08/31/2003 11:00PM

Derby turf prospects prep on dirt

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Bis Repetitas and Senor Swinger, two colts expected to meet in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Del Mar Derby, completed their serious training for that turf race with works on the main track Monday morning at Del Mar.

Bis Repetitas, trained by Bobby Frankel, covered five furlongs in 1:01.40, a shade faster than Senor Swinger, who was timed in 1:02 for trainer Bob Baffert. Corey Nakatani is scheduled to ride Bis Repetitas, with Jose Valdivia Jr. on Senor Swinger.

Others expected for the 1 1/8-mile derby include Californian (Victor Espinoza the rider), Devious Boy (Julie Krone), Fairly Ransom (Alex Solis), Outta Here (Tyler Baze), Singletary (Patrick Valenzuela), and possibly Sweet Return.

Although both major stakes here this weekend are on turf, few horses used the turf for works on Monday. Just eight horses worked on the grass, including Magic Mission, who is scheduled to run in Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap. She was timed in 1:05 for five furlongs while breezing well outside the orange cones, known as dogs. Exercise rider Marcelino Olguin was up for trainer Neil Drysdale.

Garden in the Rain, another possibility for the Palomar, was timed in 52.20 seconds for a half-mile for trainer Jeff Mullins.

The Palomar is coming up with a small field. Such notables as Affluent, Megahertz, Tates Creek, and Voodoo Dancer all are passing the race. Monday morning, trainer John Sadler said he too was going to bypass the race with Belleski. Sadler said he planned on sprinting Belleski in the Grade 3, $100,000 Ken Maddy Handicap on Santa Anita's hillside turf course on Oct. 11 during the Oak Tree meeting.

"She's graded stakes placed. She needs to get a win," Sadler said.

Asked if the condition of the turf at Del Mar also played into his decision, Sadler replied, "Yes. Have you looked at it?"

A subsequent full-lap tour of the course revealed it to be chewed up and uneven in several places, most notably inside the final sixteenth of the homestretch, at the three-eighths pole, near the seven-eighths pole, and near the five-furlong pole, at the point where turf sprints begin. In addition, the course was extremely wet near the three-furlong pole, but much drier near the quarter pole and just past the seven-furlong pole.

Halfbridled vs. Victory U. S. A. rematch likely

Bob Baffert on Sunday had a suggestion for Richard Mandella, a day after Mandella's filly Halfbridled easily defeated Baffert's 2-year-old Victory U. S. A. in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante.

"They should take her to New York," Baffert said.

Sorry, Bob.

Both fillies are on course for a rematch in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 28, a key prep for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 25.

While Halfbridled remained unbeaten in two starts, Baffert was left trying to explain Victory U. S. A.'s third-place finish.

Unable to make the lead, she was passed in the final strides by Hollywood Story, a maiden.

"She's better than that," Baffert said. "We'll regroup. She really didn't relax."

Halfbridled stayed on the rail throughout and pulled clear to win by five lengths. Like Halfbridled, Victory U. S. A. was making her stakes debut after beating maidens in her first start.

$2.7 million 2-year-old third in debut

Baffert had mixed results in a maiden race for 2-year-olds over 5 1/2 furlongs. Consecrate, a Silver Charm colt he trains for Jim McIngvale, rallied on the inside to win by six lengths in 1:04.32.

The race also marked the career debut of Diamond Fury, who was purchased for a record $2.7 million at the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training. Owned by Charles Fipke, and trained by Baffert, Diamond Fury finished third, 8 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

"He just needed it very badly," Baffert said. "He was close and emptied out."

Baffert said Diamond Fury will not start until the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita, which begins on Sept. 28. At this point, a start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile seems unlikely.

"I'm in no hurry with him," Baffert said. "He popped an abscess in a foot three days before the race. We needed to get a race into him."

Consecrate could make the BC Juvenile. He will make his next start in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park on Sept. 13, a race Baffert won last year with eventual BC Juvenile winner Vindication.

"He wants to go long," Baffert said of Consecrate. "Silver Charms need racing. The more you run them the better they get."

Krone-P. Val match race details finalized

The $50,000 match race on Sunday between Julie Krone and Patrick Valenzuela will be run over 1 1/16 miles and match two recent maiden winners - Chester's Choice and Oopstheregoes. The mounts will be drawn on Thursday in an event in the walking ring.

Valenzuela rode both to victories in their last starts. Chester's Choice, trained by Summer Mayberry for Robert Rupert, won a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 18. Oopstheregoes, trained by Baffert for McIngvale, won a one-mile maiden race on July 30.

Each horse will be eligible to be claimed for $200,000. The purse will be split $35,000 for first and $15,000 for second.

The match race will be the fourth race on Sunday's 10-race program and will feature win betting. It will also be offered as part of a daily double and pick three.

Desormeaux changes mind

Kent Desormeaux will ride this weekend at Del Mar and will not travel to Japan as he previously indicated, according to his agent, Brad Pegram.

Desormeaux last week said that through September he intended to use the final month of a three-month riding license in Japan to take advantage of that country's lucrative purses. After riding in Japan last weekend, Desormeaux said to Pegram that he wanted to stay at Del Mar through the conclusion of the meeting on Sept. 10.

Rash of injuries to horses

Three horses were vanned off Sunday.

In the third race for maiden claimers, Racy Rachel, who finished seventh, and Dom's Star, who did not finish, were vanned off with tendon injuries, track officials said.

In the fourth race, Do Whats Right finished second in a sprint for $62,500 claimers, but was reported to have suffered a ruptured suspensory, according to stewards. Do Whats Right was claimed by Baffert.

* Thames, the third-place finisher in a one-mile race for $28,000 to $32,000 claimers in Sunday's ninth race, was the subject of 21 claims. A 3-year-old gelding, Thames was claimed by a partnership and will be trained by Dean Greenman.

* Siphonizer, a candidate for the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 10, worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 on Sunday. The hopefuls for the seven-furlong Futurity include Cooperation, Gulf of Mexico, Listenforthetruth, Minister Eric, and Perfect Moon, a two-time stakes winner this summer.

* Touch of the Blues, preparing for the Atto Mile at Woodbine on Sept. 14, worked a half-mile on turf in 54.40 seconds on Monday morning for Drysdale.

* Don'tsellmeshort, scheduled to run in the $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for 2-year-olds on Sept. 8, sped five furlongs in 59.60 seconds on Monday.

* Fordell Fierce, who formerly trained in northern California, has taken over as the jockey agent for Ron Warren Jr. Although Warren rides regularly in the Bay Area, Fierce was at Del Mar on Monday morning, visiting local trainers.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen