08/04/2004 11:00PM

Elloluv looks to gain steam

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Elloluv will try to end a five-race losing streak dating back to April 2003 when she runs in Sunday's $300,000 Clement Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Elloluv was being walked back through the stables following a half-mile workout Thursday morning when jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. caught up with trainer Craig Dollase.

Elloluv had gone in 48 seconds, the first time that Valdivia had ridden the 4-year-old filly.

"She's just asking to be let loose," Valdivia said.

The chance will come in the $300,000 Clement Hirsch Handicap over 1 1/16 miles Sunday, when Elloluv starts against a strong field. Valdivia picked up the mount when Corey Nakatani opted to ride Rock Hard Ten in Sunday's Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Elloluv will be trying to end a five-race losing streak dating back to the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in April 2003 and join the list of top contenders for the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

"It's important that she takes a step forward," Dollase said. "It won't be easy."

Owned by Paul Reddam, Ellolov has made one start this year, finishing sixth as the favorite in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park on July 10. She was beaten 5 3/4 lengths by Dream of Summer, but grabbed her left quarter at the start, Dollase said.

"She didn't get to show her stuff and didn't get a lot out of it," Dollase said.

Within 10 days of that race, Elloluv was back in full training.

"I missed a little bit of time," Dollase said. "She has had three works over this track. Hopefully, it won't hinder us."

A winner of 4 of 12 starts and $1,221,475, Elloluv will be making her first start at Del Mar in the Grade 2 Clement Hirsch. The race drew eight runners, seven of whom are stakes winners.

Elloluv has run well in four starts at 1 1/16 miles. Over that distance, she was an upset winner of the 2002 Hollywood Starlet and finished second in the 2003 Santa Anita Oaks. Last fall, she finished second in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/16 miles but was disqualified to fourth for causing interference. She finished second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita.

In the Hirsch, Elloluv carried 117 pounds, two less than topweight Star Parade, who will be favored. Dollase says he hopes Elloluv can be close to Star Parade and challenge her in early stretch.

"She seems like she can do it," he said. "I think Star Parade has to be on the lead, and we won't be going with her. I think we'll be tracking the leader."

Total Impact works with blinkers off

Total Impact, the winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10, worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 on Thursday in preparation for the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 22.

Trainer Laura de Seroux timed Total Impact in 1:02.40. A 6-year-old, Total Impact worked without blinkers. He has worn them in his last five starts, a span that includes runner-up finishes in three stakes.

"I took the blinkers off because I wanted him to cruise around there," de Seroux said. "He went in 59 and three last week and I didn't want to see that again."

A winner of 5 of 18 starts and $1,159,588, Total Impact will be making his first start at Del Mar in the Pacific Classic. A Chilean import in late 2001, Total Impact has been sidelined during the last two Del Mar meetings.

There are at least six probable starters for the Pacific Classic, run at 1 1/4 miles. Aside from Total Impact, the candidates include Choctaw Nation, During, Even the Score, Olmodavor, and Pleasantly Perfect.

Last Sunday, Choctaw Nation and Pleasantly Perfect finished one-two in the $250,000 San Diego Handicap. The race marked Choctaw Nation's stakes debut and Pleasantly Perfect's first start since winning the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 27.

In the San Diego, Pleasantly Perfect contested the lead on the backstretch. Ridden by Mike Smith, Pleasantly Perfect fought for the lead until he pulled clear by 1 1/2 lengths in early stretch, but could not hold off Choctaw Nation, who won by three-quarters of a length.

"I don't think Pleasantly Perfect saw that horse coming," de Seroux said. "He probably loafed a little when he made the lead."

By prior arrangement, Smith will ride Total Impact in the Pacific Classic. Jerry Bailey has been booked to ride Pleasantly Perfect in the Pacific Classic and the Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

Injury may stall Even the Score

Even the Score is questionable for the Pacific Classic. The beaten favorite in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Even the Score missed a workout last weekend because of foot problems.

Even the Score, 6, must work this weekend to remain on schedule, trainer Vladimir Cerin said.

"If he works on Sunday, we'll be on schedule," Cerin said. "If not, we're out."

Cerin said Even the Score was scheduled to get new shoes Thursday.

"Every time we shoe him, we have a foot problem," he said. "I won't gallop him unless he's 100 percent. He needs two works."

Mulhall plans next for Imperialism

Imperialism, third in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness Stakes during the Triple Crown, breezed a half-mile in 50.40 seconds Thursday. Trainer Kristin Mulhall said Imperialism could start in the $400,000 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 6, but may pass in favor of turf stakes in the fall.

The Del Mar Derby candidates include Blackdoun, who made a flashy American debut winning a division of the Oceanside Stakes over a mile on turf July 21. Trained by Julio Canani, Blackdoun breezed five furlongs in 1:03.20 on turf Thursday.

Trainer Jim Cassidy plans to start the English import Place Cowboy in the Del Mar Derby. A winner of one of six starts, Place Cowboy was recently acquired by Margie Gould. In coming weeks, Place Cowboy will remain with trainer Jamie Osborne in England and ship to California a few days in advance of the Del Mar Derby.

Place Cowboy has never run beyond seven furlongs. He was second in a minor handicap at Newmarket earlier this summer.

Win opens doors for Sarafan

Aside from a victory in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap in 2002, Sarafan has given owner Gary Tanaka a tidy collection of trophies from minor handicaps at Del Mar.

Sarafan won the 2001 and 2003 Brubaker handicaps, and on Wednesday scored the sixth stakes win of his career in the $79,000 Escondido Handicap.

The victory left trainer Neil Drysdale considering the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 29 for Sarafan, a 7-year-old gelding.

"It was nice to see the old horse win," Drysdale said. "We thought this would be a confidence booster."

Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Sarafan stalked pacesetter Gene de Campeao to the end of the backstretch, rallied wide on the final turn, and won by 1 1/2 lengths. Part of a favored entry with Pellegrino, Sarafan ($3.40) finished 1 3/8 miles on turf in 2:12.92. Gene de Campeao held second, finishing a length in front of Outta Here in the field of six.

Sarafan has won 10 of 42 starts and $2,488,671. The restricted Escondido Handicap was his second start of the meeting, preceded by a seventh in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap on July 25.

Drysdale dismissed that result, saying that Sarafan was too far behind a modest pace and was unable to make up 10 lengths in the final half-mile.

"He came out of that race bucking," he said.