10/13/2005 11:00PM

Decisions on Cup being finalized


ARCADIA, Calif. - Island Fashion is in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, We All Love Aleyna is probable for the Breeders' Cup Mile, and A.P. Warrior is doubtful for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park on Oct. 29, their trainers said Friday.

With the pre-entry deadline looming Monday, owners and trainers are making final decisions this weekend about the participation of their horses on the richest program in American racing.

Trainer Marcelo Polanco said Island Fashion is bound for the Distaff after she breezed a half-mile in 50.20 seconds at Santa Anita on Friday. "She went very easily. It was just a maintenance work," Polanco said.

Fifth in the 2004 Distaff at Lone Star Park, Island Fashion was third in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap here Oct. 2. Island Fashion has won 6 of 25 starts and $1,947,970 for Jeff Nielsen's Everest Stable.

We All Love Aleyna finished a troubled fourth in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 8. Trainer John Sadler said that We All Love Aleyna will be pre-entered for the BC Mile but will also be nominated for the $150,000 Knickerbocker Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Belmont Park on Oct. 28, in case the BC Mile oversubscribes.

Sadler said the tough trip in the Oak Tree Mile left him unsure of whether We All Love Aleyna is capable of playing a major role in the BC Mile.

"We want to make sure it's the right thing to do," he said. "He was locked up on the rail the whole way."

Owned by CRK Stable, We All Love Aleyna has yet to win a stakes.

A.P. Warrior finished second to Brother Derek in the Norfolk Stakes. Trainer Eoin Harty said that owner Stan Fulton "was leaning toward not running." Harty said that A.P. Warrior is more likely to be pointed for the Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 17, but needs an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles in the next month to remain on schedule.

"If you don't run [in the Breeders' Cup], there is a huge void until the Hollywood Futurity," Harty said, adding that he would prefer to skip the Hollywood Prevue Stakes over seven furlongs in November.

Gomez has four-win day

Jockey Garrett Gomez won four races Thursday to take a 10-race lead in the jockeys' standings.

Gomez won the first race aboard Topper's Gold ($4.20) and swept the last three races on three favorites - Wildberry Road ($5.80), Selvatica ($3.80), and Lake of Gold ($3.20).

In the first 13 days of the meeting, Gomez has won 23 races, 10 more than Patrick Valenzuela.

Gomez, 33, is seeking his first riding title at Oak Tree. At the Del Mar meeting this summer, Gomez finished second, three wins behind Victor Espinoza.

"There was a certain amount of disappointment," Gomez said of finishing second at Del Mar. "I had a great meet. I won a couple of great stakes. It could have been a little sweeter. I'm grateful for what happened. I'm not trying to slow down and look behind."

Like many top Southern California jockeys, Gomez will ride the Breeders' Cup. He has five confirmed mounts - Borrego (Classic), Healthy Addiction (Distaff), Leprechaun Kid (Turf), Stevie Wonderboy (Juvenile), and Taste of Paradise (Sprint). He could ride We All Love Aleyna if that horse starts in the Mile.

Borrego won the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar and the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Oct. 1, the best performances of his career. "I think his confidence level is high," Gomez said. "He's starting to figure it out."

Baffert upset at DQ ruling

A spill in Thursday's third race left jockey Douglas Portillo briefly hospitalized and trainer Bob Baffert furious that his starter was demoted from third to sixth.

Hockey the General, trained by Baffert, was ruled to have shifted out at the top of the stretch, causing a chain reaction of interference that led Unusually Chic to move out into the path of Portillo's mount, Winning Target, who clipped heels. Portillo was unseated and fell heavily. Portillo was released from the hospital late Thursday. He was in the stable area Friday, hoping to receive clearance to ride Friday's final race.

Baffert was upset with the stewards, arguing that Hockey the General, who was ridden by Victor Espinoza, did not cause interference that led to his disqualification. Hockey the General rallied from off the pace between horses to reach contention in the stretch.

"They told me that [Unusually Chic] shied from my horse," Baffert said. "That was a lame excuse."

Baffert said the turf course is dangerous when the inside rails are set 30 feet out from their normal position, which greatly narrows the course.

The stewards intended to meet with Espinoza on Friday to discuss the incident.

"Riders here have to ride aggressively," Baffert said, defending Espinoza. "There is a fine line between aggressive and dangerous. When the rails are out 30 feet, it's hard to make that turn."

* Michael Wrona, who is the regular race caller at Golden Gate Fields, will fill in for Trevor Denman at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting when Denman goes to New York later this month to work for NBC on the Breeders' Cup telecast.

Wrona will call the races on Oct. 28 and 29. Johnathan Horowitz will fill in for Wrona at Golden Gate.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman