11/13/2002 12:00AM

Biancone 3-year-olds ready to roll


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - After spending summer and fall in the east, trainer Patrick Biancone has returned to Santa Anita for the upcoming winter-spring meet, and he figures to be a major player in the key races. All but two of Biancone's 18 runners turn 3 on Jan. 1, and will compete in Santa Anita's glamour division: 3-year-olds.

Biancone's juvenile stakes winners include Whywhywhy and Zavata and the filly Stellar, who finished second in a Grade 2. Any of Biancone's 2002 juveniles could emerge in the winter as contenders for the 2003 classics. Further, Biancone's best current 3-year-old - Mayakovsky - is on the comeback trail after throat surgery derailed his 2002 campaign in midsummer. It is fair to say the Biancone stable enters winter with high expectations.

Whywhywhy and Zavata finished 10th and 13th, respectively, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. "We lost a battle, we didn't lose anything else," Biancone said. "Those two started running in May, and were still running in October. That's a long time for a 2-year-old."

Neither colt is expected to race this fall at Hollywood Park. "We'll prepare for Santa Anita," Biancone said.

Whywhywhy, winner of the Grade 1 Belmont Futurity and 3 for 5 overall, will enter Santa Anita's meet as the most accomplished Biancone runner and is currently the barn's leading Kentucky Derby hopeful. Biancone said Zavata, winner of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special, "is going to be a sprinter. That's why the mile and an eighth [distance of the Breeders' Cup] is a good thing. You can see exactly where you stand."

Biancone has five fillies, led by Stellar, runner-up in the Grade 2 Adirondack. The filly, by Grand Slam, will return to training in December. While the stable is loaded with 2-year-olds, Biancone is looking forward to the return of Mayakovsky.

"If he comes back, he could be one of the best 4-year-olds in the country," Biancone said.

Winner of the Grade 3 Gotham last spring, Mayakovsky underwent surgery for an entrapped epiglottis in late summer. "He's going to be ready for Santa Anita," Biancone said.

A Florida-bred, Mayakovsky's first target is the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic, a race for Florida-breds and California-breds to be run Jan. 25 Gulfstream Park.

Puxa Saco facing big Moccasin field

Anoakia Stakes winner Puxa Saco will be among the favorites Saturday at Hollywood Park in the $100,000 Moccasin Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. The Hollywood racing office expects a large field for the seven-furlong stakes, the last sprint stakes for 2-year-old fillies until the winter meet at Santa Anita.

Puxa Saco overcame much adversity to win her California debut for trainer Jenine Sahadi. Slammed from both sides at the start and away last in the Anoakia, she quickly worked forward and won the race by a length. It was the third win in four starts for Puxa Saco, an ill-tempered daughter of Dehere. She won 2 of 3 at Calder before shipping to California.

Expected to face Puxa Saco in the Moccasin are Atlantic Ocean, ninth-place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies; Espy, fourth in the Oak Leaf Stakes; Viansa Ossidiana, a Bay Meadows stakes winners; Forest Native, second in the Anoakia; and impressive debut maiden winners Love Emblem and Watching You. Longshots Magic Smoke and Tale of a Dream also may run.

* Rolly Polly has been assigned 121-pound highweight for the $70,000 Safely Kept Handicap on Sunday, a 5 1/2-furlong filly-mare turf sprint which she won last year. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Rolly Polly has not lost a turf sprint in the U.S. The Christophe Clemente-trained Amonita was assigned 119, Netherland 117, and Cal Cup Distaff winner Lil Sister Stich 116.

Easy Grades looking good

Things are looking up for Easy Grades, who has recovered from a throat operation for an entrapped epiglottis and is gearing up for a return late in the Hollywood fall meet or early at Santa Anita. Easy Grades, runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby, worked six furlongs Tuesday at Santa Anita for trainer Ted H. West. Easy Grades, who has won two races and $284,705 from 10 starts, is one of a dwindling number of candidates for Santa Anita's Strub Series for 4-year-olds of 2003.

The retirement of Came Home and War Emblem has left a void in the division. Easy Grades is returning a fresh horse. "Our horse needed a break anyway, we gave him more time than he needed [after the operation]," West said. "He hadn't had a break from his first race" - Dec. 26 - "to his last race" on Sept. 5.

* Turkish Prize, the 7-year-old West-trained gelding who won the California Cup Mile on Nov. 2, had his first post-Cal Cup workout Wednesday. He went a half-mile in 47.60 seconds, and West said it will be difficult to keep him on the ground because he is feeling so good. The goal for Turkish Prize is the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf on Jan. 25 at Santa Anita.

* Kafwain worked five furlongs Tuesday at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert. Runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile behind stablemate Vindication, Kafwain is being pointed for the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 21.

* Crafty C.T., third-place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, worked a half-mile Wednesday in 47.40 and is aiming for the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on Nov. 30 at Aqueduct.