03/18/2004 1:00AM

Continental Red still kicking


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Continental Red was a mere pup of 6 when he won the San Luis Rey Stakes two years ago. The venerable California-bred gelding will try to equal Biggs as the oldest horse to win the 1 1/2-mile grass race, and join Cedar Key, Noble Dancer, and Hall of Famer John Henry as the only two-time winners of the San Luis Rey when it is run for the 53rd time on Saturday.

Continental Red had a spirited gallop on Thursday morning at Hollywood Park, his copper-colored chestnut coat cutting through the morning mist. His presence brought a smile to the face of his trainer, Ian Jory, who has guided Continental Red through a 58-race career for his breeders and owners, Sharon and Wes Fitzpatrick.

"He's the soundest horse," Jory said. "He's never had his knees or ankles injected. He hasn't had much done at all. You just have to keep him happy. If you don't mess with him, he loves it."

Continental Red has won only seven times, but he has kept company in top stakes through much of his career. Last year, he was second in the Del Mar Handicap, San Gabriel Handicap, and California Cup Mile, and third in the Sunset Handicap. His lone stakes win came in the Quicken Tree, for California-breds. Because of his consistency, he has earned $1,071,558. He most recently finished third in the San Luis Obispo Handicap, only a neck behind Puerto Banus, whom he meets again in the San Luis Rey.

Borrego, Master David drill for stakes

Master David and Borrego, the one-two finishers in last month's Sham Stakes, both worked on Thursday morning at Hollywood Park in preparation for key 3-year-old stakes races next month.

Borrego, who was second most recently in the Louisiana Derby, had his first work since then, an easy three-furlong drill in 38.40 seconds.

Beau Greely, who trains Borrego, said he was leaning toward sending Borrego to the Arkansas Derby on April 10 at Oaklawn Park, rather than the Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

"It's a one-million-dollar race," he said of the Arkansas Derby.

Master David covered five furlongs in 1:01.80 for trainer Bobby Frankel, who said he will send Master David to the Wood Memorial on April 10 at Aqueduct. Frankel also will run Vosburgh Stakes winner Ghostzapper that day in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap; his rivals are expected to include Congaree.

Frankel also worked the good sprinter Midas Eyes five furlongs in 1:02.20, and sent Generous runner-up Dealer Choice four furlongs in 49.20 seconds.

Bon voyage, Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens will leave for Dubai and then France after Saturday's races. The Hall of Fame jockey has signed a contract to ride for French trainer Andre Fabre this year, but first he will ride in next Saturday's Dubai World Cup card, on which he has four mounts, including Domestic Dispute in the day's richest race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup.

Stevens also will ride two races for trainer Neil Drysdale. He is aboard the hard-trying middle-distance turf horse Sarafan in the Godolphin Mile, as well as South American newcomer From the Sky, a Group 1 winner who is eligible to the United Arab Emirates Derby.

Stevens said he would make occasional trips to ride in the United States. He wants to retain the mount on the unbeaten 3-year-old Rock Hard Ten, who will make his next start in either the Santa Anita Derby or one of the April 10 Kentucky Derby prep races, such as the Arkansas Derby.

Bear Fan wins Irish O'Brien

Four of Bear Fan's five previous victories had come on different racetracks, and her ability to adapt was on display again Wednesday when she won the $110,300 Irish O'Brien Stakes in her first turf start.

Bear Fan held off Super High to win by a length, with Bold Roberta another three-quarters of a length back in third. Icantgoforthat, who was sent off the 5-2 favorite, was fourth in the race for California-bred fillies and mares.

Bear Fan ($7) was the second choice in the wagering. She and jockey Mike Smith had to survive a foul claim by Tyler Baze, who finished fourth aboard Icantgoforthat. He alleged interference late in the stretch, but the stewards dismissed the claim. Bear Fan was timed in 1:12.63 for the about 6 1/2 furlongs on a firm hillside course.

Wesley Ward, who trains Bear Fan and owns her with Peter Fan, said the Irish O'Brien was going to be used as a prep for the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 1.

Bear Fan, a 5-year-old mare by Pine Bluff, has now won six of 10 starts. She won the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel in her previous start.

Unrivalled pulls $88 surprise

Unrivalled, who was making his first start in this country and was sent off as the longest shot in the 11-horse field, rallied from last to first in the $77,850 Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-olds Wednesday.

Unrivalled ($88.80) ran the one-mile distance on firm turf under jockey Emile Ramsammy in 1:34.88 for his second win in five starts. A son of Unfuwain, he had not raced since last October in Great Britain. He was purchased at auction following that race by trainer Jim Cassidy on behalf of a partnership headed by Jim Ford.

"He was a very nervous horse when I first got him," Cassidy said on HRTV. "I wasn't happy at all. He was sullen, and would sulk. So, we castrated him. I didn't know what to expect. Most of my help bet, but I didn't. They're smarter than I am."

Unrivalled got up in the final strides to beat Erewhon by a head, with Four Song Limit, the 5-2 favorite, another length back in third.

* Several Santa Anita-based jockeys are out of town on Saturday. Kent Desormeaux is at Oaklawn Park to ride Mr. Jester in the Rebel Stakes, Mike Smith is riding Pomeroy in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, and David Flores is at Turfway Park to ride Hippocrates in the Lane's End Stakes.

* Rednaround, a filly by Red, won the first 2-year-old race of the meet Thursday at Santa Anita. She was timed in 21.86 seconds for a quarter-mile. David Nuesch rode the winner for trainer Jeff Mullins. She went off as the second choice and paid $6.40.

* The Padua Stables of Satish and Anne Sanan has purchased an additional interest in the 3-year-old colt Quintons Gold Rush, buying out previous partner Victor Riches. Jay Manoogian retains his share of the colt.

* Sarava, the 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, worked six furlongs in 1:13 on Thursday morning at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert.

* Susie McBrayer, the agent for Ramsammy, now handles Nuesch, too. Nuesch had been represented by Scott Hansen, but Hansen has gone back into training as an assistant to Nick Canani.

* Be sure to wear your poofy hairdos to the track on Saturday, when 1980's hair band A Flock of Seagulls performs after the races, beginning at 5:30 p.m.