08/01/2002 12:00AM

Eight B.C. preps in one week


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.