02/03/2006 12:00AM

Buckland Manor tapping on the door

Buckland Manor (left) is coming off one of his best efforts, a runner-up finish to High Limit.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The 116-pound starting highweight in Sunday's $250,000 San Antonio at Santa Anita is Buckland Manor, a 6-year-old who has never won a graded stakes, is best known as a turf miler, and has not won a stakes in more than 25 months.

Worse, trainer Paco Gonzalez semi-jokingly accused Buckland Manor of being a "coyote" on Friday, and is fitting him with blinkers in an effort to give the veteran more focus.

"I'll put blinkers on him," Gonzalez said. "He's getting older and a little coyote. He doesn't want to pass the other horses. We'll see if it helps."

While it seems several things are going against Buckland Manor, he is coming off one of his finest performances on the main track, a nose loss to High Limit in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 7. And, Buckland Manor starts in a San Antonio Handicap that lacks the depth of past runnings.

has one stakes win in 21 starts, the 2003 Sir Beaufort Stakes at a mile on dirt. In the last two years, he has run primarily on turf, winning two allowance races and placing in three stakes, including a second in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile last March.

Owned by Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan, Buckland Manor was intended to run on turf at the start of this meeting, but was omitted from an allowance race on Dec. 28 after being stuck on the also-eligible list.

"We had no place to go," said Gonzalez.

The San Pasqual was Buckland Manor's first start on the main track since a sixth-place finish in the 2004 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park. That season, he finished third in the Strub Stakes at 1 1/8 miles, losing by a length after leading in the stretch.

Gonzalez insists that Buckland Manor is a different horse than he was two years ago and that the 1 1/8-mile distance of the San Antonio is within the horse's range.

"Now that he's an older horse, he's relaxed," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez and Toffan considered waiting for Wednesday's Thunder Road Handicap on turf but decided to try Buckland Manor in the San Antonio.

If Buckland Manor runs poorly on Sunday, he can be redirected to the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf on March 4.

Gonzalez and the owners could use a victory. The stable, which in the past has had major stakes winners such as Free House, Bienamado, Bien Bien, and Came Home, has been in a slump in recent years. In 2005, Gonzalez had just two wins from 52 starters.

At this meeting, the barn is winless with six starters, three of whom have finished second.

"The horses are running okay," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez has 10 horses at Santa Anita and 10 2-year-olds based at Fairplex Park. He will bring the 2-year-olds to Santa Anita this spring when stall space is available. Some of those 2-year-olds are by Came Home, the most recent top horse that Gonzalez trained. Came Home won 9 of 12 starts, eight stakes, and $1,835,940 in 2001 and 2002. His top wins came in the Santa Anita Derby and Pacific Classic in 2002.

Unbridled Energy gets Kentucky vacation

Unbridled Energy, the winner of the San Fernando Breeders' Cup on Jan. 14, was shipped to Kentucky this week after briefly being hospitalized in late January.

Unbridled Energy was treated for "slight pneumonia" after spiking a temperature of more than 103 degrees following the San Fernando, trainer Richard Mandella said.

Unbridled Energy has been sent to WinStar Farm in Kentucky.

"He'll need a little time off," Mandella said.

Owned by Doug Cauthen, Unbridled Energy has won four of his eight starts.

Mandella said that The Tin Man, who won the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes on Jan. 22, will return in the $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap on Feb. 26, a race The Tin Man won in 2003.

Mandella said that The Tin Man is under consideration for the $5 million Sheema Classic at about 1 1/2 miles on turf in Dubai on March 26, but that a long-term goal is the Breeders' Cup Turf. The Tin Man was fourth in the BC Turf in 2002 and 2003.

Two Frankel runners miss scheduled starts

Two top-class Bobby Frankel trainees suffered minor setbacks this week that delayed their next starts. Badge of Silver, who would have been the 119-pound topweight in Sunday's Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap, popped an abscess in a hind foot and was not entered. Argentina, a Group 1-placed filly scheduled to make her U.S. debut Friday in a two-other-than allowance, came down with a temperature and was scratched.

Neither setback is considered to be serious. Frankel said Badge of Silver would not run at Santa Anita but would instead train up to the $5 million Dubai Duty Free, a Group 1 turf race at 1 1/8 miles on March 28. Badge of Silver won the Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap on Jan. 1 in his first start on grass. He has won seven races and $770,892 from 14 starts.

Argentina's temperature was 102 on Thursday and back to normal on Friday, but the bout forced her to miss Friday's race. She finished second in the French Oaks last year.

Gryder, Portillo given three-day suspensions

Jockeys Aaron Gryder and Douglas Portillo have been given three-day suspensions for careless-riding infractions in late January.

Gryder won the fourth race on Jan. 29 on Fighting City Hall but was cited for causing interference. There was no disqualification.

Portillo was cited for causing interference aboard Get Around Sue, who finished fourth in the 10th race on Jan. 28.

Both suspensions begin Wednesday and run through Friday.

* Sunday's nine-race program begins at 11 a.m. Pacific, an early post time designed to accommodate racegoers who want to be home before the start of the Super Bowl at 3:15 p.m. The San Antonio is the eighth race, preceded by two allowance races and a starter handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

- additional reporting by Brad Free