08/16/2002 11:00PM

Two stand out in mile on grass


SAN MATEO, Calif. - The biggest field of the Bay Meadows Fair has signed up for Monday's feature, a one-mile $40,000 optional claiming race on the turf.

Eleven 3-year-olds were entered, including the entry of Marcutio and Sail the Sky.

The race could come down to a race between Marcutio, a two-time winner on the turf, and Blue Slew's Shoes, who is stakes-placed on the turf.

Lethal Grande, a stakes winner on the main track in Oregon, is the only other member of the field with a grass victory, having won a 4 1/2-furlong sprint over the Longden Turf Course here on May 31.

Marcutio won his maiden in his first race on the turf when he stretched out to one mile off a pair of sprints. He came right back from the May 8 win over the Longden Turf Course to score against starter allowance foes on June 6.

Running at Hollywood Park on July 4, he got a good stalking trip and was making a move when he ducked in and crashed through the rail.

He made a belated move in his next start, on July 29 at Santa Rosa, but gets back on his preferred surface Monday.

Blue Slew's Shoes, who lost the James Lyttle Memorial Handicap at Santa Rosa on July 31 by a nose, won his maiden on the turf on May 1.

Wheeled back in the Ascot Handicap, a Grade 3 on the turf 11 days later, he had early traffic problems and finished fourth in an even effort. He then ran third in the Round Table Handicap on June 9.

Stakes nonstarter declared

Stewards declared Rover a nonstarter Saturday in the $7,500 Papa John Handicap at the Bay Meadows Fair, ruling that he wasn't given the opportunity to get a fair start in the 4 1/2-furlong race, which was won by heavily favored Short Sale over entrymate Touso Ishto.

Rover, the second choice in the field of five betting interests, was causing a problem in the gate. To calm him, the assistant starter grabbed his head, twisting it to the left looking into the stall next to him.

It is a common method of calming horses, but the gate was sprung while the assistant was still holding Rover's head to the left. Rover had trouble getting out of the gate, spotting the field nearly five lengths.

With Rover declared a nonstarter, the field consisted of only four betting interests, and show wagering was eliminated.