02/27/2004 12:00AM

Dubai program snatches stars from Big Cap


ARCADIA, Calif. - The lucrative Dubai World Cup program at Nad Al Sheba on March 27 is taking its toll on some of the major stakes at Santa Anita next weekend, including Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap and Sunday's $150,000 San Carlos Handicap.

Domestic Dispute and During, the first two finishers in the Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds on Feb. 7, are likely to pass the Big Cap in favor of starts in Dubai. Domestic Dispute will run in the $6 million Dubai World Cup, and During is being prepared for the $1 million Godolphin Mile.

Two other top older horses from California - Fleetstreet Dancer and Medaglia d'Oro - will pass the Big Cap in favor of the Dubai World Cup.

Our New Recruit, who finished third in the Palos Verdes Handicap on Feb. 1, will not start in the San Carlos but is probable for the $1 million Golden Shaheen Sprint over a straightaway six furlongs in Dubai. Cajun Beat, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint last October, heads the list of candidates for the Golden Shaheen.

As of Friday, Domestic Dispute was not certain for the Dubai World Cup, but trainer Paddy Gallagher was leaning toward that race.

Gallagher said he preferred to point for the World Cup because it is seven weeks after the Strub, which was Domestic Dispute's third start in a little more than seven weeks.

"I like the timing between the Strub and the World Cup," Gallagher said. "Obviously, it's a great purse and an interesting race. If the horse is doing good, it's a good race to give it our best shot."

During is trained by Bob Baffert, who has won two runnings of the Dubai World Cup - with Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001. But Baffert prefers the one-mile distance of the Godolphin Mile to the World Cup at 1 1/4 miles for During.

"He needs something to track," Baffert said. "The mile should be right up his alley."

During won his fourth stakes in the San Fernando Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 11. Last year, he won the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, the Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park, and the Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct.

Our New Recruit has yet to win a stakes but was second in the Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park last December.

Pleasantly Perfect the Big Cap favorite

Not all of the Dubai hopefuls based in Southern California are passing the major races next weekend.

Pleasantly Perfect, who is a candidate for the World Cup, will start as the favorite in the Big Cap. Trained by Richard Mandella, Pleasantly Perfect won his only start this year, the San Antonio Handicap on Jan. 31.

In the Big Cap, Pleasantly Perfect is expected to face Olmodavor, Royal Place, Saint Buddy, Sarava, Southern Image, Star Cross, and Toccet.

Star Cross, second to Pleasantly Perfect in the San Antonio, worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 at Santa Anita on Friday, the fastest of five recorded works at the distance. Trained by Darrell Vienna, Star Cross was ridden by Corey Nakatani, who has the mount in the Big Cap.

Sarafan starts year in Kilroe Mile

The Big Cap program also includes the $350,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf and the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes for 3-year-olds over a mile on dirt.

The Kilroe Mile probables are Buckland Manor, Designed for Luck, Golden Dragon, Irish Warrior, Sarafan, Singletary, Sweet Return, and Tsigane.

Sarafan, a winner of 9 of 36 starts and $2,390,271, is using the Kilroe as a prep to the $2 million Dubai Duty Free over about 1 1/8 miles at Nad Al Sheba on March 27.

Sarafan, a 7-year-old, has not started since finishing 17th in the Japan Cup last November. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Sarafan won the Brubaker Handicap at Del Mar last August and was second to Designed for Luck in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile last October.

Drysdale warned that Sarafan needs a workout this weekend to remain on schedule for the Kilroe. He said he would train Sarafan up to the Dubai race if Sarafan misses the Kilroe.

Lion Heart, the undefeated winner of the Hollywood Futurity, will be favored in the San Rafael Stakes against Castledale, Consecrate, Hosco, Imperialism, Lucky Pulpit, Quinton's Gold Rush, Spellbinder, and Toasted.

Bluesthestandard, the winner of the Palos Verdes Handicap, leads the probables for the San Carlos. Trained by Ted H. West, Bluesthestandard has won three stakes in the last year and was second in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Replay show gets late-night slot on Fox

The Santa Anita replay show will resume airing on Fox Sports Net in Southern California at 1:30 a.m. Pacific on March 7, track officials said. Although the time slot is an inconvenience, the program will present the replay show to a wider audience. The program will continue to air during prime time on KDOC (Channel 56) in the Los Angeles area.