07/13/2005 12:00AM

Bashert's workout time irrelevant

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Benoit & Associates
Trainer John Shirreffs says he may withhold Stanley Park from Sunday's Sunset Handicap.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The published time for Bashert's three-furlong workout at Hollywood Park on Wednesday was more than a second different from what trainer Bill Currin recorded on his stopwatch.

For Currin, this was rather unsettling.

Officially, Bashert breezed from the gate in 36.80 seconds. "He really went in 35.40," Currin said.

By Saturday, when Bashert runs in the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, that discrepancy is unlikely to be a big factor in the public's perception of the colt. They already know he is one to follow.

Bashert jumped toward the fore of the California 2-year-old division with a five-length win in a maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs on June 5. He could have won by more if jockey Rene Douglas had urged Bashert in the final furlong.

Instead, Douglas had Bashert eased down. They still finished in a sharp 1:03.49, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

"Whenever you have a 2-year-old that can run a 99 Beyer, you know you have a real horse," Currin said.

Wednesday's workout was Bashert's final tune-up for the Juvenile Championship, which is run at six furlongs. The start of the workout did not go well. Currin said that the gate failed to open and that Bashert crashed into the stall door. Currin later expressed his frustration in strong terms to Hollywood Park racing officials.

"He didn't hurt himself," Currin said of Bashert. "He slammed right into it. That's why everybody took hell from me."

Currin owns Bashert with longtime partner Al Eisman. Bashert was bought last September for $110,000 at Keeneland.

In Saturday's race, his main rival in an expected small field is What a Song, a $1.9 million purchase by Bob and Beverly Lewis at the Barretts 2-year-olds in training sale in March. Trained by Bob Baffert, What a Song beat maidens in his debut by 3 1/4 lengths on June 18.

Like Bashert, What a Song has worked quickly since his maiden win.

"I know he's a good colt because of how much he cost," Currin said of What a Song. "My little old cheap ragamuffin only cost $110,000."

Stanley Park on fence for Sunset

Stanley Park, the winner of the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita on March 27, is not a definite starter for Sunday's $150,000 Sunset Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Trainer John Shirreffs said Wednesday that he wants to monitor Stanley Park's training until entries are taken on Friday before making a final decision.

"In the next couple of days, we'll decide what's going on with Stanley," Shirreffs said. "It depends on how he's going. Today, he started off a little crabby and he warmed up good."

Stanley Park is winless in two starts since the San Luis Rey. He finished fourth in the San Juan Capistrano at about 1 3/4 miles at Santa Anita on April 16 and was fifth behind a slow pace in the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap at 1 1/4 miles here on June 11.

Despite those losses, Stanley Park shares top weight of 118 pounds with Runaway Dancer and Vangelis.

Runaway Dancer, who won the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap here in May, is a probable starter along with T.H. Approval, Continuously, Always First, and One Off.

The Grade 2 Sunset is the closing-day feature of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

Smith rejoins California jockey colony

Jockey Mike Smith returned to California on Wednesday, fresh from a Churchill Downs meeting where he reached a milestone by winning his first Kentucky Derby on Giacomo and finishing in the top 10 in the jockey standings.

Smith rides at Hollywood Park on Friday, but said he plans to skip the weekend races to head to Del Mar and prepare for that track's season. Del Mar opens on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Smith finished 11th in the standings at Santa Anita with 26 winners. He most likely would have finished higher in the standings had he not left to ride at Keeneland in early April.

At Churchill, Smith finished in a tie for fifth with 27 wins. He missed the last day of that meeting on Sunday to ride at Calder, where he won the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap aboard Woke Up Dreamin.

"We had a good meeting at Churchill Downs," he said. "The reason we went there was to ride for a bunch of people."

Neither Giacomo nor Woke Up Dreamin will run at Del Mar, but Smith remains optimistic he can find other stakes horses. He was booked to work horses for Baffert on Thursday and Bill Spawr on Friday before traveling to Del Mar.

Smith is more interested in winning stakes than in winning a riding title at Del Mar, but he said Wednesday that he could refocus his goals if he finds himself in contention toward the end of the 43-day meeting.

Last year he struggled, winning 12 races, or with 9 percent of his mounts, which left him in 10th place in the standings.

"If it's there, we'll go for it," he said of the title. "It's a tough meeting, going into Del Mar. It depends on how it gets started."

Cozy Guy's condition still serious

Cozy Guy, the winner of the California Cup Classic last October, has made progress in recent days from a nearly two-week illness caused by a liver ailment, trainer Dan Hendricks said.

But Hendricks warned that Cozy Guy remains in grave condition, and that the 4-year-old is still being administered glucose, fluids, and antibiotics regularly.

Cozy Guy is being treated at the San Luis Rey Equine Clinic.

"He's gotten stronger in the last few days. We need to decide whether he can sustain himself," Hendricks said. "It's a crucial time, whether his body can take over and make it on its own."

Hendricks said it is unclear what caused the ailment. "They may never know," he said.

Hendricks said that if Cozy Guy does survive, his racing career is likely over. A winner of 7 of 18 starts and $418,104, Cozy Guy has not started since winning the Crystal Water Handicap at Santa Anita in March.

"We're doing what we can to make him a riding horse at best," Hendricks said.