06/08/2004 12:00AM

Ender's Shadow rising fast


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Front-runner Ender's Shadow will control the pace in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park, one of the three graded stakes on the Saturday card. Beyond dictating the tempo of the race, Ender's Shadow also will illustrate the potential benefits of turning a colt into a gelding.

A son of A.P. Indy, Ender's Shadow was well bred but poorly behaved. Trainer Jenine Sahadi explained why a colt by one of the world's top stallions just had to be gelded.

"He put one groom in the hospital and ripped off a piece of another one's ear," she said. "I didn't cut him because of the way he was running; I cut him because he was dangerous."

Beyond creating a safer workplace, the decision to castrate Ender's Shadow provided beneficial results on the racetrack. Ender's Shadow has been transformed from hazardous-to-handle, to loose-on-the-lead. That is where he will be in the $250,000 Californian at a 1 1/8 miles. Ender's Shadow has won 2 of 7 starts since he was gelded in July. In his last start he turned back repeated pace challenges before finishing second in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy.

"I think gelding definitely helped, and [new jockey Mick Ruis] gets along with him," Sahadi said. "You can't fight him; you have to give him his head."

Ender's Shadow has produced his three best races - all on the front end - since Ruis got aboard. Owned by Green Lantern Stable, Ender's Shadow has won 4 of 13 starts, and is part of a Californian field expected to include Buckland Manor, Choctaw Nation, Nose the Trade, Total Impact, and Wild and Wicked. A minor injury forced Publication to miss a workout, and he will skip the race.

Even the Scores tries turf

Mervyn LeRoy winner Even the Score will change surfaces Saturday, switching to turf for the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at a 1 1/4 miles. He worked five furlongs in 58.80 seconds on the Hollywood main track Monday, fastest of 28 works at the distance. "He did it pretty easy," trainer Vladimir Cerin said.

But why grass?

"It's a Grade 1, he's won three races on grass and more than a quarter-million," Cerin said.

The upset in the Mervyn LeRoy was just the second start for Even the Score since he was transferred to Cerin. "If he runs well on grass, it opens up more avenues for us down the road," he said.

Even the Score will be 117-pound co-highweight with Vangelis, a Group 2 winner from France scheduled to arrive Tuesday. Other possible starters include Continental Red, Continuously, and Just Wonder at 116 pounds; Irish Warrior at 115; and Bayamo, Musical Chimes, and Seinne at 113 pounds.

A small field is taking shape for the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks on Saturday. Expected runners include House of Fortune, Hollywood Story, Elusive Diva, M.A. Fox, and Class Above.

Pesci's foot abscess isn't major

Pesci was lame in the receiving barn Sunday after a runner-up finish as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Handicap. Fortunately, the problem was minor, and the lightly raced filly may be able to run July 11 in the Grade 1 Milady.

"She was noticeably off in the test barn, but X-rays were perfectly fine," trainer Wesley Ward said. "We pulled her shoes off; she popped an abscess in her right front."

By late Tuesday morning, Pesci's condition had improved, and though she favored her right front while walking outside the shed row, Ward expects the foot to heal in time to resume full training and make the Milady. Pesci, named for actor-owner Joe Pesci, has won 3 of 6 starts.

The Ward-trained Lifestyle bled while finishing fourth as the 2-5 favorite in an allowance Saturday at Belmont Park, and has returned to Ward's stable at Santa Anita. The trainer still hopes to run Lifestyle July 3 in the Grade 1 Triple Bend, a seven-furlong handicap that is an invitational. Lifestyle, purchased for $300,000 early this year at a dispersal sale, won his first two starts by a combined 23 1/4 lengths. Despite the Belmont race, 4-year-old Lifestyle remains an interesting Triple Bend possibility because the two sprinters who earned the highest Beyer Speed Figures of the year in California (114) - Bluesthestandard and Terrell - are out of serious training. Bluesthestandard has been turned out; Terrell does not have a published work since May 3.

Bear Fan, Ward's nine-length winner of the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap in track-record time on Saturday at Belmont, will remain in the East, with a long-range itinerary that includes the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Before she gets there, she will run in either the Princess Rooney at Calder or the A Gleam at Hollywood Park, followed by the Rancho Bernardo at Del Mar. The Rancho Bernardo would be her final start before the Breeders' Cup.

Moscow Burning eyes Beverly Hills

Moscow Burning, the California-bred filly who scored a front-running upset May 29 in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont Park, resumed training Tuesday at Santa Anita and will aim for the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap on June 27 at Hollywood.

Moscow Burning has won five races and $456,180 in 10 starts since trainer Jim Cassidy claimed her for $25,000 last August.