02/01/2006 1:00AM

Tough spot for long-idle pair of claimers


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Closing weekend at Bay Meadows begins with its first Friday evening program of the year.

As usual on Friday nights, entries are on the light side, but the feature race does offer a bit of intrigue.

Five older runners will compete in a $20,000 claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Golden Souvenir and Sanger both make their first start since 2004.

, who has picked up a check in all seven career starts, makes his first start since being claimed for $25,000 on Halloween 2004. It was his first start for a tag.

The stakes-placed , 5 for 21 lifetime with a bankroll of $125,067, makes his first start since Nov. 7, 2004.

Golden Souvenir has keen early speed, while Sanger is more of a stalker in sprints.

Although both appear competitive given their work patterns for their return, they will be up against it in this race.

Point of Flight and Danzhound both come off solid victories following claims. Barron H was the odds-on choice against Danzhound on Jan. 2, but he hung late in the lane and finished fourth. Barron H and Danzhound have earned more than $500,000 between them.

, who drew the outside post 5, seems to have an advantage. He can let Golden Souvenir gun for the lead or he can take it himself. Roberto Gonzalez, the best speed rider in northern California, gets the mount on Danzhound, and he loves to dictate the pace.

Danzhound, re-claimed two back by hot trainer Art Sherman, has won 5 of 7 starts for the barn since Sherman originally claimed him last March. He was claimed from Sherman out of a September win and then won his first start back in Sherman's care.

Gonzalez has ridden the 7-year-old Danzhound to all five of his victories for Sherman.

Barron H usually likes an off track, but he allowed Badger K Eli and Tonco to sweep past him late in the slop Jan. 2. Barron H put together three straight wins over the summer. He was re-claimed by trainer John Martin in his last start.

Point of Flight, who just won for a $16,000 tag, will likely be last early. He has shown the ability to close, and the pace figures to be hot enough for him to have a chance here.

Point of Flight, Danzhound, and Barron H all have good records over this track.