09/02/2003 11:00PM

Candy Ride gallops like he wants action

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Candy Ride (left) collars Medaglia d'Oro en route to winning the Pacific Classic. Candy Ride's next race likely will be the BC Classic.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Candy Ride, the unbeaten winner of the Pacific Classic, returned to the racetrack for the first time on Wednesday for a gallop that was hardly routine.

"We couldn't keep him on the ground," trainer Ron McAnally said. "He's something else. There is a lot of energy stored up."

Owned by Sid and Jenny Craig, Candy Ride, 4, scored a convincing victory in the Pacific Classic on Aug. 24 to vault to the top of the nation's handicap division. In Breeders' Cup Future Wager Period 2, conducted over Labor Day weekend, Candy Ride closed as the 7-2 favorite for the Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

The Breeders' Cup Classic is likely to be Candy Ride's next start, McAnally said. It is unlikely that Candy Ride will have a prep in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita on Oct. 4.

"He's the kind of horse, like he showed, that he can work right up to it," McAnally said.

To start Candy Ride in that race, the Craigs must pay a supplemental entry fee of $800,000 since he has not been nominated for the Breeders' Cup.

Candy Ride won three races in Argentina, including two stakes, before being acquired by the Craigs. Earlier this year at Hollywood Park, Candy Ride won an allowance race on the main track in June and the Grade 2 American Handicap on turf on July 4, his final start before the Pacific Classic.

Purse elevated in attempt to attract Azeri

The Oak Tree Racing Association has finalized plans to increase the purse of the Grade 2 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 28 from $200,000 to $300,000 in an effort to attract Azeri, the reigning Horse of the Year.

Oak Tree's executive vice-president, Sherwood Chillingworth, said his organization was sending a letter to the California Horse Racing Board on Wednesday, advising them of the plan.

Chillingworth said the funds for the purse increase will be paid by Oak Tree out of its operating funds. There were discussions in August about the additional money coming from the Breeders' Cup or from the purse fund, which would have required the approval of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, but in the end those sources were not used.

"This is all Oak Tree money," Chillingworth said.

The Breeders' Cup is contributing $50,000 to the race, but that amount was already earmarked before the purse increase was proposed.

Late purse contributions are typically not permitted in California, with the exception of match races or special events, Chillingworth said. He categorized this year's Lady's Secret as a special event because it is a prep to a Breeders' Cup being run at Santa Anita, and the race is being run on a day specifically designed for Breeders' Cup preps.

"It's our position that this is a special event," he said. "We're on national television. It's a special day leading up to Breeders' Cup, our Breeders' Cup Preview Day. I think it qualifies under every aspect of a special event."

Azeri, who has won 11 consecutive races, is on course to run in the Lady's Secret, trainer Laura de Seroux said.

Owned by the Allen Paulson Living Trust, Azeri won her last start in the Clement Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 10.

"I think we're all systems go," de Seroux said. "Since I've given her a little time off since the Clement Hirsch, I've mapped out a plan and the Lady's Secret fits in tidily. I think it will bring her to her best peak for the Breeders' Cup, which is most important."

Chillingworth is hoping the presence of Azeri, if she comes, does not scare off the competition. Azeri faced six opponents when she won the 2002 Lady's Secret.

"I don't want this to be a three-horse race," he said. "The point of this is to get some competition for her. We need to get a big field.

"The generic problem in horse racing today is the bigger the race, the smaller the field. A horse like Azeri tends to scare off the competition. This race is very important, in my view, to get people back East who are looking forward to the Breeders' Cup to follow her career."

Fogelsonger set for first California mount

Ryan Fogelsonger, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice of 2002, will launch his California career Friday with one mount at Del Mar.

Fogelsonger, 22, announced last month that he was leaving Maryland to move to California. He plans to ride occasionally until Del Mar concludes on Sept. 10 and will then concentrate on the Los Angeles County Fair meeting at Fairplex Park from Sept. 12-28.

Fairplex Park does not draw the top jockeys on the Southern California circuit. Many take a break between the Del Mar and Oak Tree at Santa Anita meetings.

"That will be the meeting I'll start at," Fogelsonger said. "A couple of the guys won't be there."

On Friday, Fogelsonger will ride Happy and Hasty in a $20,000 claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs. Happy and Hasty won two races during the Hollywood Park meeting, but has been fourth and fifth in allowance races at this meeting.

Trained by Grant Hofmans, Happy and Hasty was claimed for $40,000 last April.

Fogelsonger said he is aware that breaking into Southern California will be difficult.

"It will be pretty hard and maybe a little stressful," he said. "Patience is one thing I've learned in this business."

Fogelsonger won with his only mount at Pimilico on Wednesday, his first ride since Aug. 22. He served a suspension in recent weeks.

Through Wednesday, Fogelsonger was ranked fourth in the nation among jockeys with 229 winners.

Woke Up Dreamin replaces Oopstheregoes

Woke Up Dreamin, who finished fifth in an allowance race on Aug. 27, has been named as a replacement for the injured Oopstheregoes in a $50,000 match race between jockeys Julie Krone and Patrick Valenzuela on Sunday.

Woke Up Dreamin is trained by Bob Baffert, who also trains Oopstheregoes. A 3-year-old by Holy Bull, Woke Up Dreamin was making his 2003 debut in the Aug. 27 allowance race. Last fall at Churchill Downs, Woke Up Dreamin won a $50,000 claiming race for maidens over 1 1/16 miles by 3 3/4 lengths.

The other starter is Chester's Choice, a maiden winner this meeting trained by Summer Mayberry. The match race will be run over 1 1/16 miles and both horses will be eligible to be claimed for $300,000, a $100,000 increase over the previous conditions.

Nine runners are likely for Saturday's $300,000 Del Mar Derby, and trainer Ron McAnally's two hopefuls - Fairly Ransom and Sweet Return - worked on turf on Wednesday.

Fairly Ransom, a stakes winner in France this year who was fourth in the La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 16, worked a half-mile in 49 seconds. Sweet Return, who won a division of the Oceanside Stakes on July 23 but was fifth in the La Jolla, worked a half-mile in 49.60.

Other probables include Bis Repetitas, Californian, Devious Boy, Middleweight, Outta Here, Senor Swinger, and Singletary.