06/18/2007 11:00PM

Designed for Luck back for more at 10


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Designed for Luck just won't go away, and that is perfectly fine with trainer Vladimir Cerin.

At the remarkable age of 10, Designed for Luck is on the verge of his first start since the fall of 2005, having overcome an injury discovered when he was in Hong Kong for a scheduled start in December of that year.

Judging from his comebacks in the past, Designed for Luck may still be a factor at his advanced age.

"I'm just happy to have him," Cerin said. "He's not happy on the farm. He loves being on the racetrack."

Owned by David and Holly Wilson, Designed for Luck has been plagued by injuries. He suffered a hock injury in 2002 when he was already established as a leading turf miler in California. He came back to win the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile in 2004, but was sidelined later that year by a suspensory injury.

The injuries have kept Designed for Luck on the sidelines frequently. He has not made more than four starts in a year since 2000.

Designed for Luck's only start in 2005 was a second to Singletary in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile. The Hong Kong injury - to muscle fibers his left hind leg, Cerin said - left him sidelined for a year before he went back into training last winter.

"It's a short layoff," Cerin said last weekend. "He went to Hong Kong, but he didn't run. He stall-walked the whole time and hurt himself. He didn't like China."

Designed for Luck has won 10 of 27 starts and $965,500, not bad for a $62,500 claim by Wilson in 1999. He is still well remembered as the disqualified winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November 2000, on Cerin's 46th birthday. Designed for Luck was demoted from first to fifth for causing interference in the stretch.

Cerin has yet to chose a race for Designed for Luck's latest comeback, but he does plan to start the gelding during the Del Mar meeting, which runs from July 18 to Sept. 5. Through Tuesday, Designed for Luck has had eight workouts this year, including seven furlongs on June 14.

Cerin said he is reluctant to run Designed for Luck on Hollywood Park's turf course before the spring-summer meeting ends on July 15.

"It gets a little chewed up at the end of the meeting," he said.

Designed for Luck's attitude tells Cerin that the gelding is glad to be back.

"He squealed coming off the van," he said. "Not many people have a 10-year-old they're looking forward to running."

Different results in debuts

On the other end of the age spectrum, Cerin started a pair of promising 2-year-olds last weekend - Leonides, the winner of a maiden race on Saturday, and Sayit, a filly who finished a troubled third in her career debut on Sunday.

Leonides won a maiden special weight race over 5 1/2 furlongs by 1o1/4 lengths on Saturday in his career debut. The colt rallied from fifth to take the lead in the stretch.

Cerin said that Leonides will be pointed for the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity over seven furlongs Sept. 5, with a prep race likely. One logical spot is the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 12.

"I knew he could run, but I didn't know if he could put it all together," Cerin said.

Sayit finished third behind Set Play, a filly trained by Peter Miller.

Miller, based at San Luis Rey Downs, has won three races for 2-year-olds this year.

Miller described the success of his 2-year-old division as "unbelievable."

Set Play could return in the $100,000 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over six furlongs June 30, Miller said.

"It's a little quick back, but she wasn't fully extended," Miller said.

Track lifts ban

Hollywood Park lifted a ban last week on horses based in Northern California. The horses were not allowed on the grounds because a horse tested positive for the equine herpesvirus at Bay Meadows earlier this month.

Hollywood Park enacted the ban on its own, and no official quarantine was mandated by the California Horse Racing Board. Only one horse was believed to have been infected at Bay Meadows, a filly that was later transported to the University of California at Davis for testing, which confirmed the presence of the virus. No other horses were infected by the virus, resulting in the decision to relax the ban.

Horses from Northern California were entered to race at Hollywood Park on Wednesday and Thursday.