03/31/2004 12:00AM

A trio with ties to Mahorney

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ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Bill Mahorney will watch Friday's Golden Gate Fields feature with interest.

Not only is he starting two strong contenders, Marty's Zee and Devil Dancing, in the $80,000 optional claimer at six furlongs, but he is also the trainer who developed the likely favorite, Grant Marty a Wish.

The three look like the prime threats in a competitive race that includes Hippogator and Gone to Party from leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's barn as well as Icy Choice, making her third start of the year after an eight-month layoff.

Martin Bach, who bred and owns Marty's Zee, is also the breeder of Grant Marty a Wish.

John and Clyde Doyle claimed Grant Marty a Wish for $12,500 from her winning debut at Solano on July 17, 2002.

The 5-year-old Grant Marty a Wish has won 8 of 17 starts with a pair of seconds and three thirds. She has the best speed in the field and steps up in class after having won her last two races. She earned a 100 Beyer in her Golden Gate Fields debut in her last start on March 5, opening up immediately and never being threatened in a $50,000 optional claimer.

She figures to have the lead again Friday with Marty's Zee and Devil Dancing in good stalking position, along with Hippogator.

Mahorney claimed Devil Dancing for $50,000 for Bach on Feb. 12. She ran third in the Soviet Problem in her first start for Mahorney.

Marty's Zee has done her best running of late on the front end in routes and just scored a game victory over Hippogator after losing the lead briefly in the lane. The 7-year-old Marty's Zee doesn't have the same quickness as Grant Marty a Wish, though, and will probably find herself sitting third early.

The program also includes a pair of turf races for $32,000 claimers.

In a 4 1/2-furlong sprint, course and distance specialist Santano draws the outside in a field of nine. Santano has been freshened since a victory against similar company on Jan. 23.

Tonco returns to the turf, where he is 4 for 8, in a 1 1/16-mile race that includes Woody Haze and Noble Masterpiece, who just sprung a $121.60 upset here.

* Glen Ellen Vocational Academy, northern California's only nonprofit horse rescue and rehabilitation facility, will hold a volunteer workshop at Golden Gate Fields Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the barbecue pit at the north end of the grandstand. The meeting is designed to provide information about the academy and recruit volunteers for upcoming fund-raising efforts. Free coffee and pastries will be provided.