04/18/2002 11:00PM

Etc. . . .


First-time blinkers can help Grandera give Godolphin another World Series Racing Championship victory Sunday in the $1.8 million Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin. A 4-year-old son of Grand Lodge, he will face Japanese invaders Agnes Digital and Eishin Preston in this 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Group 1 event, as well as Okawango, a son of Kingmambo trained by Criquette Head-Maarek. . . . Keeneland announced Friday that it will change the format of its September yearling sale beginning this year. Individual consignments to the select sessions will be divided equally between the two days rather than selling on one or the other day, and the sale also will have one dark day after the first four days of selling to allow incoming buyers time to examine horses selling later in the auction. . . . At the third under-tack preview for Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's April 22-25 juvenile sale in Florida, a Ponche-Operate Quick colt posted the fastest three-eighth-mile work Friday, finishing in 34 seconds. A pair of colts - an Appealing Skier-Marque of Vogue colt, and a Copper Man-Penny Hooch colt - had the day's best quarter-mile time of 21.40 seconds, and six juveniles shared the best eighth-mile time of 10.40 seconds. . . . John C. Ertmann, a former executive with NBC Sports and Major League Soccer, has been hired as the president and chief operating officer of Equibase, the company announced Friday. Ertmann, an attorney, will take over the day-to-day responsibilities at Equibase from Alan Marzelli, the company's chairman.