02/20/2003 12:00AM

Atswhatimtalknbout steps toward Derby


ARCADIA, Calif. - Atswhatimtalknbout was only a maiden winner when he was included among the 23 betting interests in the first pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager last weekend.

When the pool closed he was 28-1, a shorter price than several more accomplished horses. The faith of many of those bettors was rewarded on Thursday when Atswhatimtalknbout beat winners for the first time in an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles.

The race was a prep for the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 16, which could lead to a start in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 5, according to owner B. Wayne Hughes and trainer Ron Ellis.

"It's another step," Ellis said. "You always plan for a horse to get a little better each time he runs, and after three races we're doing that. The way he did it was very encouraging. He showed he can sit off the pace.

"His style will really suit a mile and a quarter and a mile and an eighth. We've got to hit every stop. It all has to go right."

Ridden by David Flores, Atswhatimtalknbout ($3.60) was timed in 1:41.89. Last of five early, Atswhatimtalknbout raced wide on the backstretch, but moved closer to the leaders on the final turn. Entering the stretch, Flores guided Atswhatimtalknbout three wide to reach contention.

The colt put away early leader Buckland Manor before the eighth pole, but needed the entire stretch to outfinish During. Atswhatimtalknbout won by three-quarters of a length. Buckland Manor finished third, followed by Nation Wide News and Singletary.

Atswhatimtalknbout was making his third start on Thursday. After winning a six-furlong maiden race on Jan. 4, he finished third in a one-mile allowance race on Jan. 24.

"He improved a lot," Ellis said. "The last time in the paddock he was a little nasty and we've schooled him every day since."

Atswhatimtalknbout's win is the farthest that Hughes has been on the Triple Crown trail. For years, Hughes has actively acquired horses from Europe and through public auction. In the winner's circle on Thursday, he was looking forward to the upcoming Kentucky Derby preps.

"He has to win the rest of them," Hughes said. "This is the only chance I've ever had."

Icecoldbeeratreds injured, euthanized

Icecoldbeeratreds, the winner of the Del Mar Futurity last September, was euthanized on Wednesday after suffering a shoulder injury during training.

The injury occurred while Icecoldbeeratreds was jogging on the training track, trainer Bob Baffert said.

"He shattered a shoulder," Baffert said.

A winner of 3 of 5 starts and $353,800 for owner-breeder Mike Pegram, Icecoldbeeratreds was named the California-bred champion 2-year-old male of 2002. Aside from the Del Mar Futurity, he won the Graduation Stakes for statebreds and finished second in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.

He missed the Breeders' Cup Juvenile because of injury and resumed training in January.

The death of Icecoldbeeratreds is the second major blow to hit the Baffert stable this month.

Two weeks ago, Baffert announced that Vindication, the Eclipse Award winner as the nation's outstanding 2-year-old male of 2002, would miss the Triple Crown because of injury.

"I've had to make some tough calls in the last month," Baffert said.

Recent late odds changes under scrutiny

The parimutuel committee of the California Horse Racing Board on Thursday discussed concerns about delays in the transmission of parimutuel data from offtrack locations to host-track tote systems, but declined to implement steps to stop betting from offtrack locations in advance of post time.

Meeting at a hotel near Santa Anita, the committee, CHRB chairman Roger Licht, and commissioner Alan Landsburg could have introduced a policy of stopping betting early from some satellite locations.

They took no action after Thoroughbred Owners of California president John Van de Kamp asked them to wait for the completion of a report by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association on updates to the parimutuel systems across the country.

During the hearing, Landsburg and Licht heard testimony from several racing officials regarding customer concerns about odds changing after races have started. In many cases, the information is transmitted from offtrack locations in 40-second cycles; and that the final cycle does not occur until the race has started.

While acknowledging that racing has a perceived problem concerning the transmission of data, Landsburg said there were no instances of bets occurring after the start of a race.

"We have perception problems and not an actual problem of anyone post-dating," said Landsburg. "We have to make sure we're taking steps."

Van de Kamp attended NTRA meetings last week in Florida in which tote system upgrades were discussed.

"Ultimately, the industry is going to have to work with totes and deliver a system as speedy as Visa, or other credit card companies, and do things instantly and not have a 40- or 90-second wait." he said.

Ill Lido Palace points to N.Y. summer races

Lido Palace, a multiple stakes winner who has not started since winning the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs last fall, is being pointed for the major stakes on the New York circuit this summer, Frankel said.

An illness prevented Lido Palace from traveling to Florida for the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park this weekend. An engagement in the New Orleans Handicap on March 2 has also been scrapped, Frankel said.

Last year, Lido Palace won 3 of 7 starts, including a game victory in the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park in September. Overall, the 6-year-old Lido Palace has won 11 of 23 starts and $2,706,838.

* Jockey Matt Garcia, who through Monday was tied for 12th in the standings, has changed agents. Joe Griffin is no longer booking mounts on behalf of Garcia. His new agent is his wife, Laurie, a former jockey.