03/11/2005 12:00AM

Tygemini fond of local turf


SAN MATEO, Calif. - What makes a good turf horse?

Is it breeding? Is it the horse's foot? Is it the horse's action?

As with most handicapping questions, the best answer may be, "It depends."

Sunday's Bay Meadows feature finds six solid older runners meeting in a $50,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles over the turf.

The one to beat appears to be , who has turned in two solid efforts on the turf since returning from a six-week freshener. A 5-year-old gelding, Tygemini was second to the talented El Prado's Boy in his comeback at Golden Gate Fields. He won his second start back in a 1 3/8-mile turf affair here Feb. 3.

Although sired by Tychonic, the son of Breeders' Cup Mile winner Last Tycoon, Tygemini's Tomlinson number, which projects turf ability based on breeding, is a very modest 243.

But Tygemini obviously likes the turf. His two career wins have both come on this course, where he also has a second and a pair of thirds in nine career starts.

Tygemini will sit back and try to finish strong. He has only one listed work - a one-mile drill - in the five-plus weeks since his last start.

Marcutio, like Tygemini, shouldn't like turf according to his Tomlinson number, but he, too, has done his best running over this course. All three of his career victories have come on the turf here, and he was second in the Half Moon Bay Handicap in his only other start here. Marcutio should be sitting a bit closer to the front than Tygemini.

The speed of the race comes from Cree, who drew the rail for his turf debut, and Symphony Sid, who did not break well last time, rushed up, and ran out of gas late.

Cree comes into Sunday's race in the best form of any of the runners, with a first and a second in his past two starts and three good works since his last race.

Symphony Sid is winless on the turf but does have a second and a third in his two starts here. His stablemate Billy Dixon has a second and third in three turf starts.

Ezra returns for his first start since November 2004. A son of Candy Stripes, he has three starts on the turf, including a second and a third.