03/10/2005 12:00AM

Cozy Guy goes dirt to turf

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - The field was barely away from the starting gate in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park in January when trainer Dan Hendricks knew that Cozy Guy was beaten.

Instead of being near the front, Cozy Guy was at the back of the field.

"Twenty feet out of the gate, we knew it was a disaster," he said.

finished last of 12, ending a six-race streak of top-three finishes. The streak included a win in the $250,000 California Cup Classic in October.

Saturday, Cozy Guy will try for his second stakes win, and first on turf, in the $100,000 Crystal Water Handicap over a mile at Santa Anita.

The Crystal Water is one of two stakes on the undercard of a 10-race program that includes the $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap. The other stakes is the $75,000 China Doll Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf.

The Crystal Water is restricted to California-breds and has drawn nine entrants.

Cozy Guy is the starting highweight at 118 pounds, one more than Red Warrior, the upset winner of the Sunshine Millions Sprint on dirt at Santa Anita on Jan. 29.

Cozy Guy finished third in the Sir Beaufort Stakes at a mile on turf on Dec. 26. He led to deep stretch before finishing three-quarters of a length behind Whilly, who returned a month later to win the Grade 2 San Marcos.

Cozy Guy, 4, won a $62,500 claimer on turf at Del Mar last August.

"He seems to run as good as he does on the dirt," Hendricks said. "He's super. It took him a week to get over the traveling from Florida. He had a turf work the other day, and he did it easy. Everything is ready."

A race on the turf should be no problem for Lava Man, the runner-up in the California Cup Classic. Since that race, Lava Man finished second in the On Trust Handicap at Hollywood Park and the Grade 1 Malibu at seven furlongs here on Dec. 26.

Lava Man was seventh in the Sunshine Millions Classic in his last start. Trained by Doug O'Neill, Lava Man has won 3 of 8 starts on turf.

O'Neill also trains Early Snow, one of two entrants who won their last start. Early Snow won an allowance race at Bay Meadows on Feb. 12; Super Strut won an allowance race at a mile on turf on March 3.

China Doll: Memorette's turf debut

The China Doll has drawn 10 entrants.

, who was considered for Sunday's Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, is the likely favorite. She was second in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at a mile on Feb. 12. The China Doll marks her turf debut.

Other top contenders include Cee's Irish, who won the Blue Norther Stakes on Jan. 14; Mashina, a stakes winner in Spain last year; Conveyor's Angel, the winner of the Hidden Light Stakes here in October; and Single Market, who won a maiden race on turf on Feb. 13.