05/05/2005 11:00PM

Dime superfectas coming soon

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Benoit & Associates
The promising Fusaichi Samurai, a winner of his lone start, is back in serious training.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Hollywood Park has received approval from the California Horse Racing Board to begin offering dime superfectas. The discounted bet could be launched as quickly as Wednesday, if the automatic tote machines can be altered to accept dime wagers.

According to general manager Eual Wyatt, there is concern that Scientific Games, which operates the tote system, may not be able to put a dime designation on the self-service betting machines by Wednesday. Tests were scheduled after racing on Saturday and Sunday, Wyatt said.

A delay in software problems would result in a likely postponement, Wyatt said.

"It's our intention to start on Wednesday," Wyatt said. "If it doesn't work on the machines, then depending on what they say, I think we will wait. Hopefully we will get it to work."

Dime superfectas have grown in popularity this year, having been offered at Hawthorne, Keeneland, and Sam Houston Race Park. California bettors have bet dime superfectas only through simulcasting in recent weeks. There are indications the bets have been popular, Wyatt said.

"Just on the imports, it was pretty strong on transactions, not dollar wise," Wyatt said. "We have done some informal polling at the mutuel window and 19 of 20 say they like it."

A less-expensive superfecta is likely to attract interest from bettors on a budget as well as current superfecta players. By knocking the price down to a dime, superfecta bettors accustomed to playing $1 units are likely to avoid the tax ramifications, since 10 cent superfectas are less likely to pay 300-1 or more, which attracts the attention of the Internal Revenue Service.

Fusaichi Samurai prepares for comeback

Fusaichi Samurai, once considered a top hope for the Kentucky Derby before being sidelined by injury, is nearing a comeback.

Friday at Hollywood Park, Fusaichi Samurai worked six furlongs in 1:14.60. He is nearing his second start, having scored an impressive maiden win by two lengths over 6 1/2 furlongs last December.

In January, Drysdale said that Fusaichi Samurai had suffered a pulled muscle and was taken off the Triple Crown trail. So far, there have been no setbacks in the comeback, Drysdale said.

Friday, Fusaichi Samurai worked in company with a stablemate. Breaking off two lengths behind, Fusaichi Samurai circled his workmate on the turn and took the lead in midstretch.

"He's coming along slowly and nicely," Drysdale said. "He's done things very easily."

Drysdale said he has no plans for Fusaichi Samurai. "I haven't gotten that far," he said.

There are three graded stakes for 3-year-olds at the spring-summer meeting - the $150,000 Laz Barrera Stakes over seven furlongs on May 21, the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on June 18, and the $400,000 Swaps Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on July 9.

Owned by Fusao Sekiguchi of Japan, Fusaichi Samurai was purchased for $4.5 million at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale.

Murray Memorial coming up strong

There are three graded stakes on next Saturday's program, a card led by $350,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf.

The candidates include Pellegrino, the winner of the Hollywood Turf Cup last December, and T.H. Approval, who won the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap last month at Santa Anita. Other probable starters are Continental Red, Deputy Lad, Exterior, One Off, Runaway Dancer, Sarafan, Stanley Park, and Vangelis.

The undercard features two $150,000 races - the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap over 1 1/16 miles and the Grade 3 Los Angeles Times Handicap over six furlongs.

The Mervyn LeRoy, a prep to the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup in July, is expected to include Ace Blue, Anziyan Royalty, Awesome Dividend, Borrego, Lava Man, Outta Here, and Perfect Moon.

The Los Angeles Times Handicap will include Areyoutalkintome, Forest Grove, and Shadow of Illinois, who won the San Simeon Handicap on turf at Santa Anita on April 18.

Drysdale separates turf stars

Drysdale is breaking up the team of King of Happiness and Red Fort, the first two finishers of the $107,200 Inglewood Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf on April 30.

King of Happiness, who won the Inglewood by a nose, is bound for the $350,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile on May 30. King of Happiness was fourth in the 2004 Shoemaker Mile.

Red Fort, who rallied from last to just miss, will stretch out to 1 1/4 miles on turf in the $350,000 Charles Whittingham Handicap on June 11.

Bully Bones gets vacation

Bully Bones, the sharp winner of a maiden race here on April 23, has been turned out because of sore shins, trainer David La Croix said.

Bully Bones scored a half-length win in her debut over 4 1/2 furlongs at odds of 37-1, finishing in a quick 51.31 seconds.

"It was a good time," La Croix said. "She will probably be out until Del Mar."

Ramatuelle ailing

Bad luck seems to be following the promising mare Ramatuelle. Twice in the last month, she has missed starts in which she figured to play a major role.

Last month, Santa Anita failed to fill the restricted Santa Lucia Handicap. Earlier this week, Ramatuelle was found to have mucus in the lungs after a workout. The incident prevented her from starting in Saturday's Hawthorne Handicap.

Unbeaten in five starts - three in Chile and two in California, Ramatuelle was trained by Bruce Headley until last week when owner Jess Jackson moved his horses out of Headley's stable and sent them to several trainers. Ramatuelle is now trained by John Sadler.

Desormeaux loses agent

Harry Hacek has resigned as jockey Kent Desormeaux's agent, Hacek said on Friday.

Desormeaux rode this weekend at Churchill Downs, but has ridden in Japan since the end of the Santa Anita meeting in mid-April. Hacek said Desormeaux intends to ride in Japan and Hollywood Park in coming weeks, and said the rider's absence from Southern California was the leading factor in his decision.