06/03/2001 11:00PM

Turf may be key for Summerzene


STICKNEY, Ill. - With an extra day tacked onto this racing week at Hawthorne, the already depleted horse population - at least the higher-quality portion of it - will be stretched even thinner.

Although fields for the Wednesday card are full enough, four of the first six races are restricted to Illinois-breds, and the best race of the day may be the last, a maiden allowance for turf horses at nine furlongs.

The turf course here was micromanaged during the rainy spell, and it has come through the wet season in good shape. Barring an unforeseen downpour, races Wednesday will be on the turf.

Turf is exactly what Summerzene may need. A 3-year-old owned by F & D Thoroughbreds and trained by Larry Rivelli, Summerzene is by Cozzene, one of the stronger turf influences in this country. But in three career starts, one last fall and two in May, Summerzene hasn't yet run on the grass, though he was entered in a turf race May 26 that was moved to the main track. Summerzene stayed in, but after racing in close attendance to the pace he tired in the stretch to finish a well-beaten third.

But if his pedigree is a guide, Summerzene may demonstrate a better finish Wednesday, and most Cozzenes who handle turf also get nine furlongs. Veteran jockey Jerry Lasala, who has had a good meet here, has a return call.

Catfish Wells is the obvious threat, having finished second in his last start, his first on turf, to the promising Far East of Eden. Catfish Wells, though, lacks early speed, and Summerzene could get the jump on him.

* Hawthorne hosts live racing Wednesday in order to fill the number of racing dates the track was assigned this year by the Illinois Racing Board. Hawthorne was allotted two more days than there are five-day racing weeks during the timespans of their spring and fall meets. The track elected to have one six-day racing week during each meet.

* Chris Emigh edged closer to the apprentice rider Zoe Cadman in the jockey's race here, but through the fifth race Monday still trailed Cadman by four winners. In Monday's first race, Cadman rode the graded stakes-placed filly Impending Bear to an impressive win over a solid turf allowance field. Though she had run well several times, Impending Bear hadn't won a race since early last year, and after a confidence building win today may be pointed for a stakes race by owner Stonerside Stable and trainer Mike Stidham.