05/07/2007 11:00PM

Turf suits Bootleg Annie in claimer

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ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Dan Morgan doesn't claim to be a magician.

In fact, he's quick to credit Denny McGuire with the idea of claiming Bootleg Annie on Feb. 9 when she won a $5,000 maiden claimer at Turf Paradise.

She's quickly moved up the class ladder since then, winning a minor stakes in her last start while showing form that makes her a strong contender in Thursday's Golden Gate Fields feature, a $20,000 claimer for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the turf.

The surface is the key for Bootleg Annie. All four starts since her claim have come on the turf.

"One of the reasons we claimed her was to try her on the grass," Morgan said.

After her claim, Morgan stepped her up to the $12,500 level, put her on turf, and she won. She then ran third in a $20,000 optional claimer before winning for a $16,000 tag and capturing the Wende Stakes in her last start.

Bootleg Annie is by Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin and has decent turf breeding despite the fact that her two siblings are a combined 0 for 5 on grass.

"We claimed her because of her dam," Morgan said.

The stakes-winning Shu Biz Annie enjoyed good turf success with three wins, two seconds, and a third in nine lifetime tries on the grass.

Though based most of the year in Arizona, Morgan comes back to California every summer, where he enjoys success on the fair circuit. He has a good feel for where his horses fit, so Bootleg Annie figures tough in this spot.

Bootleg Annie's stalking style should have her positioned perfectly here.

Only one other runner in the field of eight even has one turf win, and four are making their turf debuts. Stormin Jo Jo is 1 for 4 on turf and just ran second on the grass for a $6,250 tag. Her turf victory came against straight maidens here, where her runner-up effort also occurred.

Ruthless Mama, fourth in her turf debut when beaten a neck by Lady Hikaru, one of Thursday's rivals, just beat similar competition by six lengths on the main track. Warren's Candy brings a two-race winning streak into the race, but both victories were at low levels. Sum Mistake, the runner-up to Ruthless Mama, has two wins and two seconds in four career starts.