11/14/2005 12:00AM

Baffert in line for another sweep

Benoit & Associates
Chips Are Down wins the Bien Bien, one of Bob Baffert's two weekend stakes wins at Hollywood.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Bob Baffert is off to a hot start at Hollywood Park's fall meeting. He won five races the first five days of the meet, including a sweep of the weekend's stakes, and he'll shoot for another stakes sweep this weekend in races for 2-year-olds.

Baffert will send out Da Stoops in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes on Saturday and Cotton Bay in the Moccasin Stakes for fillies on Sunday. Both races are worth $100,000 and cover seven furlongs.

Victor Espinoza has the mount on both runners.

Garrett Gomez rode both of Baffert's stakes winners last weekend at Hollywood: Pussycat Doll in the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes and Chips Are Down in the Bien Bien Stakes. Baffert said Chips Are Down is likely to wait until Santa Anita for his next start.

"I'll point him for the Strub Series," Baffert said. "I might back him up to seven furlongs for the Malibu," which is on Santa Anita's opening day, Dec. 26.

Between now and then, though, Baffert will have plenty of action, most notably with his 2-year-olds. He has several well-bred youngsters nearing their debuts, and should have representatives in every 2-year-old stakes at this meet, beginning with Da Stoops.

In addition to Da Stoops, the Prevue is expected to lure Bengal Lore, Cause to Believe, Old Thunder, Sacred Light, The Five J's, The Pharaoh, and Your Tent or Mine.

The Pharaoh was a disappointment last time out in the Norfolk Stakes. He worked a half-mile in 49.20 seconds on Saturday.

"He had a little abscess in one foot after the race," said his trainer, Chris Paasch. "We changed the way we shoe him, and he's doing very well. The nails are out, glue-ons are on now."

The Prevue is a prep for the Grade 1, $250,000 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 17. Because it is a graded stakes, it is considered a designated race for suspended jockeys. Therefore, Patrick Valenzuela will be able to ride Your Tent or Mine, even though he will be on suspension that day.

Cotton Bay's rivals in the Moccasin are expected to include Bettarun Fast, Catch My Fancy, My Little Monkey, Private World, and True Xena. The Moccasin is a prep for the Grade 1, $250,000 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 18.

Turnbolt heading to Underwood

Trainer Ron Ellis is looking at the Grade 3, $100,000 Vernon Underwood Stakes on Dec. 3 at Hollywood Park as the likely stakes debut for Turnbolt, who scored by 3 1/4 lengths in a second-level allowance race going six furlongs Wednesday.

Turnbolt, 4, a son of Deputy Minister who cost $500,000 at a 2-year-old auction, has made just seven starts, but has now won three times. He raced once at 2, in November 2003, but then did not reappear until May, 17 months after his debut.

"He's been a solid little horse," Ellis said. "He's not a big horse. He needs a little time between races. He's won twice over this track. After he ran for the first time, he bucked his shins. Then he had problems coming back, so we had to stop again. That's why he had over a year off. We've had a little trouble with splints on and off with him. He's got a lot of pedigree. We've still got a chance with him."

Ellis said that Buzzards Bay, the Santa Anita Derby winner whom he now trains, is being pointed to a winter campaign at Santa Anita. "I want to run him on the grass in the Sir Beaufort on opening day, then run in the Sunshine Millions," Ellis said.

Buzzards Bay was bred in Florida, making him eligible for the Sunshine Millions. He breezed a half-mile in 50.80 seconds on Sunday at Hollywood Park.

"This year the big race is at Santa Anita. That works out really good, since it's the site where he won the Santa Anita Derby," Ellis said. Jeff Mullins trained Buzzards Bay when he won the Santa Anita Derby, but the colt was subsequently sold at auction.

Valenzuela hires Knust as new agent

Valenzuela begins a three-day suspension on Thursday, the result of a careless ride on Mayacama in last Wednesday's sixth race, and when he comes back, he'll have a new agent. Valenzuela had a blow-up with agent Ronnie Ebanks on Friday, and by the end of the day he had hired Tom Knust as his representative.

Knust had been booking the mounts for both Jon Court and David Cohen. Since agents are only allowed to represent two riders, Knust dropped Cohen.

Valenzuela in the past has been uncomfortable with his agent having two riders, so it will be interesting to see how his association with Knust progresses.

Mayacama finished first and survived a stewards' inquiry, but Valenzuela was adjudged to have ridden carelessly even though a bump in late stretch did not affect the order of finish. Mayacama was trying to lug in but stayed off of Square Pants while Valenzuela was whipping left-handed, but Valenzuela switched to a right-handed whip in deep stretch, which caused Mayacama to come in and bump Square Pants.

Tom Ward, one of Hollywood Park's stewards, said Valenzuela's actions in deep stretch are what led to the suspension.

Another jockey who changed agents is Matt Garcia, who is now represented by Rene San Miguel.

Bashert getting ready for Hollywood Futurity

Bashert, who was second to the ill-fated What a Song in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship and Best Pal Stakes earlier this year, is expected to return in the Hollywood Futurity. He has not raced since the Del Mar Futurity, when he fell in the paddock, was out of sorts in the post parade, and then was caught in a hot early pace duel.

On Sunday, Bashert worked three furlongs at Hollywood Park in 35.40 seconds. The time equaled the fastest of 17 at the distance.

"We had to duck the Breeders' Cup after the debacle at Del Mar," said Bill Currin, who trains and co-owns Bashert. "We'll head to the Hollywood Futurity, and then it's on to the Kentucky Derby."

Currin said that the speedy 3-year-old Bushwacker should return in an allowance race later this week. His well-traveled filly Memorette should be ready to run in six weeks after getting a freshening, Currin said.

Stewards explain inquiry decisions on loudspeaker

Beginning with this meeting, the California Horse Racing Board has instructed stewards to explain decisions on inquiries over the public address system. In the past, the stewards relayed the information to the track announcer, who then explained the rationale.

On Saturday, former jockey Darrel McHargue - who is a steward at this meet along with Kim Sawyer and Ward - was dispatched to explain why no disqualification was made in the Bien Bien.

McHargue said that Take a Chance, who stumbled going into the first turn, caused his own problems by initially bumping the rear end of Chips Are Down, causing Chips Are Down to tip out. Felipe Martinez, who rode Take a Chance, was given a three-day suspension for careless riding. That suspension begins Sunday.

* Wilko, the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner who has not raced since ankle surgery following the Preakness, breezed a half-mile in 49.60 seconds on Sunday.

* Lava Man, who is headed to the Japan Cup Dirt at the end of the month, worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 on Saturday morning with jockey Corey Nakatani, who will ride Lava Man in Tokyo. The time was the fastest of 20 at the distance. Lava Man ran poorly in the Jockey Club Gold Cup in his last start.

* Doug O'Neill, who trains Lava Man, is planning on sending Whilly to Hong Kong for the international races there on Dec. 11. Whilly worked six furlongs in 1:13 on Sunday morning.

* Although he does not have any mounts on Wednesday, apprentice jockey Freddy Fong Jr. is expected back this week. He has been out since injuring his back and neck in an accident at Del Mar on Aug. 31.

* Hollywood Park has added 10 paddock saddling stalls to the three it had originally. Most trainers saddle under trees in the outdoor paddock, but some prefer to use the confined spaces of a padded paddock stall.