05/07/2006 11:00PM

Balance cut in Kentucky Oaks loss

David Hofmans

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Balance, the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Oaks last Friday, was kicked during the race, an incident that compromised her chances, trainer David Hofmans said Sunday.

Balance finished 11th of 14 in the Kentucky Oaks. She was sixth on the backstretch before fading through the stretch. Hofmans speculates that the kick occurred in the final quarter-mile.

"She got kicked in the race, a pretty good cut under her knee," he said. "We think that's what stopped her. She looks good now."

Balance was scheduled to return to California on Monday. She may have a turf campaign in coming months. The stakes schedule for 3-year-old fillies in California emphasizes turf in the summer, with races such as the $175,000 Honeymoon Breeders Cup Handicap on June 4 and the $750,000 American Oaks on July 2 prominent on the Hollywood Park schedule. The Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks is run on turf on Aug. 19.

Earlier this year, Hofmans mentioned Balance as a possible for the American Oaks, but he stopped short of committing to that race on Sunday.

"We'll see how she is," he said. "We might. We'll bring her home and see how she regroups."

Balance has won 4 of 8 starts and $563,300. She won two Grade 1 stakes on dirt earlier this year, the Santa Anita Oaks and Las Virgenes Stakes, to vault to the top of the 3-year-old filly division.

Easy work for Grey Swallow

Grey Swallow, the winner of the 2004 Irish Derby, worked a mile on turf in 1:39.20 on Sunday in preparation for Saturday's $250,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap. The time was not a true indication of the workout.

Grey Swallow was essentially finished with the workout by the eighth pole and was allowed to cruise through the stretch. A winner of 5 of 12 starts and $1,430,786 for Irish trainer Dermot Weld, Grey Swallow worked in company with Danclare, trained by Paddy Gallagher. Grey Swallow started behind Danclare, caught the workmate on the turn, and finished several lengths in front.

It was Grey Swallow's first major exercise since arriving from Ireland last week.

"I wanted to give him a feel of the turf," said assistant trainer Robert Dolan. "I wasn't worried about the time."

Grey Swallow is expected to have another workout in the middle of the week. While that would seem unorthodox by American training methods, Dolan said it is commonplace for Grey Swallow.

The Jim Murray is run at 1 1/2 miles. Grey Swallow figures to be favored against a small field that will include King's Drama, the winner of the San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita on March 25. King's Drama has been assigned 122 pounds, one more than Grey Swallow.

There are three stakes on Saturday, and none is likely to have a large field.

The $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at 1 1/16 miles is led by Surf Cat, the winner of the 2005 Swaps Stakes. His likely opponents include Spellbinder, the winner of the San Antonio Handicap in February, and Dixie Meister, the runner-up in the Santana Mile at Santa Anita in March.

The field will not include Buzzards Bay, the winner of the Oaklawn Handicap. He is being pointed for the $250,000 Californian Stakes on June 17. Magnum, who was second in the Santa Anita and Oaklawn handicaps, will start in the $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap in Texas on May 29.

Bordonaro, unbeaten in two sprints this year, is the 123-pound topweight in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap at six furlongs. He worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds at Santa Anita on Monday. Trainer Bill Spawr said he would confer with owners Fred Carrillo and Daniel Cassella before finalizing plans for Bordonaro.

Spawr said he was concerned about a rash of injuries suffered by his stable at Hollywood Park over the weekend. Saturday, Lottery Pick won the 10th race but suffered a leg injury while being pulled up and was later euthanized, Spawr said. Sunday, Confidential Caller was pulled up in the fourth race with a tendon injury, said Spawr.

A. P. Warrior heads home

A. P. Warrior, who finished 18th in the Kentucky Derby, was scheduled to return to California on Monday and is likely to be campaigned in the state this summer, trainer John Shirreffs said.

The winner of the San Felipe Stakes in March, A. P. Warrior was never closer than 10th in the Kentucky Derby.

"He hit himself everywhere he could hit himself," Shirreffs said. "He got banged up pretty good."

Shirreffs said the bumps were not serious and described them as "lots of nicks and cuts."

Shirreffs said he would recommend to owner Stan Fulton to pass the Preakness Stakes on May 20.

Big day at windows

Record handle on Saturday's simulcast program of the Kentucky Derby helped lift Hollywood Park's business past 2005 levels in some categories.

The all-sources handle Saturday, including simulcasts, was $26,712,087, the second-highest in track history behind $67 million on the 1997 Breeders' Cup program. In 2005, the Kentucky Derby Day program had a handle of $21.8 million. The previous Kentucky Derby Day record was $24.5 million in 1999.

Through Derby Day, average all-sources handle for the first eight days of the meet was $11,145,545, up 1.8 percent over the first 13 days of 2005. In 2005, the track ran one more week in April than it did this year.

The average attendance figures are down, though. Through Saturday, the average was 6,538, a drop of 20.8 percent.

* Apprentice jockey Martin Garcia, who won the riding title at Golden Gate Fields this spring, is scheduled to begin riding at Hollywood Park on Friday. Through Sunday, Garcia, 21, was second in the nation in wins this year with 149.

* Declan's Moon, the 2004 champion 2-year-old male, worked three furlongs in 35.40 seconds at Santa Anita on Monday, the second-fastest of 26 works at the distance. Declan's Moon's has not raced since March 2005 because of leg injuries.