate Fields fans a preview of the Emerald Downs jockey race this summer up in Washington.

Baze has been riding at Golden Gate for two-plus weeks and has seven winners from his first 35 mounts. Last weekend, he finished third on Surprise Halo in the Tanforan Handicap and third on Clover Situation in the Golden State Mile.

Baze, who suffered a badly broken left ankle last summer, began riding at Portland Meadows in December before coming to Golden Gate Fields.

"I'm happy with the way things are going," Baze said.

Baze renewed and maintained connections with Emerald-based trainers as he worked his way back into shape.

"I'm trying to win as many as I can," Baze said. "I think I'm exceeding my original expectations."

Baze was particularly pleased with the efforts of his horses in the weekend stakes races.

Baze inherited the lead in the Tanforan aboard Surprise Halo, slowed the pace down, and finished only 2 1/2 lengths behind Seinne, who ran the fastest 1 1/16-mile race of the season on the Lakeside Turf Course (1:42.00).

Clover Situation ran evenly, re-rallying late after being shuffled back into the stretch.

"Both ran their eyeballs out," Baze said.

Radke had two wins, two seconds, and three thirds in 14 starts in his first week of riding since winning the Emerald Downs jockey title last summer.

"The only thing I did was gallop some horses," Radke said. "I got on 14 or 15 a day for about 15 days.

"My biggest concern last week was if I would be fit enough. I was exhausted by the end of the week, but I got fit a lot easier than I thought."

Possibly Radke's most satisfying ride was his return to the turf course for the first time in two years last Friday, when he finished second in a one-mile race aboard 117-1 shot Chimney Fire.

"I didn't know if she'd be in the money because it was a tough race, but I'd ridden her twice two years ago in Seattle and won with her both times. I did expect her to run good, but it was exciting."

Mules honored

Sonny and Mary McPherson, owners of champion racing mule Black Ruby, and Ed and Ruth Burdick, who campaign Taz, were presented with the TVG Viewers' Choice award for the Rivalry of the Year.

The northern California fair circuit is planning a Black Ruby bobblehead promotion for this summer.

* Spring in Paris, a winner of two straight, will head a field of seven in Friday's one-mile allowance feature.