09/03/2002 11:00PM

Affluent to pass on start in Palomar

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Sunday's $150,000 Palomar Handicap at Del Mar lost a top candidate on Wednesday when trainer Ron McAnally said that Affluent will be pointed for the $500,000 WinStar Galaxy Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 4.

Affluent won the $400,000 Ramona Handicap on July 27, her richest victory of the year.

McAnally cited the purse and the time between races as leading factors. He still considers the 4-year-old Affluent a candidate for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.

"She'll have to run well in her next start," McAnally said. "She needs time between races."

Without Affluent, Voodoo Dancer, a New York shipper who has won two Grade 3 stakes this year, may be the slight favorite over Janet, the third-place finisher in the Ramona. The Palomar is run over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Those two will face Blue Moon, Eurolink Raindance, I'm the Business, Noches de Rosa, and Old Money.

Voodoo Dancer finished second to Tates Creek in the Grade 2 Diana Handicap at Saratoga on July 27, losing by a nose. In her last appearance in California, she finished third behind Astra and Starine in the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 27.

Old Money represents McAnally and Bob and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable. Old Money will be a longshot, having finished a disappointing eighth in the Grade 3 Royal Heroine Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 6.

McAnally attributed Old Money's loss to stomach ulcers, which he hopes are under control. "The ulcers are funny things," McAnally said. "She's always trained well, but they could act up in the afternoon."

Huge weekend for McNairs

This will be a historic weekend for the McNairs. Bob McNair is the owner of the Houston Texans of the National Football League, who launch their inaugural season on Sunday evening against the Dallas Cowboys.

The family's Stonerside Stable is also having a busy weekend. Aside from Old Money, Stonerside will start the well-regarded True Phenomenon in the $300,000 Del Mar Derby on Saturday.

A stakes winner in France last February, True Phenomenon won for the first time in the United States in a division of the restricted Oceanside Stakes on July 24. Trained by Bobby Frankel, True Phenomenon was unplaced in two stakes at Hollywood Park in June.

The Derby is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf and will have a probable field of nine.

Inesperado, the winner of the Cinema and La Jolla handicaps this summer for Frankel, will go favored against Dell Place, Golden Arrow, Hecandigit, Johar, Mountain Rage, Mr. Mellon, and Rock Opera.

Torsionnaire, a recent import from France, will pass the race, according to trainer Marty Jones.

Baffert barn brimming with youngsters

Trainer Bob Baffert may start as many as five 2-year-olds in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity next Wednesday, but will also send two juveniles to major stakes in other parts of the country.

Vindication, the winner of a maiden race on July 27 and an allowance race/optional claimer on Aug. 22, is being pointed for the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Turfway Park on Sept. 14. Baffert won the race in 2000 with Point Given.

Truckle Feature, the winner of a maiden race over seven furlongs on Aug. 17, is being pointed for the $200,000 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 15.

Baffert still has several contenders for the Del Mar Futurity, which he will attempt to win for an unprecedented seventh consecutive year. The candidates include Bull Market, Chief Planner, Icecoldbeeratreds, Kafwain, Safwain, and Martinblestme.

Martinblestme is eligible for the $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for statebreds over six furlongs on Monday.

Bull Market worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 from the gate on Wednesday.

"He hadn't run in a while, so I gave him a gate work to shape him up," Baffert said.

A runner for Godolphin at last

Godolphin Racing will not have a starter in the Futurity, but will have its first runner in a month in a maiden race on Saturday. For most of the meeting, trainer Eoin Harty's stable has been plagued by a virus that put most of the stable on the sidelines.

On Saturday, Harty said Godolphin will start Savonarola in a maiden race. On Aug. 3, Savonarola finished second to Friendly Mike. Harty said that Endemaj, who finished fifth in a maiden race behind Bull Market on July 24, will start on Saturday at Bay Meadows.

"I'll have to try to get the rest of them ready by Oak Tree," he said of the upcoming fall meeting at Santa Anita.

Kona Gold fastest of day

Kona Gold, the champion 2000 sprinter worked five furlongs in 57.40 seconds on Wednesday, by far the fastest of 30 recorded works at the distance. Morning fog created poor visibility for part of the morning.

Unraced since finishing sixth in the Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 6, Kona Gold is being pointed for the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington Park on Oct. 6.

There is a possibility that Kona Gold may have a prep race in the $200,000 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap at Oak Tree on Oct. 5, a race the 8-year-old Kona Gold won in 2000.

Valenzuela to sit

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela on Wednesday said he will serve a three-day suspension for a disqualification in the fifth race on Sunday. The suspension starts on Saturday and continues through Monday, but will not prevent Valenzuela from riding designated races, or major stakes.

Valenzuela was suspended for failing to make the proper effort to maintain a straight course aboard Pick of the Valley in the fifth race. Pick of the Valley was disqualified from first to second.