10/02/2003 11:00PM

Apache Wings should fly to the lead


ARCADIA, Calif. - Toby Turrell sat in a vacant Santa Anita grandstand on Friday morning, holding a stopwatch in one hand and his binoculars and a tape recorder in the other.

As horses went through their workouts, Turrell, a private clocker and tip-sheet author, watched their every move, interrupting a conversation to offer commentary that he would later use in his analysis.

Between workouts, Turrell made a prediction - Apache Wings, whom Turrell co-owns, would have a multi-length lead in early stretch of Sunday's $300,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile.

After that, Turrell was reluctant to guess the outcome, especially in a race that features the talented Special Ring.

"We expect to be several lengths in front of him at the quarter pole," Turrell said. "If he catches us, he catches us."

There is little for Turrell and his partners to lose by starting Apache Wings in the Oak Tree Mile. If the 5-year-old gelding pulls an upset or runs close, they can lobby for a berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Co-owned by Hitbound Stable and Mike Henton, Apache Wings has won 4 of 8 starts and $134,100, with three wins coming in allowance races at a mile on turf at Santa Anita.

Apache Wings has not started since he scored a front-running win by a length in an optional claimer here in March.

Later in the spring, Apache Wings was taken out of training with a stress fracture to a left shin. Plans for a start in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park in May and the Atto Mile at Woodbine in September were abandoned.

"We have to play some catch-up," Turrell said. "If it wasn't for the Breeders' Cup being run at Santa Anita, we'd have a different campaign. He hasn't missed a day in his comeback."

Apache Wings drew the outside of eight entrants in the Oak Tree Mile. He is one of two horses in the field who has not won a stakes. The March race is his lone start of 2003.

In 2002, Apache Wings won two allowance races and finished last of seven in the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap over 1 1/2 miles, his only stakes appearance.

During that campaign and in March, Ruben Cardenas trained Apache Wings. The gelding was transferred to Denise Breuer when he resumed training this summer.

Apache Wings will be Breuer's first starter in a graded stakes. A trainer since 1996, she has a six-horse stable and previously broke racehorses and worked with hunter-jumpers.

"He's come to me with wins under his belt," she said. "My other horses are maidens."

A massive horse, Apache Wings stands more than 17 hands tall.

"He's got class," Breuer said. "It's tough to bring him back to that level after a layoff. We're hoping his back class shows up."

Injury keeps Pomeroy out of Norfolk

Pomeroy, the disqualified winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park on Sept. 13, did not enter Sunday's Norfolk Stakes because of a leg injury, trainer Patrick Biancone said.

Biancone said Pomeroy had swelling in his left front ankle. He declined to say whether the setback would cost Pomeroy a start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 25.

"It's too early to call," he said.

Second to Cuvee in the Saratoga Special on Aug. 13, Pomeroy won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile by a nose but was disqualified to third for causing interference in early stretch. Mr. Jester was moved into first place.

Martinez takes day off after spill

Jockey Felipe Martinez was excused from his mounts on Friday after he was unseated from Morning Riser in Thursday's eighth race. Morning Riser was leading a six-furlong race for $10,500 to $12,500 claimers when he broke down before the half-mile pole.

No other horses were involved in the spill.

Martinez was expected to return on Saturday, according to his agent, Alex Procel. Martinez has two mounts on Sunday.

"He's doing fine," Procel said. "He was sore this morning and decided not to ride today."

Injuries hit Dave the Dude, Gulf of Mexico

Two juveniles who ran in prominent races in the final week of the Del Mar meeting have been sidelined by injuries.

Dave the Dude, the winner of the I'm Smokin Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 8, has suffered an undisclosed injury and will be out indefinitely, trainer Mike Harrington said.

"He will be back," Harrington said.

Dave the Dude has won 2 of 5 starts and $112,800 for Harrington and co-owners Keith and Joy Vanderhouwen.

Gulf of Mexico, who finished last of five in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 10, emerged from the race with a bone chip in an ankle, trainer Eoin Harty said. The chip was removed surgically. Harty expects Gulf of Mexico to return to training by the end of the year.

Nakatani suspended for three days

Jockey Corey Nakatani has been given a three-day suspension for his ride aboard Elloluv in the Grade 2 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 28. Nakatani was cited for causing interference in the stretch, which resulted in Elloluv being disqualified from second to fourth.

The suspension begins Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Nakatani and jockey Tyler Baze have received $300 fines for whip violations at Del Mar. Each was cited for breaking the skin on the flank of his mount.

Chinkapin points to Seabiscuit Handicap

Chinkapin, the winner of the Pomona Invitational at Fairplex Park last Sunday, will be pointed for the $150,000 Seabiscuit Handicap on Oct. 25. Run over 1 1/16 miles, the Seabiscuit Handicap is part of the undercard on Breeders' Cup Day.

Chinkapin is unbeaten in two starts since being claimed for $50,000 at Del Mar in late July by a partnership and trainer Mike Mitchell.

In 2002, Chinkapin, 7, was a stakes winner at Hawthorne.

Schwarzenegger sprints to the finish line

Arnold Schwarzenegger held a political rally for his gubernatorial campaign on Friday morning at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, which is adjacent to Santa Anita. At times during morning training, several helicopters from television stations hovered over the racetrack.

Later, Schwarzenegger's voice could be heard in the distance during a speech.

California's gubernatorial recall election is Tuesday.