03/02/2007 12:00AM

Two weekday cards canceled


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Bay Meadows, facing a decreasing horse population, decided on Friday to cancel racing for the next two Wednesdays, March 7 and 14.

"The decision was prompted by the difficulty in filling races," said F. Jack Liebau, Bay Meadows Racing Association president.

Bay Meadows opened the meet with a six-day race week that ended with the Presidents Day holiday. In the six racing days that followed the holiday, 313 horses competed in 50 races, an average of 6.26 entrants per race. Only nine of those races had superfecta wagering, which requires a field of eight.

Last Sunday's nine races averaged fewer than six horses per race, while Thursday's eight-race card averaged slightly more than five per race. This Sunday's nine-race card attracted only 52 entries.

There are several reasons for the decline in entries, according to racing secretary Tom Doutrich. They include recent rain that has interfered with training and prevented the turf course from being used, and the return to Washington of several trainers who come to California for the winter.

Doutrich did say that more Southern California horsemen have begun to enter horses here.

The cancellations were approved by the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Horse Racing Board.

Pletcher ships in South Necking

Trainer Todd Pletcher, winner of three straight Eclipse Awards as the nation's top trainer, sends his first horse to run in northern California in Sunday's Bay Meadows feature.

South Necking, a Grade 3 winner in her native Argentina, will make her second U.S. start in a $62,500 optional claimer for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

South Necking, 4, was on the lead early through rapid fractions in her U.S. debut on Dec. 31 at Santa Anita, eventually fading to ninth. She has had only two works since.

Two Jerry Hollendorfer entrants could provide the primary competition. Stakes-placed Bid of Genius has a win and two seconds in her past three starts, while stakes-placed Just a Tizzy was claimed for $50,000 when third in her comeback after nine months on the sidelines.

Miss Silver Image, another Southern California-based runner, has won two of her last three.

Bwana Bull possible for El Camino Real

California Derby winner Bwana Bull is among 26 nominees to next Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby.

Trainer John Sadler nominated San Vicente winner Noble Court and Court the King, who is 2 for 2. Cal Cup Juvenile winner Freesgood and Grapelli, third in the Grade 2 San Rafael for Pletcher, were also nominated.

Smokey Stover, coming off an impressive victory in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, heads 20 nominees for the Grade 3, $100,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint at six furlongs.

* Jason Lumpkins suffered a bruised left ankle and mild concussion and was removed from his remaining mounts after odds-on favorite Excess Dixie collapsed near the half-mile pole in Friday's first race at Bay Meadows.