05/16/2007 11:00PM

Zoning In untested on turf


ALBANY, Calif. - Zoning In will be making his turf debut in Saturday's $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes for 3-year-olds at Golden Gate Fields. He is the only horse in the 1 1/16-mile turf race who has not run on grass.

But Zoning In does have a stakes victory to his credit and has been meeting the best competition of late, with thirds in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby and $250,000 Snow Chief in his past two starts, beating Saturday rival Brave Sun both times.

"I don't know how much it means to have a race over the grass," said Zoning In's trainer, Ed Moger Jr. "If they like it, they usually run good the first time."

Moger is unconcerned about Zoning In's ability to handle the turf, even though three full siblings are a combined 0 for 4 on the surface, and his stakes-winning dam has never had a turf winner.

"We've wanted to try the turf," Moger said.

Moger seems more concerned that Zoning In is returning just three weeks after a two-length defeat in the Snow Chief.

"Three weeks may be quick, but he breezed down the lane down south after the race and then worked here," Moger said.

Jerry Hollendorfer saddles Amazin Blue and Brave Sun. Hollendorfer claimed Amazin Blue for $100,000 out of a maiden victory at Santa Anita on Feb. 22, and since then Amazin Blue has finished second in a Bay Meadows optional claimer on turf and then won an allowance on the turf here.

Boxelder defeated Amazin Blue in that optional claimer and faces him again on Saturday.

Brave Sun, Mr Eddie Boy, and Souvenir Slew each won his lone start on turf. The victories by Mr Eddie Boy and Souvenir Slew came in maiden races.

Irish-bred Bluegrass Hill is 1-1-2 in 13 starts on the turf, while Irish-bred Star Inside has won 3 of his 7 turf starts, including a pair of minor stakes as a 2-year-old. Star Inside beat only one runner in his U.S. debut in the one-mile La Puente at Santa Anita, but he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 88. He has had three turf works since.

* Multiple stakes winner Vaca City Flyer came down with a cough and will not be entered in Sunday's $50,000 Camilla Urso.

* Saturday is day 2 of Golden Gate's Score Four promotion, in which fans who attend all three Triple Crown days receive a free jacket on closing day, June 10.