05/08/2006 11:00PM

Bordonaro bows out of Los Angeles

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Surf Cat will start as the highweight on Saturday in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Bordonaro was expected to start Saturday as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap, but trainer Bill Spawr said Tuesday that Bordonaro will skip the six-furlong race and aim for a late-summer campaign that will include the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar and the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs.

One reason is the Sprint's recent $1 million purse increase, making it a $2 million race.

"The bottom line is [the owners] want to get to the Breeders' Cup, and this race doesn't fit into our plans," Spawr said, referring to Fred Carrillo and Dan Cassella.

Bordonaro's four consecutive six-furlong stakes wins include his last start, the Count Fleet on April 13 at Oaklawn Park, which he won with a 115 Beyer.

"Arguably, if the Breeders' Cup were to be run tomorrow, he would be the favorite," Spawr said. "If everything goes well for the rest of the year, they are going to supplement him."

Bordonaro worked a sharp five furlongs Monday in 59.40 seconds.

The $100,000 Los Angeles, the first open graded sprint of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meet, will come up weak without Bordonaro or second highweight Siren Lure. Possible runners include Pure as Gold, 119; Thunder Touch, 115; and Prorunner, 112.

Runaway Dancer needs another pilot

Trainer Dan Hendricks and jockey Alex Solis, who combined with Brother Derek in the Kentucky Derby, are spending lots of Saturdays together, but not this coming weekend. Hendricks expected Solis to ride Runaway Dancer for him in the Grade 3, $350,000 Jim Murray Handicap, but when another opportunity came open, Hendricks released Solis from his commitment.

"He's taking a pretty good horse," Hendricks said, referring to multiple Group 1 winner Grey Swallow, whom Solis will ride instead.

A 5-for-12 millionaire from Europe, Grey Swallow will make his California debut under Solis in the 1 1/2-mile Jim Murray, while Hendricks will look for a rider for Grade 3 winner Runaway Dancer.

"Maybe I'll get someone from out of town and shake things up," Hendricks said.

In the Jim Murray, King's Drama is the 122-pound highweight; the Dermot Weld-trained Grey Swallow starts at 121.

Surf Cat 'brilliant' in work for LeRoy

Surf Cat will concede at least five pounds to his closest rival Saturday in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, but does it matter? Surf Cat worked five furlongs in 58.80 on Monday at Santa Anita, a work that trainer Bruce Headley described as "brilliant, it looked like he was breezing."

The 1 1/16-mile Mervyn LeRoy represents a return to two turns for Surf Cat, who won successive graded sprint stakes at Santa Anita. Surf Cat has won six races and $472,420 from 10 starts, and scored a five-length win last summer at Hollywood in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.

"Being a 4-year-old, he's headed toward his prime," Headley said.

Surf Cat will be ridden by Solis in a modest Mervyn LeRoy field. The 122-pound highweight, Buzzards Bay, will run June 17 in the Grade 2 Californian, leaving Surf Cat as the 121-pound starting highweight over possible starters Melanyhasthepapers and Spellbinder at 116; Dixie Meister at 115; and possibly Timias at 112.

Moscow Burning bled last out, trainer says

For the second consecutive race, millionaire mare Moscow Burning bled through Lasix when she finished third as the 7-10 favorite April 30 in the $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes.

"She didn't bleed out the nose, but she bled all the way up and that's what cost us the race," trainer Jim Cassidy said.

Moscow Burning returned to the track Monday for the first time, and Cassidy said there is no timetable for a return.

"He said keep her here and wait as long as you have to wait," Cassidy said, adding that he will look for a 1 1/4-mile race later this summer for Moscow Burning.

Cassidy believes the slower tempo of a long race will help prevent a recurrence of the bleeding problem. The Fran's Valentine was 1 1/16 miles. Moscow Burning also bled when she finished second as the even-money favorite April 8 in a one-mile minor stakes at Santa Anita.

The third-leading female Cal-bred money earner, with a bankroll of $1,287,000 from 11 wins in 28 starts, Moscow Burning is owned by Don Van Kempen. A 6-year-old mare, Moscow Burning is $106,465 behind Fran's Valentine, the all-time leading Cal-bred female.

Dam of Lemons Forever showed promise

Lemons Forever returned $96.20 in the Kentucky Oaks, but if class comes from the dam, her win was no surprise to California trainer Bill Spawr. Spawr trained the dam of Lemons Forever, the Argentina import Critikola, who finished third in two Grade 1's at Santa Anita in 2001 before infirmities caught up with her.

"[Critikola] was a beautiful mare with a lot of class, but she had ankle problems," Spawr said.

Critikola's 8-for-15 record in South America included three wins in group races, and after arriving in California she missed by a length in the Santa Maria and Santa Margarita handicaps. She was unplaced in four subsequent races and ended her career 8 for 22.

"Her ankles really to got to her, and we couldn't get her right," Spawr said.

Owner Kip Knelman retired Critikola, bred her to Lemon Drop Kid, and sold Lemons Forever for $140,000. Spawr was at his Santa Anita barn watching the Oaks on television when the field neared the gate.

"I saw [Lemons Forever] was 40-1, but it was two minutes to post," he said.

Heavenly Ransom aims for Gamely

Heavenly Ransom, sharp winner of the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap on April 26, will have an abbreviated Hollywood Park campaign. Her next likely start is May 29 in the Grade 1 Gamely Handicap.

"That's the natural progression," trainer Ray Bell said. "I only want to run her one more time, then back off and get ready for the Yellow Ribbon," run during the fall Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.

Heavenly Ransom has won 5 of 6, and was full of energy on her way to the Santa Anita track Tuesday for a routine gallop.

"It's safe to say she's feeling good," Bell said, smiling as Heavenly Ransom pranced and kicked.

When she won the Wilshire under Jon Court, Heavenly Ransom raced her final quarter-mile in 22.40.

Bell said the second option for Heavenly Ransom is the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap on June 24.