04/30/2006 11:00PM

All quiet on home front for A. P. Warrior


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The scene surrounding A. P. Warrior's workout at Hollywood Park on Sunday was a far cry from that at Churchill Downs, where the colt will start in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

There were no crowds of media or well-wishers and none of the commotion of a track preparing for the biggest weekend of the year.

Trainer John Shirreffs, acting on past experience, purposely kept A. P. Warrior at home for his final work. Such a schedule was successful last year when Giacomo worked at Hollywood Park on the Sunday preceding the Kentucky Derby, flew to Churchill Downs early in the week, and won the race in a 50-1 upset.

Shirreffs wants to take every edge possible in the buildup to Saturday's Kentucky Derby, and would prefer to have his base at home and travel at the last moment.

"When you have a large stable, it's hard to go on the road and leave your barn behind," Shirreffs said. "California has the best weather to train in. Those two reasons are strong reasons not to travel early."

A.P. Warrior was scheduled to depart on Tuesday, which will give him three days of track time at Churchill Downs before race day.

"If he were really nervous and needed time to settle in, you'd have to make adjustment" about travel, Shirreffs said. "He's pretty mellow."

Sunday, on a cool, gray morning, A. P. Warrior worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 in company with stablemate Yankee Million.

Owned by Stan Fulton, A. P. Warrior has been with Shirreffs for two starts: a win in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita in March and a third-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby on April 8. A. P. Warrior was previously trained by Eoin Harty.

A. P. Warrior finished 4 3/4 lengths behind Brother Derek in the Santa Anita Derby. His late kick may be suited to a Kentucky Derby that many think will be filled with speed.

Shirreffs thinks that A.P. Warrior should not be overlooked.

"This guy, I think he'll like the distance," Shirreffs said. "Since I've had him, I've felt distance is his strong point."

Bluesthestandard bought, retired

Bluesthestandard, the multiple stakes winner who finished second in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, was retired over the weekend after being bought privately by trainer Kristin Mulhall.

Bluesthestandard was shipped from Santa Anita to Mulhall's nearby home on Saturday.

Bluesthestandard, 9, won 19 of 47 starts and $1,041,618. He won his last two starts in $12,500 and $18,000 claiming races earlier this year and was entered to race in a $10,000 claimer last Thursday.

Bluesthestandard did not start in that race after being scratched because of illness, said his trainer at the time, Bob Hess Jr. It was at that point that Mulhall began her campaign to acquire Bluesthestandard from Steve Sobel and Hess, who claimed him for $12,500 on March 30.

The deal was finalized Friday afternoon, according to Mulhall.

"He'll be with me for the rest of his life," she said. "I'll make him a trail horse."

Mulhall said she had watched Bluesthestandard make the slow decline through the claiming ranks and decided it was time to act.

"I was worried he'd show up in Arizona or at one of the tracks back East," she said.

Earnings may fund campaign

It is possible that some of the $40,560 that Corazondelcampeon earned for winning the Harry Henson Stakes last Friday could end up in an unlikely spot - owner Scott Merrell's campaign in the Connecticut gubernatorial race.

Merrell, a former racetrack veterinarian who left that business last year, has launched a campaign for the November election. Merrell has placed full-page ads in Connecticut newspapers, arguing his platform for lower property taxes.

"I've always been interested in politics," Merrell said. "But the role of legislator doesn't fit me personally."

When visiting the stable area on Sunday, Merrell could not get far without receiving support from old friends and acquaintances. "Go, Governor Merrell," one man yelled as he drove by.

Corey Nakatani, who rode Corazondelcampeon, asked, "So, are you governor yet or not?"

Merrell, 49, said he will run as an independent and must successfully circulate a petition to be included on the November ballot.

Corazondelcampeon won his second consecutive stakes in the Henson, run at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. Ridden by Nakatani, Corazondelcampeon was timed in the stakes-record time of 1:01.04. He rallied from third to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Barber. Ten Downing Street finished third.

The race was marred by an injury to the filly Height of Delight in the stretch. She suffered a sesamoid injury and was scheduled to undergo surgery on Sunday to stabilize the leg.

Squallacious sharp in debut win

Squallacious made a flashy debut in Saturday's seventh race, overcoming brief trouble on the turn to win a six-furlong maiden race by 1 1/4 lengths.

The victory left trainer Mike Puype enthused about the 3-year-old filly's future and his mobile phone ringing frequently on Sunday morning, with questions about the filly's future.

"She walked in the paddock like she owned the place," Puype said. "The sky is the limit for her to be a good horse."

Owned by Rick Trontz, Squallacious was timed in 1:10.09. She was forced to wait behind fillies on the turn and then quickly went clear in the stretch.

"It's how she did it," Puype said. "She was ultra-impressive the way she put in a turn of foot."

Grey Swallow due in for Jim Murray

Grey Swallow, the winner of 2004 Irish Derby and the 2005 Tattersalls Gold Cup, was scheduled to arrive at Hollywood Park on Monday for a start in the $350,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap on May 13.

Trained by Dermot Weld, Grey Swallow finished third in the Canadian International at Woodbine last October in his most recent start.

The Jim Murray is the first major race of the meeting on turf in the distance division.