10/20/2003 11:00PM

Europeans come out in California sun

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SANTA ANITA

Clear, 68

Main track: Fast

Tuesday morning featured the first appearance on the racetrack for most of the European horses, whose ability to adjust to the unseasonably warm weather could be a major factor on Breeders' Cup Day. As an accommodation to the Europeans, the training schedule was restructured to allow horses on the grass course at 7:30 a.m., more than two hours earlier than usual, at which time the temperature was still a moderate 68 degrees.

With most of the New York and Kentucky shippers either flying or preparing to travel to California within the next 24 hours, and most of the locally based runners having already gotten in their final major preps, only five horses worked on Tuesday. Three of those workouts took place at Santa Anita, with one apiece at Hollywood Park and Monmouth Park.

Classic

Congaree was back on the track for the first time since Sunday's workout, galloping one mile shortly after 7 a.m. Congaree was on his toes, eager to perform, and had his exercise rider reaching for a little more hold to keep him from getting too aggressive leaving the 5 1/2-furlong pole. Made a good appearance and showed no ill effects from a recent foot injury.

Distaff

Elloluv (four furlongs in 49.40 seconds). Broke off at the three-furlong pole with jockey Corey Nakatani aboard and worked an easy half-mile out to the seven-furlong pole while under no discernible pressure. Posted fractions of 11.92, 24.92, and 36.54. It was a similar move to her final work before finishing second in the Lady's Secret Handicap here last month.

Got Koko (five furlongs in 1:03, according to track clockers). Worked under the cloak of darkness immediately after the track opened for training at 4:45 a.m.

Mile

Oasis Dream made a very good first impression, galloping once around the turf course accompanied by a stablemate. Did not seem to be bothered as much by the new surroundings or the warmer weather as some of his fellow Euro invaders, who got noticeably hot in their first trips over the track. Maintained a strong and steady pace behind his mate, with the only noticeable drawback that he remained on his left lead throughout the entire gallop.

Sprint

Yankee Gentleman (three furlongs in 37.40 seconds). Was set loose by trainer John Shirreffs, aboard the stable pony, right at the half-mile pole, but did not really get into gear until approaching the three-furlong pole. After that he worked an easy and comfortable three-eighths, posting fractions of 11.90 and 25.15 before galloping out in 50.94. Was never asked for any speed in what appeared to be little more than a maintenance work four days out from his race.

Filly and Mare Turf

Dimitrova had an active and productive morning, jogging a mile accompanied by a pony before breaking away and galloping a strong 1 1/4 miles shortly after the second renovation break. Was scheduled to breeze over the turf course on Wednesday morning.

Islington spent quite a bit of time on the racetrack. Walked the wrong way from the quarter-mile chute to the six-furlong pole on the main track before entering the turf course. Positioned about three lengths behind a stablemate, she eagerly galloped a mile on the grass. Got so aggressive around the clubhouse turn that she actually broke into an impromptu breeze, covering consecutive furlongs from the seven-eighths to the five-eighths pole in 13 seconds and change before coming back to hand in the run down the backstretch. Seems to be a bit of a high-strung filly, although she did not get quite as hot as she did the previous morning.

Turf

Falbrav, a very powerful, muscular-looking individual, took a slow walk the wrong way around the main track accompanied by a pony while making his first appearance since clearing quarantine on Monday. Got progressively hotter as he continued along toward the paddock, breaking out in a noticeable lather on both his neck and kidneys.

The Tin Man turned in a strong, aggressive gallop over the main track.

Bright Sky was another of the Europeans to make a first visit to the track, and, like many of the others, she appeared to be a bit on edge while playing around a little, trying to get adjusted to the new surroundings.

All works timed by Mike Welsch except where otherwise noted.

MONMOUTH PARK

Clear, 40's

Main track: Fast

Valid Video (four furlongs in 49.40 seconds, according to track clockers). Went a slow opening quarter-mile, then came home his final quarter in under 23 seconds, according to trainer Dennis Manning.

HOLLYWOOD PARK

Clear, 68

Main track: Fast

Irish Warrior (four furlongs in 52 seconds). The winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 31 breezed a half-mile on the main track for the Mile under exercise rider Bruno Delgadillo, his regular work rider.

Trainer Wally Dollase said that the workout was "all he needs. I didn't want to go too fast."

Irish Warrior showed a remarkable rally to win the Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf. During the summer, he was third in the Grade 2 American and Grade 1 Eddie Read handicaps over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

- Steve Andersen