09/28/2003 11:00PM

2-year-olds race for spots in Cal Cup


ARCADIA, Calif. - Prep races for the Breeders' Cup are not the only important races in the first week of the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita.

On Wednesday, two $75,000 races - the Cavonnier Stakes and Cover Gal Stakes - are important preps to the California Cup program on Nov. 8. Both races are for 2-year-old California-breds at seven furlongs.

The Cavonnier Stakes for colts and geldings could produce starters for the Cal Cup Juvenile. The race drew seven runners, including P Town John, the winner of the Beau Brummel Stakes at Fairplex Park on Sept. 16; Gilded Bertrando, a sharp maiden winner at Del Mar on Aug. 31; and Race for Glory, who was fourth in the Ellis Park Juvenile on Aug. 17.

The Cover Gal Stakes for fillies is led by House of Fortune, an eight-length maiden winner at Del Mar on Sept. 6, and She's Gottogetaway, a 28-1 upset winner of the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 3. Both are using the race as a prep for the Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies.

In the Cavonnier, Race for Glory is making his California debut, having raced in the Midwest for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in the summer. Owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, Race for Glory won a maiden race in his debut by six lengths at Arlington Park in July.

Greg Falk, Lukas's assistant at Santa Anita, dismisses the Ellis Park loss, partly because of the conditions.

"He was not himself. It was 98 degrees, typical Ellis weather," Falk said. "This is a serious colt. He's always been impressive in the morning."

Even though Race for Glory was beaten 12 3/4 lengths by Cactus Ridge at Ellis Park, Cactus Ridge proved he is something special when he returned to win the Arlington Washington Futurity on Saturday.

Gilded Bertrando and P Town John are improving. Gilded Bertrando beat maidens in his second start, scoring by a length over 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 31. P Town John has won his last three starts, beginning with a $40,000 claiming race for maidens at Del Mar on Aug. 4.

In the Cover Gal Stakes, House of Fortune drew the rail, but she did show impressive speed in her victory on Sept. 6. Alex Solis rides for Ron McAnally.

She's Gottogetaway would be helped by a fast pace. She closed from fifth to win the six-furlong Generous Portion Stakes by a neck.