11/26/2004 12:00AM

Distance question hovers over Blackdoun


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It was the tale of two trips in the Del Mar Derby for Blackdoun and Fast and Furious. It was the best of times for Blackdoun, who got through inside and rallied for his third straight victory. It was the worst of times for Fast and Furious, who ran into traffic on the turn while wide, then rallied belatedly for fifth.

Those two colts, along with Del Mar Derby third-place finisher Laura's Lucky Boy and East Coast invaders Good Reward and Timo, are among 13 3-year-olds entered in Sunday's Grade 1, $500,000 , the last of six stakes that make up Hollywood Park's terrific Autumn Turf Festival.

Blackdoun is the most accomplished of the local runners. He had a summer to remember at Del Mar, sweeping that track's three grass stakes for 3-year-olds. In his most-recent start, he finished seventh in the Breeders' Cup Mile, a deceptively good race considering he was marooned in post 13, ran into a roadblock on the final turn, and might have been compromised further by a rain-softened course.

"It was a much better race than it looks on paper," said trainer Julio Canani. "He almost went down at the quarter pole. He didn't like the track. It was too soft."

Of the major contenders, Blackdoun drew best, landing post 3 in the 1 1/4-mile grass race. The great unknown for Blackdoun is the distance. He has never raced farther than 1 1/8 miles, and milers often do not close as brilliantly when asked to go farther.

"I don't know," Canani said when asked if he thought Blackdoun could handle 10 furlongs. "He's never run a mile and a quarter. We're gambling there, though. If I know everything, I shouldn't be training horses. I should be gambling."

Fast and Furious will be a better price than Blackdoun and seems better suited to the trip, having raced 1 1/4 miles or farther in five of his seven starts. He also has a right to improve off his lone run in this country in the Del Mar Derby. He is stuck in post 11, however, so he will have to work out a trip. He suffered a setback after the Del Mar Derby that has left trainer Ron McAnally apprehensive over Fast and Furious's level of fitness.

McAnally said Fast and Furious had a problem with the heel of a front foot.

"It was all rotted out," he said. "That's why he hasn't run since the Del Mar Derby. We took a big chunk out, but we couldn't even put a patch on it. He missed quite a bit of time."

To make up for it, McAnally has galloped Fast and Furious about 1 3/4 miles most mornings. He also put him on an accelerated work schedule and trained him in a bar shoe.

"He's getting the bar shoe taken off right now," McAnally said Friday morning. "He's training really good. Hopefully he's up to the task."

Laura's Lucky Boy followed up his third-place finish in the Del Mar Derby with a second-place finish in the Oak Tree Derby. He won twice on the Hollywood turf last summer, including the Will Rogers Stakes.

Timo is making his first start since June, when he won the Kent Breeders' Cup Stakes at Delaware. A foot abscess kept him out of action most of the summer, but if he runs back to his best races, he can win. His best performance might have been a second-place finish to Artie Schiller in the Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park.