09/03/2006 11:00PM

Trainer March wins dead heat not once, but twice in two days


ALBANY, Calif. - Dead heats are relatively uncommon, but there were two of them at Golden Gate Fields in two days over the holiday weekend.

There was a dead heat between 1-2 favorite Wallstreet Whisper and 43-1 All Pro in Saturday's sixth race.

Sunday's sixth race produced a dead heat with 3-5 favorite Sounds Like a Plan and 12-1 Bold Mystique.

Both All Pro and Bold Mystique are trained by Rhoda March.

"How improbable is that?" asked March after Sunday's dead heat.

Then, answering her own question, she said, "That's gotta be very, very improbable."

March's husband, Cliff, owns Bold Mystique and is a partner in All Pro with Eugene and Gina Geerlof. Cliff was one of the breeders of All Pro. Rhoda was one of the breeders of Bold Mystique.

March has trained Thoroughbreds for 30 years and has also trained mules. She serves as a liaison between the mule association and racing offices on the fairs, and Cliff, who calls charts at the fairs, has helped the mule association with publicity and record keeping.

After going 0 for 22 last year, March has saddled four winners from 15 mounts this year. Ten of her starters have hit the board.

All Pro, who set a Pleasanton track record at 4 1/2 furlongs in his debut, and Bold Mystique are two of her best runners.

"They're both really nice," she said. "They don't do stupid things."

All Pro's victory was particularly pleasing. He has good speed but hadn't shown an ability to kick home at six furlongs.

March has worked to get the 3-year-old gelding to carry his speed farther.

She changed tactics for Saturday's race and credited jockey Jorge Bourdieu for All Pro's success. Bourdieu got him to sit about a length off the lead in the $40,000 starter allowance at six furlongs.

"He understood completely what I was getting at," March said. "I told him to send to get position and told him then it was in his hands, but with all the speed he might not want to go. He rode the horse perfectly."

Bold Mystique also came from behind in her race, a $25,000 claimer at five furlongs on the turf. With her, it wasn't so much by design. She wasn't as quick as several of her rivals in the race.

"She does not have the early foot the colt does," March said. "Hers is more tactical [speed]."

The dead heats proved costly to the fans betting on March's horses.

Instead of receiving $88 on All Pro had he won by himself, they received only $17. For Bold Mystique, the return was $6.40 instead of $26.80. Both Wallstreet Whisper and Sounds Like a Pro returned $2.40.

Strong maiden races on Wednesday

Wednesday's Golden Gate Fields card includes four strong maiden races - three of them straight maiden events.

Two-year-old fillies will compete at 1 1/16 miles on the turf in one, and 2-year-olds will compete at five furlongs in another. There will be a $20,000 maiden claimer at six furlongs and a straight maiden race at six furlongs.

Stakes-placed Momotombo, who has hit the board in all four of his starts, appears a strong favorite in the last of the four races. Of course, he has looked very good in both his starts this year and run second both times.

Stakes could have strong field

Vicarino, whose debut win in Santa Rosa reminded people of Frisco Star and Victorina last year, scared away rivals for a first-level allowance race scheduled for Monday, and the race had to be scrapped.

That might not be all bad. Eight horses in addition to Vicarino that were eligible to the allowance were nominated to Saturday's $50,000 Alameda. Included among the nominees are Cavonnier Juvenile winner Super Image, stakes-placed Stella's Posada, and the undefeated Larry by the Lake and Baltimore Drive.

Like Vicarino, Frisco Star and Victorina are owned by Harry Aleo and trained by Greg Gilchrist.

* Sam Spear celebrated his 29th anniversary hosting the Golden Gate Report, his nightly replay show on Labor Day. It is the longest running independently produced horse racing show on television. Spear also hosts a weekly radio show on horse racing.

* Owner-trainer Barry Holmes was suspended pending an appearance before the stewards for not appearing on Aug. 31 to answer charges relating to financial responsibility.

* Dr. David Seftel, the track physician at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows, avoided serious injury on his way to the track Friday, stopping his car just short of some concrete falling from a freeway overpass.