07/31/2002 11:00PM

Eight B.C. preps in one week

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Eight graded stakes that are preps to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park on Oct. 26 are part of the first week of the five-week Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting that runs from Oct. 2 to Nov. 3.

Among the eight stakes, the two preps for 2-year-olds have undergone changes in distance and purse. The Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes and the Grade 2 Oak Leaf Stakes have been cut in value from $250,000 to $200,000 and extended from a mile to 1 1/16 miles. They both were run at a mile from 1997 to 2001.

The meeting opens with the $200,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 2. There are four Breeders' Cup preps on Oct. 5 and three on Oct. 6.

Minor changes have been made to other stakes. The California Sires Stakes program is defunct, replaced by two $75,000 races for 2-year-old California-breds over seven furlongs - the Cover Gal Stakes for fillies on Oct. 3 and the Cavonnnier Stakes on Oct. 4.

The final week of the meeting is highlighted by the $1.325 million California Cup with 10 races for statebreds. This will be the first year for the $100,000 California Cup Distance Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles on turf, which replaces a $50,000 starter handicap.

Closing day features two stakes. The richest of them is the $200,000 Las Palmas Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles on turf, a purse reduced by $50,000.