11/18/2004 12:00AM

Blackdoun has a new challenge


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Blackdoun's three-race unbeaten streak in the United States ended with a troubled seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

Trainer Julio Canani has shrugged off the loss, blaming the defeat on traffic problems.

Now, Blackdoun has a new challenge. When he starts in the $500,000 Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28, Blackdoun will be trying 1 1/4 miles on turf for the first time, and against a top-class field.

Blackdoun dominated the 3-year-old male turf division at Del Mar during the summer, winning a division of the Oceanside Stakes, the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap, and the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby over 1 1/8 miles. The latter race is the longest race in Blackdoun's career.

"I didn't think he'd go 1 1/8 miles," Canani said. "He's proven he's a nice horse."

The derby is one of three Grade 1 races that are part of the six-race Autumn Turf Festival, which runs from Nov. 26-28. The Nov. 27 program includes the Grade 1, $400,000 Citation Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf, while the Nov. 28 program also features the Grade 1, $500,000 Matriarch, run over a mile for fillies and mares.

Blackdoun is one of three Canani-trained runners in the Grade 1 races of the Turf Festival. In the Citation Handicap, Canani will start Special Ring and Tsigane.

Thursday, Blackdoun worked six furlongs in 1:13.80, galloping out well. "He did what he had to do," Canani said.

In the BC Mile, Blackdoun finished 3 1/2 lengths behind Singletary, the winner. Because of traffic in early stretch, Canani said, the Breeders' Cup "was like a workout," since Blackdoun did not have a clear path until the final furlong.

Traffic could play a role in the Hollywood Derby. The field might reach a maximum of 14, with probable starters including Fast and Furious, Fight Club, Good Reward, Greek Sun, Hendrix, Imperialism, Joursanvault, Laura's Lucky Boy, Medicinal, Salford City, Terroplane, Timo, and Whilly.

Good Reward, Hendrix, and Joursanvault were supplemented on Wednesday for $10,000 each.

Greek Sun will likely be favored. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Greek Sun won the Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap here in June and the Oak Tree Derby last month.

Stevens back for Moccasin

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will end a two-week break on Sunday when he rides Northern Mischief in the $100,000 Moccasin Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Stevens has not ridden since Nov. 6. He took off his mounts the following day, citing the flu. During the break, Stevens and his wife, Angie, traveled throughout the West, visiting family and friends.

"It recharged my battery," he said.

Thursday, Stevens, 41, returned to Santa Anita, working a horse for trainer Paddy Gallagher.

For the Turf Festival, Stevens is booked on Laura's Lucky Boy in the Derby, Gondolieri in the Citation, Denabola in the Matriarch, Conveyor's Angel in the $100,000 Miesque Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over a mile on Nov. 26, and Lucky Bid in the $100,000 Generous Stakes for 2-year-olds over a mile Nov. 27. He does not have a ride in the $150,000 Hollywood Turf Express over 5 1/2 furlongs on Nov. 26, according to his agent, Craig O'Bryan.

McAnally readying two for Citation

Gondolieri is one of two horses trained by Ron McAnally on target for the Citation. The stable will also start Fairly Ransom, the winner of the 2003 Del Mar Derby. McAnally said Sweet Return, the winner of the 2003 Hollywood Derby and the Kilroe Mile last March, will not be ready.

Sweet Return finished sixth in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland last month, emerging with a bruised foot. Sweet Return worked a half-mile in 48.20 seconds on Thursday.

Aside from McAnally's pair, the probable starters for the Citation are A to the Z, Buckland Manor, Leroidesanimaux, Mananan McLir, Mingun, Nothing to Lose, Special Ring, Three Valleys, and Tsigane.

Leroidesanimaux, Nothing to Lose, and Three Valleys are trained by Bobby Frankel. A to the Z, Buckland Manor, Mingun, and Three Valleys were each supplemented for $8,000 on Wednesday.

There were no late supplemental entries for the Matriarch, according to racing officials.

The candidates include Denabola, Etoile Montante, Hoh Buzzard, Intercontinental, Island Fashion, Miss Mambo, Musical Chimes, Ocean Drive, Quero Quero, and Ticker Tape.

Musical Chimes finished a troubled sixth in the Breeders' Cup Mile. She won the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar last July.

Malibu foursome gets feet wet

Four horses who ran on Wednesday - Stone Rain, Harvard Avenue, Minister Eric, and Diamond Fury - are candidates for the $250,000 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, the opening day of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

Stone Rain, Harvard Avenue, and Minister Eric were the first three finishers in the race, an optional claimer a 6 1/2 furlongs. Stone Rain, claimed for $40,000 last December, led throughout, winning by a neck in 1:15.03. Trained by John Sadler for Ron and Melodie McAtee, Stone Rain was making only his third start of the year, having undergone surgery to have a bone chip removed from a knee last winter.

"The Malibu is definitely on my mind," Sadler said.

Minister Eric finished 1 1/4 lengths behind Stone Rain in his first start since finishing 16th in the Kentucky Derby. Minister Eric was second in the stretch.

"I think he got a little tired," trainer Richard Mandella said. "He does better when we get a race into him."

Diamond Fury won his first race in his eighth start, taking a six-furlong maiden race by a nose in 1:09.83. Trained by Bob Baffert for Charles Fipke, Diamond Fury was purchased for a then-record $2.7 million at the 2003 Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training. He has earned just $42,580.

Baffert defends the slow start of Diamond Fury's career, citing injuries such as sore shins, and a bone chip that was removed from a knee.

"I think he has the potential to be a stakes horse," Baffert said.