04/24/2002 11:00PM

$118,000 in late win bets turns 9-2 to 2-5

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Wednesday's opening day of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting started on an unusual note when $118,000 in win bets were placed at the last minute on the winner of the first race.

Global Finance was 9-2 as the field for the 4 1/2-furlong maiden race for California-bred fillies went to the gate. In the minute before the race went off, there were 23 $5,000 win tickets and one $3,000 win ticket on Global Finance processed through a betting hub in Lewiston, Maine, according to California Horse Racing Board spokesman Mike Marten.

Global Finance won and paid $2.80 to win and $6 to place. Because the infield tote board was not in operation for the first two races due to damage from morning rain, many bettors were not aware of the huge bet until the prices were posted.

"We can confirm that the bet was placed before the race went off," Marten said.

In her only other start, Global Finance, an End Sweep filly, finished seventh after bobbling at the break on March 27 at Santa Anita. She is owned by Dutton Stables and trained by Jerry Dutton. Three of her published workouts were bullets, including a four-furlong work in 46.80, handily, at Hollywood April 18.

The eight-race program Wednesday was plagued by 14 late scratches, which left the program with 62 runners.

Most of the scratched horses were listed as unsound, sick, or injured. Treacherous Zone was scratched from the fourth race because he was not approved from the starting gate. Irish Warrior did not start in the third race because he was fitted with the wrong shoes, officials said.

Lady George's swan song

Lady George, the champion California-bred 2-year-old filly of 2001, will make the final start of her career in Sunday's $200,000 Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park, owner Gordon Severson said.

An undisclosed injury that Lady George suffered at Del Mar last summer prompted Severson to breed the filly to Bouccaneer, a stallion who Severson owns and stands in California.

Lady George has won 4 of 13 starts and $309,635. Trained by Tony Locke, her career highlights include wins in three stakes for statebreds, including the $150,000 fillies division of the California Breeders' Champion Stakes last December and the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile Fillies last November, both at Santa Anita.

She was bred to Bouccaneer this spring but was not pronounced in foal. She was bred a second time last week, Severson said.

"Regardless of how she runs, it's her last race," Severson said.

Severson declined to state the nature of the injury, but said it led to a decision to keep her in training over the winter because the length of her career would be limited.

In her most recent start, Lady George was fourth in the Providencia Stakes on turf at Santa Anita on April 13.

"We haven't trained her very hard but we've raced her to keep her fit," Severson said. "If she can win the [Melair], she'll have $430,000 in earnings with a 10-month career."

The Melair is one of six stakes on Sunday's California Gold Rush Day program, all of which are for statebreds. The richest race on the progam is the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles. Perhaps the most competitive race is the $175,000 Khaled Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Spinelessjellyfish, the two-time defending champion, faces stakes winners Hugh Hefner and Native Desert and Fit for a King, who has won his last seven starts.

Ladies Din ends win drought

Ladies Din, a millionaire 7-year-old gelding, scored his first win since the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap in August 2000 in a $62,000 allowance race at Hollywood Park on Wednesday.

The victory put him on course for the $500,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile here on May 27, a race in which he finished second in 2000 to stablemate Silic.

Trained by Julio Canani, Ladies Din finished a mile on turf in 1:33.75, scoring by two lengths over Thady Quill. Startac, the winner of the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes last August at Arlington Park, finished third in his first start against older horses.

Ladies Din had been third in his only other start of 2002, an allowance race at Santa Anita in late March. Owned by Bernie Schiappa and Terry Lanni, Ladies Din has won 11 of 34 starts and $1,715,504.

Stute suffers stroke, but carries on

Trainer Warren Stute, who won the Godolphin Mile in Dubai last month with Grey Memo, suffered a minor stroke last weekend, but has continued to work at his Hollywood Park stable.

Stute, 80, said he would no longer exercise horses. Last weekend, Stute said he felt a numbness on his right side, and underwent tests on Tuesday.

"I'm not perfect, but I'm getting better," Stute said.

On Sunday, Stute starts Go Go in the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes. Last summer, Go Go won two major stakes at this meeting, the Desert Stormer and A Gleam handicaps.

Swept Overboard, the beaten favorite in Sunday's San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita, emerged from the race in good shape and is being pointed to the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint on May 11, according to trainer Craig Dollase.