Updated on 09/16/2011 8:25AM

Try Tonco under the lights


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Gilbert and Sullivan once described a policeman's lot as not a happy one. There's no telling how they would describe being the racing secretary at Bay Meadows.

Friday's evening card provided the usual weekly headache for racing secretary Greg Brent and his hard-working staff.

They were forced to settle for a pair of five-horse fields on the eight-race card.

The news wasn't better for Saturday's $60,000-added Charles H. Russell Handicap, which attracted only seven nominees and looked as if it would be tough to fill.

Onslaught, who lost photos to win machine Channing Way in her past two starts, heads the Russell nominees. Also nominated were Color Me Special, Demo Memo, Harvest Girl, Madame Pietra, Miss Jeanne Cat, and More Mascara.

The depleted horse population, concurrent running of the Big Fresno Fair, and trainers' dislike of night racing conspire to make filling Friday cards a difficult chore.

Half of the condition book races filled, and four of the 10 extra races filled, too. Entries were so sparse that two of the extra races went as five-horse fields.

Seven horses were entered in an interesting featured six-furlong allowance sprint. The one to beat could be Tonco, who returned from a seven-month layoff to run second in a similar spot on Sept. 20.

Tonco has only one career win, but his company lines include the likes of Giant Gentleman, San Nicholas, How Bout Jose, Mt. Rainer, Mi Quick, Con Quixote, and Blazing Road, who opposes him Friday.

A good outside draw and a sharp recent three-furlong drill in 34.80 seconds should have Tonco set for a strong effort. He also figures to be tested.

Itsasgoodasitgets enters the race after winning his last start at Emerald Downs. A 6-year-old gelding, he has two wins and four thirds in seven starts this year and had a decent workout over the track.

Kenny Mais won his two starts at the distance when shipped north from Southern California last spring. He maintained his sharp form during the summer and just ran a strong second after setting the pace in a one-mile allowance race on the turf.

Blazing Road makes his comeback from a four-month layoff with a pair of bullet half-mile drills. Mining For Fun, part of the favored entry in Tonco's return race, ran fourth that night after being mired on the dead rail.

Speedy Stud Poker steps up and draws the rail, while fellow Emerald import Diamond Ten comes into the race with two wins in six starts this year.

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