04/05/2004 11:00PM

Desormeaux may add Hall to resume


ARCADIA, Calif. - Kent Desormeaux has accumulated nearly every milestone available to an American jockey since his career began in 1986.

He has won two Kentucky Derbies, three Eclipse Awards, and led the nation's riders in wins for three consecutive years, from 1987-89. His 598 victories in 1989 remain a single-season mark.

One of the few accomplishments missing, induction into the Hall of Fame, could happen this year. Earlier this week, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame announced that Desormeaux, Jose Santos, Eddie Maple, and Randy Romero were on the ballot for the 2004 class.

The winner will be announced in late May, with a ceremony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in August.

"I'm honored," Desormeaux said between workers on Tuesday at Santa Anita. "You've got to pick up the numbers to be nominated and have the character. Hopefully, I can win that this year."

Desormeaux, 34, said that induction into the Hall of Fame does not cross the mind of a young rider, but is an accomplishment that is realized much later in a career.

"When you're a kid, even the Derby seems so far-fetched," he said. "When you're starting, you want to win races on your local circuit, wherever that is. For me, it was Evangeline Downs."

Through Sunday, Desormeaux was sixth in the standings at Santa Anita with 42 wins. He is likely to finish in that position, since he trails fifth-place Mike Smith by seven wins.

Last year, Desormeaux left California in the spring to ride in Japan. This spring, he said, there is a chance he could have a mount in the Japan Derby, but he plans to ride primarily at Hollywood Park during the spring and summer, mainly because of his alliance with trainer Neil Drysdale.

"Mr. Drysdale's horses are in good order, and that's the main reason I'm staying in America," he said.

As of Tuesday, Desormeaux was still searching for a Kentucky Derby mount. He did not ride in the Santa Anita Derby last Saturday. This weekend, while other circuits are running Kentucky Derby preps, he will stay at Santa Anita and ride in the turf stakes for 3-year-olds.

Desormeaux said he does not mind not having a mount with more than three weeks remaining to the race.

"It might be the spot to be," he said. "There are some awful nice critters out there that might need a rider."

No Kentucky Oaks for Yearly Report

Trainer Bob Baffert confirmed Tuesday that the graded-stakes winner Yearly Report will not start in the Kentucky Oaks on April 30 but will be pointed for the $200,000 Melair Stakes for California-breds at Hollywood Park on April 24.

Baffert said the absence of a two-turn race in recent weeks for Yearly Report influenced the decision. Yearly Report has not started since winning the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Breeders' Cup Stakes at seven furlongs on Jan. 19.

Yearly Report was scheduled to start in the one-mile Sunland Park Oaks on March 27 but was scratched after tying up.

Tuesday, Yearly Report worked a half-mile in 47.60 seconds.

The Melair is run at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-old California-bred fillies.

Meanwhile, Baffert said that Class Above, the winner of the Bourbonette Stakes at Turfway Park on March 20, will be trained up to the Kentucky Oaks. She worked seven furlongs in 1:23.40 on Tuesday.

Valdivia switches agents

Jockey Jose Valdivia, who rode Castledale to a victory in the Santa Anita Derby, has switched agents. Earlier this week, he fired Tom Knust and hired Brian Beach.

Valdivia and Beach worked together in the late 1990's. Beach also represents Julie Krone, who is currently not riding while she recovers from injuries she suffered in a spill at Hollywood Park in December.

Valdivia said the decision to part with Knust had been considered in recent weeks.

"I thought the needed chemistry wasn't there for the two of us," he said. "Brian is a guy that I used to have as an agent. We did real well together. I think he could be the guy to get me in the national spotlight."

Valdivia has emerged from a slump in recent weeks after losing 73 consecutive races earlier this year.

Aside from the Santa Anita Derby, Valdivia won recent stakes aboard Meteor Storm in the San Luis Rey Stakes on March 20 and McCann's Mojave in the Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap on March 28.

Valdivia and Knust had worked together since last fall. Through Tuesday, Valdivia was 16th in the nation in purse earnings with $2,117,577.

"He said he wanted to make a change," Knust said. "It was a surprise to me. I made a lot of money with Jose in a short period of time."

Lucky Pulpit headed back to turf

Lucky Pulpit, who finished last of seven in the Santa Anita Derby, will be turned out for two weeks and pointed for a turf campaign later this year, trainer Clifford Sise said.

Lucky Pulpit has yet to win a stakes, but was second in the Santa Catalina Stakes on Jan. 17. He followed with an eighth in the San Rafael Stakes before the disappointing race in the Santa Anita Derby.

"He'll be freshened up and we'll go on the grass at Hollywood Park," Sise said.

Lucky Pulpit placed in two turf stakes last year, including a third behind Santa Anita Derby winner Castledale in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes last fall at Hollywood Park.

Flores to appeal suspension

Jockey David Flores intends to appeal a five-day suspension for causing interference in the final furlong of the Santa Anita Derby, according to his agent, Jim Pegram.

Flores rode Rock Hard Ten, who was disqualified from second to third after interfering with Imperialism. The suspension was to begin Friday.

* Pomeroy, second in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 20 in his 2004 debut, breezed six furlongs in 1:14.60 on Tuesday. Trainer Patrick Biancone said Pomeroy will start in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 17.

* A dinner honoring retired Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye and Laffit Pincay Jr. on Monday raised $70,000 for the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation. The foundation provides college scholarships for children of backstretch employees.