04/01/2005 1:00AM

Bullet indicates Wilko's ready


ARCADIA, Calif. - After fighting rainy weather and a problematic quarter crack in recent months, Wilko has his trainer, Craig Dollase, excited about his chances for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby next Saturday.

"I'm very pleased where I'm at right now," Dollase said.

The comment came a few hours after Wilko zipped through a six-furlong workout in 1:10.60 at Hollywood Park on Friday. It was the fastest of nine recorded works at the distance; the next quickest of 1:12 was recorded by Resonate and Thunder's Echo.

"He worked really well and came out of it good," Dollase said. "We got what we wanted this morning. He got a good blow out of it."

Wilko, best known for his upset win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October, has made one start this year, finishing fourth in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on March 19.

Wilko was expected to race in the Santa Catalina Stakes in early March, but that start was postponed in February because of persistent rain in Southern California.

Wilko was found to have a quarter crack in December, and it has subsequently needed attention. Dollase said the quarter crack is not causing a problem.

"The foot is holding up well," he said. "We wanted to see where we are at with everything."

Wilko will be ridden by British champion jockey Frankie Dettori in the Santa Anita Derby, which is run over 1 1/8 miles. Dettori rode Wilko in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the colt's final start for English trainer Jeremy Noseda.

Corey Nakatani rode Wilko to a third in the Hollywood Futurity last December and the San Felipe Stakes, but will ride Sweet Catomine, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2004, in the Santa Anita Derby.

Because Wilko earned $780,000 from the BC Juvenile, he will have sufficient earnings to draw into the Kentucky Derby on May 7 if the race draws more than 20 entrants. Graded stakes earnings are the first tiebreaker.

Consequently, Dollase just wants to see an improved performance from Wilko on Saturday.

"Our objective is to keep him sound and happy and keep his feet intact," he said. "We need a good, solid race and we'll be on to the big dance."

Dettori gets approval to ride

Dettori has successfully appealed a one-day suspension for careless riding that threatened to prevent him from riding in the Santa Anita Derby.

The suspension, issued on Tuesday in England, was scheduled to be served next Saturday, but will not be served until the following Monday, according to Dettori and his agent, Ray Cochrane.

Cochrane said suspensions of three days or less can be postponed in Britain if a rider provides the racing authority with proof that a jockey has an engagement in a group or graded stakes.

Dettori campaigned to regain the ride on Wilko. "Hopefully, he'll give a good account of himself," Dettori said of Wilko. "I'm looking forward to riding him again."

The Santa Anita Derby has 12 probable starters, including All Right, Buzzards Bay, Customer, Don't Get Mad, Giacomo, General John B, Golden Shine, Go Coyote Joe, Sweet Catomine, Texcess, and Wannawinemall. Sweet Catomine is likely to go favored.

Jockey race back and forth

Patrick Valenzuela scored three wins on Thursday to draw into a tie with Tyler Baze for the lead in the jockey standings at the winter-spring meeting.

Valenzuela's lead did not last long. Baze responded by winning the first two races on Friday's program for trainer Bob Baffert with Gallardo ($5.60) and Woke Up Dreamin ($5.40).

Valenzuela missed the first three weeks of the meeting while fighting a suspension. The two figure to battle for the riding title through the end of the meeting on April 18, while allowing for occasional trips out of town for major stakes.

"I don't know whether it will happen, but it would feel good," Valenzuela said of winning the title.

Valenzuela won riding titles at all five major meetings in Southern California in 2003, but missed most of 2004 because of a suspension.

Valenzuela has been seeking wider publicity. In late March, he submitted an auction on Ebay.com soliciting a sponsor whose name would go on his riding breeches. The offshore betting service Betcris.com submitted a bid for $15,000, but the plan was not enacted. All advertisements on breeches must be approved by track stewards. Earlier this week, the stewards asked Valenzuela for more information regarding betcris.com.

Valenzuela has relisted the offering on Ebay with a minimum bid of $10,000. As of early Friday afternoon, there were no bids.

Bluesthestandard changes barns

Bluesthestandard, second in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint, was claimed for $40,000 on Thursday by owner Bob Bone and trainer Jeff Mullins after finishing fifth in a sprint at Santa Anita.

The claim surprised Bluesthestandard's previous trainer, Ted H. West, who expressed frustration that Mullins had submitted the claim.

Mullins said that Bone suggested the claim and that it was placed after he conducted a paddock inspection of Bluesthestandard, an 8-year-old gelding.

"He recommends all of his claims and leaves it up to me," Mullins said.

Thursday's race marked Bluesthestandard's ninth consecutive loss, dating back to the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap in February 2004.

The claim marked the sixth time that Bluesthestandard has been claimed in his

37-race career, which includes 15 wins and earnings of $958,558. For West and owner Jeffrey Sengara, Bluesthestandard won 5 of 20 starts and $783,348. They claimed Bluesthestandard for $50,000 on Dec. 31, 2002.

Friday, Mullins said that Bluesthestandard was in good condition. He is optimistic Bluesthestandard is not sour on racing.

"Sometimes all an old horse needs is a change of scenery," he said.

* Leonard Powell, an assistant to Bill Currin, scored the first win of his training career when Fullbridled won Thursday's eighth race, a maiden race on turf.