11/07/2005 1:00AM

Aging mares run too well to retire

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Dream of Summer surpassed $1 million in earnings with her victory in Sunday's Matron.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Consider Sunday's victories by Dream of Summer and Moscow Burning to be tune-ups to bigger things in coming months.

The two California-bred mares rebounded from losses in their previous starts to win stakes on California Cup Day - Dream of Summer defended her title in the .

Both are likely to start against graded stakes company in coming months, trying to improve on already stellar records.

Moscow Burning, 5, needed a win to continue her career. Diagnosed with a back problem last spring, she had trained erratically at times in recent months. But her win Sunday left trainer Jim Cassidy impressed.

"We decided if she didn't run like she had before, we would retire her. Now that would look silly," he said. "The two races she ran at the beginning of the year were sub-par, but she's back now."

With no turf racing at Hollywood Park this fall, Cassidy mentioned two races at Calder as possibilities, including the $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf on Dec. 17.

The win by Dream of Summer was an emotional one for trainer Juan Garcia. He dedicated the victory to his late wife, Raquel, who died of cancer earlier this fall.

The win improved Dream of Summer's earnings to $1,041,150, making her the sixth California-bred female to become a millionaire. A 6-year-old, Dream of Summer is the first millionaire for owner-breeder James Weigel, who previously campaigned horses with partners.

"This is the first horse I've raced as sole proprietor. I don't know what to feel like," Weigel said when asked how it felt to own a millionaire.

"I would like to keep her racing for one more year," he said. "We have to spread her races so she will be able to make it until she's 7."

CHRB checks into turf fiasco

The California Horse Racing Board has launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to the cancellation of turf racing at the Hollywood Park fall meeting because of the unsatisfactory condition of a newly installed course, CHRB officials said over the weekend.

Hollywood Park will run only on the main track during the 27-day meeting, which begins on Wednesday. The track announced over the weekend that it would not run the final four Wednesdays of the meeting - Nov. 23 and 30 and Dec. 7 and 14.

Horsemen have reacted angrily to the absence of turf racing, saying they will have no place to run turf horses on the local circuit until the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting opens on Dec. 26.

Because of the lack of turf racing, Hollywood Park has raised purses for overnight races on dirt by approximately 14 percent and will pay $166,000 to supplement the purses of turf races at Golden Gate Fields. In addition, Hollywood Park will pay for local horses to be shipped to Golden Gate Fields for some turf races.

CHRB chairman John Harris downplayed the board's inquiry, calling it more of a "fact-finding mission."

"The bigger issue is what will happen for the spring meeting," Harris said. "I think people are being a little overly hysterical. It's unfortunate and I'm not happy, but life will go on."

Espinoza will sit out eight days

Jockey Victor Espinoza has been suspended for the first eight days of the Hollywood Park fall meeting after being hit with a five-day suspension last week and dropping an appeal of a three-day suspension from Del Mar.

Espinoza's suspension begins on Wednesday's opening day and continues through Nov. 19.

Espinoza was given a five-day suspension for his ride on Balance in the Hidden Light Stakes on Nov. 2. In a controversial call, Balance finished first but was demoted to third for causing interference in deep stretch.

The Del Mar suspension was issued on Aug. 31 for causing interference on Aug. 29.

Both Espinoza and Kent Desormeaux were fined $500 for an altercation in the jockeys' room following the Hidden Light Stakes. Desormeaux rode Golden Silk, who finished third, but was ruled to have suffered from the interference. Golden Silk was promoted to second.

Figures mostly down for Cal Cup Day

Despite a program that began with a pick six carryover of more than $185,000, ontrack attendance and all-sources handle was down from 2004 on Sunday's California Cup.

Sunday's ontrack attendance of 22,194 marked a decline of 10 percent, but was more than 4,000 higher than the 2003 event.

Sunday's ontrack handle was $4,380,496, a gain of 21 percent over last year, but wagering at sites throughout the state fell 21 percent, to $4,054,710. With nationwide and advance deposit wagering figures included, the all-sources handle of $15,389,513 marked a decline of 1.5 percent.

Sunday marked the first time the California Cup was held on a Sunday. Last year, the program was held in mid-October on a Saturday.

Solis dealing with swollen knee

Jockey Alex Solis was scheduled to undergo medical tests on Monday after injuring his knee in a spill on Friday. Solis took off his mounts on Saturday and Sunday.

Solis was thrown from Lake of Gold when that horse broke down during a sprint on Friday.

He underwent X-rays on Saturday that proved to be negative but wanted to undergo additional tests in San Diego on Monday after swelling in the knee failed to subside.

Solis said he did not injure his back in the spill. In July 2004, he suffered a cracked vertebra that left him sidelined for more than six months.

Solis is booked to ride at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, pending Monday's tests.

"I can walk on it, but it's pretty swollen. I can move around fine," he said.

Sunday, he missed the California Cup. One of his scheduled mounts was a winner - McCann's Mojave in the California Cup Classic.

Martin Pedroza was involved in Friday's spill, which turned out to be the only race he failed to win from six mounts. The five-win day was one fewer than the best day of Pedroza's career, set in 1992.

Sadler fined for drug positives

Trainer John Sadler has been fined $3,500 by the CHRB after two of his starters tested positive for the banned medication Dextrorphan at Del Mar in July 2004.

Because the medication is classified as a class 4 drug, there is no purse redistribution. Purses are redistributed for positives of drugs listed in classes 1 through 3.

The positive tests were found in post-race samples taken from two runners on July 25: Brite Betty, the winner of the first race, and Hombre Rapido, who finished third in the second race.

Dextrorphan is a metabolite of Dextromethorphan, which is found in common cold medicines.

Wilko targets return in Strub

Wilko, the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, breezed three furlongs in 37.80 seconds at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

Trained by Craig Dollase, Wilko is returning to training following surgery in May to have a bone chip removed from an ankle. He is being pointed for the Strub series for 4-year-olds of 2006 at Santa Anita. The first leg of that series is the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes over seven furlongs on Dec. 26.

In the seventh-race feature Wednesday, the Baffert-trained Preachinatthebar is the horse to beat in his first start since a fourth-place finish Sept. 5 at Del Mar. The 5-year-old has won 3 of 5 at Hollywood Park, and Baffert said "he has trained really well." He could be a standout in the 1 1/16-mile classified allowance.

Other starters include Fairplex Park stakes winner Melanyhas thepapers, front-runner Keep on Punching, Chilean Group 1 winner Trotamondo, Smoocher, and Outta Here.