10/21/2003 11:00PM

Euros get a feel for Santa Anita


ARCADIA, Calif. - The Europeans, several of whom made their first local appearance since clearing quarantine, were the main focus of attention during training hours at Santa Anita on Wednesday. Among that group was L'Ancresse, who created the morning's biggest stir when she lost her exercise rider near the finish line and briefly ran loose.

New York-based trainers Todd Pletcher and Christophe Clement also sent their Breeders' Cup hopefuls to the track for the first time, doing so early to beat the oppressive heat that has plagued this area for the past week.


Clear, 64

Track fast; turf firm


Congaree turned in another aggressive gallop shortly after daybreak, once again pulling his rider right along as he wheeled around the track at a strong and steady pace.

Dynever was also out at dawn for his first look at the track and appeared eager while going along in his distinctive style with his head bowed near his chest. He swerved momentarily coming out of the quarter pole turn but recovered quickly, then went about his business without any further problems.


Adoration (four furlongs in 46.88 seconds). Came out after the second renovation break and worked crisply while under a loose rein, posting fractions of 22.94 and 34.85 before galloping out five-eighths in 59.98.

Juvenile Fillies

Ashado, the third and last of the Pletcher horses to train, made a good appearance while merely jogging once around the track along the outside rail.


Oasis Dream visited the turf course shortly before 8 a.m. and turned in another impressive-looking gallop. Went a bit farther than the previous morning and continues to be unfazed by his new surroundings.

Six Perfections, a jet-black filly, is one of the easiest horses to spot on the track. She walked, then cantered a very easy half-mile over the main track while tossing her head about looking to do more. Did not lather up like several of the other Euro invaders their first time over the course.

Refuse to Bend galloped in company on the dirt with his 2-year-old stablemate Relaxed Gesture. Neither was asked to do too much, and Refuse to Bend certainly had the look of a turf horse with his high leg action.

Designed for Luck turned in another excellent gallop and continues to train well for his race.


Shake You Down was out on the track shortly before daybreak and appeared to show no ill effects from Monday's very fast half-mile workout.

Filly and Mare Turf

Dimitrova (seven furlongs in 1:31.89 over firm turf). Broke off seven to eight lengths behind her stablemate under a long hold, loped along through some very slow early fractions, then picked up the pace under mild urging down the stretch, getting to within two lengths of her partner at the finish line. Posted fractions of 28.26, 53.83, and 1:18.84 while working around the dogs out past the middle of the course. Continues to train nicely since her arrival in Southern California.

Islington (quarter-mile in 25.80 on the turf). Seemed quite a bit more relaxed than the previous morning, galloping around easily to the final turn before blowing out a sharp quarter-mile down the stretch. Does not appear to be overly affected by the warm weather.

Voodoo Dancer, a little package of dynamite, was given a good bit of time to just stand and look around upon entering the track following the second break then pulled hard while galloping once around the main course.

L'Ancresse caused some commotion when she ducked a bit approaching the finish line, causing her rider to loose his balance and pitch out of the saddle. Ran loose briefly before turning right back into the grasp of her pony rider.

Yesterday went in company with L'Ancresse and completed her gallop without incident.


Minister Eric (three furlongs in 35.42). Worked a crisp three furlongs, completing his final eighth in 11.71, and quickly pulled up while not asked for a strong gallop-out.

Relaxed Gesture went in company with his older stablemate Refuse to Bend, and was the more skittish of the pair, although he did not appear to get overly heated.


High Chaparral visited the track for the first time, along with the other Aidan O'Brien runners, and was lathered up just a bit upon completing his gallop.

Falbrav came out earlier than the previous morning and appeared much more relaxed galloping over the turf, although he did go the entire trip on his left lead. Visited both the starting gate and paddock and showed no signs of washing out as he did on Tuesday.

Bright Sky, a wispy little filly, did little more than canter and gallop slowly over the main track and looks like she might be a bit beyond her peak at this late juncture of the season.

All times by Mike Welsch unless otherwise noted.


Cloudy, 40's

Inner turf: Good

Sulamani (Turf) went six furlongs in 1:15.88, according to Belmont clockers. Sulamani worked an aggressive six furlongs over the inner turf course under brightening early-morning skies and with a slight wind blowing down the stretch to the finish line. Belmont clockers caught Sulamani's last quarter in 23.87 seconds, a time that squared with Tom Albertrani, the New York-based trainer for Sulamani's owner, Godolphin Racing. The dogs on the inner turf course were set up approximately 20 feet from the inner rail.

"It was really the perfect work," Albertrani said. "Lately he's been working on dirt, but he really gets more out of his works when he's on the grass."

Under exercise rider Gerry Moylon, Sulamani broke off from the six-furlong pole. He galloped through the first quarter in 25.87 and the second quarter in 26.14, before finishing up under Moylan's aggressive urging.

"He felt great," Moylan said.

Saeed bin Suroor, the European-based trainer for Godolphin, was also on hand for the work. He called the work "a good blowout" and said that Sulamani has always been easy to train. He said he had no doubts about Sulamani's ability to handle the firm turf at Santa Anita.

Sulamani was scheduled to begin the cross-country journey to Santa Anita at noon with Godolphin's Filly and Mare Turf entrant, Mezzo Soprano, who galloped early on Wednesday morning.

- Matt Hegarty