04/16/2002 12:00AM

Dubai trip didn't wilt these two sprinters


ARCADIA, Calif. - Echo Eddie and Men's Exclusive recovered so quickly from their trip to Dubai that both are considered probable starters Friday at Santa Anita in the $100,000 Valiant Pete Handicap for California-breds.

Echo Eddie finished second and Men's Exclusive fourth in the $2 million Golden Shaheen on March 23 at Nad Al Sheba. Ordinarily, a 16,000-mile round trip might knock out a horse, but both geldings bounced back without delay. Echo Eddie, assigned co-high weight of 120 pounds for the six-furlong Valiant Pete, worked a half-mile Tuesday in 49.40 seconds, and is on tilt.

"He's doing well, he came back great," assistant trainer Scott Chaney said. Echo Eddie finished a nose behind Caller One in the Golden Shaheen, while

9-year-old Men's Exclusive finished more than five lengths back in fourth place. This was the second time Men's Exclusive, trained by Wesley Ward, raced in the Golden Shaheen.

"Last year, I backed off on him and after a couple weeks he showed no signs of regressing," Ward said. "This year, I decided to come right back, and he's acting like he never went."

Men's Exclusive was assigned 119 pounds for the Valiant Pete. Other possible starters include Ceeband, 120; Full Moon Madness, 119; and Ride and Shine, 110.

Old Money has a chance to upset Santa Barbara

Golden Apples and Astra were assigned co-high weight of 121 pounds for the Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap on Saturday, a $250,000 turf race at 1 1/4 miles in which Golden Apples will start favored. At least six fillies and mares are expected to run, including potential upsetter Old Money, an Australian import.

The 5-year-old Old Money scored in an impressive U.S. debut Jan. 16 in a classified race, then ran third Feb. 18 in the Grade 2 Buena Vista at a mile. Trainer Ron McAnally believes the extra distance will benefit Old Money. "Her better races [in Australia] were long; this is a better distance for her than a mile," he said.

Old Money will be making her first start in two months, but McAnally said: "She's had several long works, and as a rule most Southern Hemisphere horses . . . the longer they are here, the better they get."

Old Money was assigned 116 pounds. Others expected are Blue Moon, 115; Desiraes My Candy, 114; and Polaire, 114. Potential Santa Barbara starter Keemoon is expected to race Sunday in the San Juan Capistrano, and Janet will await the Grade 3 Yerba Buena on May 18 at Golden Gate Fields.

Do hillside stats apply to marathon race?

Horseplayers who utilize trainer angles face a dilemma Sunday with 117-pound highweight Continental Red in the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap, which begins at the top of the Santa Anita hillside turf course. Continental Red's trainer, Ian Jory, holds an uncanny record this meet in downhill races - 6 for 13, and a $7.64 return on investment for each $2 win bet.

The San Juan, of course, begins at the top of the hill. The race does not end the first time past the finish line, however. At about 1 3/4 miles, San Juan runners have another mile to go after passing the wire the first time. The question is whether Jory's downhill stats apply to marathon races, or only to sprints.

A field of at least six is expected for one of the weaker editions of the San Juan. The favorite will be either San Luis Rey winner Continental Red or Carleton F. Burke winner Cagney, also assigned 117. Others expected are Keemoon and Ringaskiddy, 114; and Speedy Pick and Staging Post, 112.

* Jory's downhill stats will apply in the supporting stakes on Sunday. Jory nominated Macward and Gallant to the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap, a turf sprint at about 6 1/2 furlongs. Comebacker Swept Overboard has been assigned 123 pounds, followed by Nuclear Debate, 118; Casey Griffin, 117; Lake William, 117; Malabar Gold, 117; Astonished, 115; Macward, 115; and Gallant, 113.

* Locally based Irisheyesareflying and Reba's Gold are expected to ship to Lone Star for their next start, the $300,000 Texas Mile on April 27. Irisheyesareflying won the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap in his last start March 30 at Bay Meadows; Reba's Gold finished fourth in a sprint stakes at Santa Anita.

* Bring the Heat, a promising Cal-bred with 3 wins from 7 starts but a disappointing 10th in the Berkeley, has been turned out. Trainer Wesley Ward said the 5-year-old Bring the Heat will get a four-month break and return to training in autumn.

* Grey Memo, the Cal-bred who won the $1 million Godolphin Mile, is another who recovered well from his Dubai trip. Trouble is, there aren't any races in California for one-turn milers. Grey Memo has posted workouts of a half-mile and six furlongs since returning home, and though trainer Warren Stute said "we really don't have any plans for him," he acknowledged the Met Mile on May 27 at Belmont has been discussed.