01/03/2003 1:00AM

Continental Red to try Sunshine


ARCADIA, Calif. - Continental Red, who spent most of 2002 racing on turf before winning the Great State Challenge Classic in Texas on the main track last month, will stay on dirt for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25.

Owners Wes and Sharon Fitzpatrick and trainer Ian Jory have chosen the Classic over the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita the same day.

"How many times do you have a chance to go for $1 million?" trainer Ian Jory said. "He's done nothing wrong on the dirt."

The Sunshine Millions is restricted to California-breds and Florida-breds and will be run for the first time this year.

The 7-year-old Continental Red has been pointed to the Sunshine Millions for months. During the fall, he finished second in the California Cup Classic in his first start on the main track in nearly three years. A month later, he won the Great State Challenge Classic at Sam Houston Race Park, which drew statebred representatives from throughout the country.

The Sunshine Millions is designed to attract six statebreds from California and Florida in each of the eight races. Although the race is three weeks away, the likely Classic candidates from California also include Calkins Road, Grey Memo, and Hot Market, who was scheduled to start in Saturday's San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita. The Florida-bred team is expected to include Booklet, Mayakovsky, Sir Bear, and Western Pride. Mayakovsky finished ninth in the Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, and is based at Santa Anita with trainer Patrick Biancone.

Century City tries main track

Century City, a stakes winner in Ireland last summer who is winless in two starts in this country, will make his main track debut in the $200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 11.

On Friday at Hollywood Park, Century City worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds, the fastest of 31 recorded works at the distance. Laffit Pincay Jr., who has the mount in the San Fernando, was aboard for the workout.

"Laffit said he never moved on him and he was impressed with the way he worked," trainer Beau Greely said.

For his last two workouts, Century City has worn blinkers, which he will wear in the San Fernando. "It's made a huge difference," Greely said.

Century City won the Group 2 Goffs International Stakes at The Curragh, Ireland, last July in his final start for trainer Aidan O'Brien. He was considered a candidate for the Travers Stakes at Saratoga last summer, but was rerouted for a fall campaign on turf in California.

In his U.S. debut, Century City finished a troubled third in the Bay Meadows Derby after a poor start. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the Hollywood Derby a month later, Century City ran a disappointing race after a slow start and finished eighth.

The San Fernando will not be an easy race for Century City. The other candidates are Castle Gandolfo, Mananan McLir, Ocean Sound, Olmodavor, Pass Rush, Rushin' to Altar, Sunday Break, Tizbud, and Tracemark.

All are based in Southern California except for Kentucky-based Pass Rush, who finished second to Continental Red in the Great State Challenge last month and is trained by Patrick Byrne.

Medaglia d'Oro awaits Strub

There are three notable absences from the list of San Fernando hopefuls. Medaglia d'Oro, who was second in the Breeders' Cup Classic, is being pointed for the $400,000 Strub Stakes on Feb. 1.

Sarava, the winner of the Belmont Stakes, is now trained by Bob Baffert but is only galloping in the mornings. He is a few months away from a race.

Lusty Latin, who finished third in the 2002 Santa Anita Derby and was unplaced in the Kentucky Derby, is out of training with a respiratory infection, trainer Jeff Mullins said. Mullins was hoping to have started Lusty Latin by now at this meet, but said the 4-year-old won't do anything until his health improves.

Tates Creek tops San Gorgonio

The San Fernando is the richest race at Santa Anita next weekend.

The stakes program also includes Saturday's $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Tates Creek, who won the Las Palmas Handicap in November over the same course and distance, heads the nominees.

Sunday's feature will be the $100,000 San Miguel Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs. It is unlikely to draw a large field. Only the Best, the winner of two sprints last fall, is a leading candidate.

* Scrimshaw, who remained unbeaten in two starts following a victory in a six-furlong allowance race on Dec. 26, is being pointed for the $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 18, trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

On Friday, Scrimshaw worked five furlongs in 1:00.60. Owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, Scrimshaw is expected to face Domestic Dispute, Our Bobby V., Robledo, and Truckle Feature in the Santa Catalina.