08/04/2004 12:00AM

Cal-bred sprint king returns

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Don'tsell-meshort has earned nearly $400,000 by dominating the California-bred sprint division in the last year. His four wins, including three stakes, have come in restricted company.

Friday at Del Mar, Don'tsellmeshort will be favored to win his fourth stakes in the $100,000 Real Good Deal Stakes for statebred 3-year-olds. A win in the seven-furlong race would give his stable a much-needed boost of enthusiasm.

is trained by Dan Hendricks, who suffered paralysis from the waist down in a motorcycle accident in mid-July. In recent weeks, his wife, Samantha, and assistant, Francisco Alvarado, have directed the barn.

Hendricks is undergoing physical therapy and is scheduled to leave the hospital later this month, Samantha said.

Don'tsellmeshort has not started since finishing third in the Grade 2 Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park on May 29. The performance is his best result against open company. Last year, Don'tsellmeshort won stakes at Del Mar, Fairplex Park and Santa Anita.

Hendricks gave Don'tsellmeshort a brief rest in June with an eye on using the Real Good Deal as the start of his summer and fall campaign.

"He had a bit of a layoff and we were skeptical he could make it," Samantha Hendricks said. "He's made it. It's a good distance for him."

The race drew five entrants. Don'tsellmeshort is the only stakes winner in a field that includes Areyoutalkingtome, Jet West, El Don, and Never Surrender.

El Don is a threat to Don'tsell-meshort. Trained by Marty Jones, El Don has won 2 of 3 starts in a career interrupted for seven months because of injury. Last December, El Don won a maiden special weight race for California-breds at Hollywood Park, but emerged with injury.

He returned to score a smart win in a statebred allowance race here over six furlongs on July 26. "He's coming back really quick," trainer Marty Jones said. "I think it's a perfect race for the horse except for the timing. I'm not a big fan of bringing horses back after 10 days."

Jet West and Never Surrender won allowance races against open company at Bay Meadows in their last start. Jet West, a likely stalker, has never been worse than third in four starts.