05/11/2008 11:00PM

On the Acorn may rest off Murray win


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - On the Acorn, the surprise winner of Saturday's Grade 2 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park, may have earned a mini-vacation after his upset win.

Trainer Mike Mitchell is debating how often to run the 7-year-old gelding this summer. On Sunday, he was considering the $150,000 Sunset Handicap over 1o1/2 miles on turf on July 13, the final day of the current spring-summer meeting, or the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf on Aug. 23.

"Do I want to run him in the Sunset and the Del Mar Handicap?" Mitchell said. "I don't think I could do both, that's the decision I'll have to make. I've been pretty hard on him here. Sometimes, you have to get him a little rest."

Mitchell is leaning toward starting On the Acorn in the Del Mar race.

"At the end of the meeting, this grass course can get a little bit beat up," he said of Hollywood Park.

The Murray on Saturday was On the Acorn's first win since the 2007 Murray. Owned by the Indizguys Stable partnership, On the Acorn had lost three starts earlier this year, including a third as the favorite in the San Luis Rey Handicap in March and a fourth in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap in April.

On the Acorn was dismissed at 9-1 in the Murray, a longshot against the heavily favored Champs Elysees. In early stretch, On the Acorn rallied from last to catch Champs Elysees and win by a nose.

"He just dug in and ran a big race for us," Mitchell said.

Last year, after On the Acorn won the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita in April and the Jim Murray, Mitchell hoped to run him in the Sunset and Del Mar handicaps. Those plans were scraped when Mitchell realized that On the Acorn's form was tailing off.

"I had to freshen him up," he said. "He had little problems and he was worn out."

This year, Mitchell is hoping On the Acorn can withstand a summer campaign. If he does, he will add to a remarkable career. On the Acorn was claimed by Indizguys for $40,000 in November 2006. He has earned $581,400 since being claimed.

Champs Elysees game in defeat

Champs Elysees has lost more races than he's won since arriving from England last fall, but trainer Bobby Frankel remains convinced that the 5-year-old horse will play a major role in the national turf division.

Sent off at 2-5 in the Murray, Champs Elysees took the lead turning for home but could not hold off On the Acorn.

"He didn't disappoint me the way he ran," Frankel said. "I think he might have moved a little too soon."

Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Champs Elysees has not been worse than third in four starts in this country, including a second in the Gradeo1 Hollywood Turf Cup last December, a win in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes in January, and a third in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 1.

Frankel is considering a top-class late spring and summer campaign for Champs Elysees, which may include starts in the $300,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap here on June 7, the $750,000 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 5, and the Arlington Million at Arlington Park on Aug. 9.

The Murray had only four runners. Boule d'Or, the winner of the San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita in March, set the pace but faded to finish last. Trainer Jeff Mullins said on Sunday that Boule d'Or was found to have mucus and was suffering from a respiratory infection.

"It's nice to know it's something that can be corrected," Mullins said.

Bumping and drifting in Senorita

Jockey Martin Garcia was given a three-day suspension for his winning ride aboard Sweeter Still in Saturday's Grade 3 Senorita Stakes, even though the filly was not disqualified for drifting out in the stretch.

Sweeter Still won the one-mile turf race by a nose over Magical Fantasy. After a six-minute inquiry, the stewards did not change to the order of finish, saying that Magical Fantasy drifted to the outside simultaneous to being carried out by Sweeter Still.

Garcia was cited for failing to maintain a straight course, and will serve his suspension on May 21-22.

The stewards' decision drew the ire of Paddy Gallagher, who trains Magical Fantasy. "The horses bumped and I think the whole thing is you're supposed to stay straight," he said. "There is nothing we can do."

Winning trainer Jeff Mullins said Garcia tried to keep Sweeter Still straight.

"I think that most of the contact was after the wire," he said. "He did go to his right hand and did try to keep her straight.

"If the roles had been reversed, I would have been upset."

Sweeter Still and Magical Fantasy could meet again in the $175,000 Honeymoon Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf on June 7.

Mullins acknowledges that Sweeter Still may need to show more patience early in her races to be effective at longer distances.

"She may have to change her tactics if she's going to go farther," Mullins said.

Equine ambulance must be quicker

Hollywood Park stewards and California Horse Racing Board equine medical director Dr. Rick Arthur met with veterinarians and track officials on Sunday to discuss procedures for attending to injured horses. The meeting was called a day after an equine ambulance did not reach a severely injured horse for five minutes.

Miss Cozy Cat was euthanized on the racetrack after suffering injuries during the running of the sixth race, a sprint for maidens. She fell near the sixteenth pole. Mike Smith, who rode Miss Cozy Cat, took off his mounts for the rest of Saturday and Sunday.

The procedures for summoning an ambulance were reviewed during Sunday's meeting, according to steward Scott Chaney.

"It took far too long for the horse ambulance to get there," Chaney said. "A call was put out before the first horse crossed the finish line. It's unacceptable. There is no other way to describe it."

Hollywood Park has two horse ambulances that are based in a parking lot on the backstretch. Track general manager Eual Wyatt Jr. said track staff would be better prepared in the event an ambulance is needed to attend to injured horses.

"Procedures have been remedied," he said. "It won't happen again."