03/21/2007 12:00AM

De Seroux done with training


ARCADIA, Calif. - Laura de Seroux, who trained 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, has retired from training and turned her small stable over to her top assistant, Jeff Ford.

De Seroux, 55, said she has been considering retirement "for quite some time" and plans to work as a bloodstock agent with her husband, Emmanuel de Seroux. Prior to opening a stable in 1999, Laura de Seroux worked in bloodstock acquisition and management.

"Over the last year, I've decided to play out the stable we have left," she said on Wednesday from her home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. "We haven't gone to the sales and replenished. I thought this was the best way to do it.

"I never intended to train horses forever. I set up because we had clients that we were partners with instead of just managing their horses. I saw a chance to set up at San Luis Rey Downs."

De Seroux said she plans to spend time in France later this year, scouting horses.

De Seroux rose to prominence in 2002 with Azeri's championship campaign, which included five victories in Grade 1 races. Azeri won 11 consecutive races in 2002-03 before finishing second in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting in October 2003.

Azeri, who raced for the Allen Paulson Living Trust, was also the champion older female of 2002, 2003, and 2004. Azeri was trained by D. Wayne Lukas in 2004.

De Seroux lists Azeri's win in the 2002 BC Distaff at Arlington Park as the highlight of her training career.

Aside from Azeri, de Seroux trained such major stakes winners as Dublino and Total Impact. She won with her final starter, World Asunder, in a maiden race on turf here on March 11.

"That's our last runner and we went out a winner," de Seroux said.

Ford, 39, will start with 10 horses previously trained by de Seroux. He said he will be based at San Luis Rey Downs in northern San Diego County, where de Seroux was based throughout her training career.

"As a foundation, it's exciting," Ford said. "It's a great setup. I think it's a great facility. It's totally underappreciated. We proved that you can run a good horse out of there. I think it's an asset."

Ford said that he has a few horses that are being prepared at San Luis Rey Downs for other trainers and wants to expand the stable.

"I'll try to keep as many as I can," he said. "Hopefully, I can build a clientele."

Ford began working for de Seroux in 2000, having previously worked at Brookside Farm in Florida through most of the 1990's.

"Jeff has been very visible for us at the track, doing the traveling and saddling the horses," de Seroux said. "He's very likeable and personal."

The Tin Man back in training

The Tin Man, a leading turf horse of 2006, worked three furlongs in 37.20 seconds at Hollywood Park on Tuesday, preparing for a spring comeback.

The Tin Man, 9, has not started since winning the Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita in late September.

Trainer Richard Mandella said that the layoff was needed because The Tin Man "was just tired" from his 2006 campaign, which included 4 wins in 5 starts, including a victory in the Arlington Million.

The Tin Man is expected to return to racing during the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

"He's pretty high on himself," Mandella said. "He had his first three-eighths and he looked great. He's about six to eight weeks from running. I haven't looked at any schedule. When he's ready, there will be something that fits."

Migliore switching agents

Richard Migliore, fourth in the jockey standings with 34 wins, will be represented by agent Scotty McClellan, effective in early April, McClellan said.

Migliore's mounts are currently being booked by Ron Anderson, who also books mounts for Garrett Gomez. But Anderson and Gomez are scheduled to leave Santa Anita for Keeneland after the Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

Migliore, who has ridden in New York for most of his career, said earlier this month that he plans to stay in California through the summer.

Through Sunday, Gomez led all riders with 76 wins this meet.

Two new jockeys arriving

The jockey roster at Santa Anita will add two names in coming days.

Jason Lumpkins, currently based at Bay Meadows, and Dylan Williams, 16, an apprentice jockey based at Fonner Park in Nebraska, are relocating here.

Lumpkins, 36, who has ridden in Southern California in the past, has struggled at the Bay Meadows meeting, winning with just 3 of 41 mounts through Sunday.

Williams has won 21 races from 95 mounts.

Baby races begin

Excessive Heat became the first 2-year-old winner of the year in Southern California, zipping two furlongs in 21.98 seconds to win Wednesday's first race.

Ridden by Martin Pedroza, Excessive Heat broke from post 7 and drifted in throughout the stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths over To B. Devon in the field of 10.

Excessive Heat ($3) is owned and trained by Wesley Ward, who bred the filly in California. Excessive Heat is by Bring the Heat.

The race marked the rare occasion of twins competing in the same race.

Kaylasrocketdancer and Kyles Rocketdancer - by Rocket Cat out of Banta's Dancer - finished ninth and 10th in the field of 10. Owned by Kyle and Kayla Williamson and trained by Keith Craigmyle, the twins were coupled in the betting and were sent off as 31-1, the second-longest price in the field.

Santa Anita runs two-furlong races for 2-year-olds in the final weeks of the winter-spring meeting, which runs through April 22.