11/05/2002 12:00AM

Cal-breds set sights on Millions


The connections of the California Cup winners already are looking forward to the next major statebred competition at Santa Anita. While the Great State Challenge on Dec. 7 at Sam Houston is scheduled in the interim, interest is growing for the $3.6 million Sunshine Millions on Jan. 25. The series of eight races - four at Santa Anita and four at Gulfstream Park - will pit California-breds against Florida-breds.

Trainer John Shirreffs said Tuesday he wasn't sure where Cal Cup Classic winner Calkins Road would start next, but confirmed the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic was a major goal. The 1 1/8-mile race will be run at Gulfstream.

Both Cal Cup winners trained by Carla Gaines - Matron winner Super High and Sprint winner Unlimited Value - will aim toward statebred competition. Super High may point to the Great States Challenge, followed by the $750,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff, a 1 1/16-mile race at Santa Anita. Unlimited Value could run in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint, though Gaines is reluctant to plan ahead. Unlimited Value, 6, has raced only 13 times. "He's a candidate to take one day at a time," Gaines said.

Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Summerwind Dancer could run Dec. 14 in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet, though trainer Jenine Sahadi said the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs is a definite goal. Sahadi said Summerwind Dancer's Cal Cup win "was particularly impressive, because I lost 11 days with her after her last start" with a foot problem.

The foot problem healed, and it is fair to suggest Summerwind Dancer will run better next time with no interruptions in her training.

Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Buttertart was placed on the vet's list for being off in the right front, but trainer Rafael Becerra said Tuesday "I don't see anything . . . she was just tired."

Becerra's Cal Cup Juvenile winner Crackup will not start during the Hollywood fall meet, but may ship to Gulfstream for the seven-furlong, $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash for 3-year-olds.

Cassidy loads up at Tattersalls sale

Trainer Jim Cassidy hopes to find another European import as good as Ocean Sound among the 12 runners he purchased last week at the Tattersalls horses of racing age in Newmarket. Cassidy annually restocks his stable with runners from the Tattersalls sale, attended this year by Southern California horsemen, including Vladimir Cerin, Darrell Vienna, Wally Dollase, Julio Canani, Carla Gaines, and Mike Machowsky.

Last year, Cassidy-trained import Ocean Sound finished second in the Rebel, third in the Blue Grass, and earned $110,000 before cracking his shin finishing 17th in the Kentucky Derby. The 3-year-old has recovered, and is pointing for a Nov. 16 comeback at Hollywood Park.

"He's twice the size he was last year," Cassidy said. Ocean Sound remains eligible to the first allowance condition.

Ocean Sound's record pales relative to Cassidy's main Tattersalls purchase this fall - Steelaninch, who won 4 of 10 overseas. Cassidy said the 2-year-old cost $166,000 and was purchased for owners Jim Ford and Deron Pearson. While Cassidy and Vienna attend the sale each year, this fall marked the first major foray into European racing stock for Cerin.

Cerin purchased 10 runners for owners David and Holly Wilson. The 2-year-old Choir Master, a half-brother to Performing Magic, was the most expensive of the lot - $114,000. Choir Master won 1 of 10 overseas for trainer John Gosden, and is eligible for the Grade 3 Generous Stakes on Nov. 30.

* Adalgisa, trainer Julio Canani's rapidly improving European import, worked seven furlongs in 1:24.20 Tuesday at Santa Anita and runs Nov. 16 at Churchill Downs in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Canani wanted a slower time, but an unwanted workmate hooked Adalgisa and forced her to work two seconds faster than Canani wanted.

* Jockey Pat Valenzuela resumes riding later this month, and already is laying groundwork for his return. Valenzuela was at Santa Anita Tuesday morning to work D'wildcat five furlongs for trainer Bob Hess. D'wildcat, who got sick and did not make the Breeders' Cup Sprint, worked in 1:00 breezing. He will run Dec. 7 in the Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood Handicap at six furlongs.

* Kafwain, runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, returned from Chicago in good shape and will point for the Grade 1 Hollywood Juvenile on Dec. 21, trainer Bob Baffert confirmed Tuesday. Kafwain has won 3 of 7, including the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes on Oct. 5 at Santa Anita. Baffert also will start a filly

Dec. 14 in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet - either BC Juvenile Fillies runner-up Composure, or third-place finisher Santa Catarina.

"One of them will run in there, probably Composure," Baffert said.