04/21/2003 12:00AM

Excessivepleasure goes for Gold


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Battle-tested in two rich stakes at Sunland Park in March, Excessivepleasure returns to the comfort of home, and the company of fellow California-breds, in Saturday's $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Trainer Doug O'Neill had considered passing the Snow Chief Stakes until he watched Excessivepleasure work six furlongs in 1:14 on Saturday. The finish of the workout convinced O'Neill that Excessivepleasure had emerged from his victory in the $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park on March 30 ready for another race.

"After that last race, I wondered if we had enough time," O'Neill said. "He's held his weight, and he was full of run in the workout."

Run over 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 3-year-olds, the Snow Chief Stakes is the richest race on the California Gold Rush program for statebreds. The program consists of six stakes worth $150,000 or more and four overnight races.

Excessivepleasure is the most accomplished member of the Snow Chief Stakes, having won 3 of 5 starts and $442,502. Ducking top 3-year-olds this year, Excessivepleasure has finished second in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream Park in January and the $100,000 Borderland Derby at Sunland Park in early March.

The WinStar Derby was his first stakes win since the California Breeders' Champion Stakes last December at Santa Anita.

Officially, Excessivepleasure worked five furlongs in 1:02.60, but O'Neill was pleased with the way the gelding finished.

"He galloped out strong," he said. "Everything was focused on pushing him after the breeze."

The Snow Chief Stakes will be the longest race in Excessivepleasure's career. He was all out to win the WinStar Derby over 1 1/16 miles, holding off Spensive by a neck.

"I kept waiting for the white flag to come up," O'Neill said. "It's still a huge question mark whether he wants to go 1 1/8 miles. But it's Cal-breds and $250,000, and it makes sense."

The Snow Chief field is expected to include Chief Planner, Excessive Barb, Kid Rio, Summer Service, Tiz a Coup, and Winning Stripes. Chief Planner placed in three graded stakes last year and was second in his only start this year, a March 30 allowance sprint for California-breds at Santa Anita.

The field will not include Logician, who finished sixth in the Santa Anita Derby. He bled in that race and has been turned out, trainer Craig Dollase said.

O'Neill also has two starters in two other rich stakes on Saturday - Aclevershadeofjade in the $200,000 Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles and Sea to See in the $175,000 Khaled Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The Melair hopefuls include Bartok's Blithe, Ela Ela, Just Too Too, Just By Chance, Long Term Wish, Oneexcessivenite, Princess V, Run Rebecca Run, and Tricky Surf.

The Khaled Stakes brings together a strong group of turf horses likely to include Continental Red, Lily's Lad, Native Desert, Surprise Halo, Reveille Slew, and possibly Yougottawanna.

Road to Slew, the winner of the Crystal Water Handicap at Santa Anita last month, is passing in favor of a shorter race, Dollase said.

The other major stakes on Gold Rush Day are the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes for older horses over 7 1/2 furlongs, the $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles on turf, and the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes for fillies and mares over 7 1/2 furlongs.

The Tiznow Stakes will be the first start in 2 1/2 years for General Challenge. A 7-year-old, General Challenge won the 1999 Santa Anita Derby and Pacific Classic and the 2000 Santa Anita Handicap but has been sidelined by tendon and splint-bone injuries.

Sister act and name game over weekend

There were two racing rarities on the closing weekend of the Santa Anita meeting.

On Saturday, full sisters Roberta's Mango and Bold Roberta finished first and second in the first race, a $64,168 optional claimer on the hillside turf course.

Roberta's Mango ($4) finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of Bold Roberta, who was demoted to third for interfering with Janeian in the stretch. The 4-year-old Roberta's Mango and the 5-year-old Bold Roberta are by Bold Badgett and out of Roberta Ullmann. They were bred by SLU Inc., which still owns Bold Roberta. Roberta's Mango was claimed from SLU last summer at Del Mar for $32,000 and races for Lucky Ladies Stable.

On Sunday, two horses named Stratus, one bred in Argentina and one in France, competed in the same race.

The 4-year-old French-bred Stratus, ridden by Mark Johnston, finished second to Handyman Bill ($6.60). The Argentine-bred Stratus, ridden by David Flores, never threatened the leaders and finished seventh.

To differentiate between the two, track announcer Trevor Denman called the jockey's names each time he referred to either Stratus.

Stakes winners get in works

Three major stakes winners from 2002 worked at Hollywood Park on Sunday and are expected to start at the meeting.

Storming Home, the winner of the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket, England, last October, worked seven furlongs on turf. He is a candidate for the $400,000 Jim Murray Handicap on May 10.

Starrer worked five furlongs in 1:02. During the Santa Anita meeting, the 5-year-old mare won the Santa Maria and Santa Margarita handicaps. She is expected to run in the $200,000 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap on May 24, a race expected to attract the 2002 Horse of the Year, Azeri.

Calkins Road began his comeback from a foot injury with a three-furlong workout in 37.80 seconds. Last year, he won the two major stakes for California-breds - the Snow Chief Stakes and California Cup Classic.

* Jockey Isaias Enriquez has been suspended three days for causing interference in the fourth race on Friday. Enriquez rode B. Lucky, who angled to the inside on the turn leaving Boston Shuttle and You Crack Me Up in tight quarters. B. Lucky finished fourth, with Boston Shuttle third and You Crack Me Up finishing fifth. The suspension begins Friday and continues through Sunday.


RACING SCHEDULE: Wednesday through July 20. Dark Mondays and Tuesdays, except May 26. No racing May 28.

POST TIME: 1:20 p.m., daily; 7:05 p.m., Fridays; 1:20 p.m., May 2 and July 4; 12:30 p.m., July 5.

ADMISSIONS & PARKING: (includes parking and program): Free general admission for Wednesday's opening day. General $7; Clubhouse $10; Turf Club $20. Preferred parking $3; valet parking $8.



April 26 California Gold Rush Day $1,300,000*

May 10 Jim Murray Handicap400,000

May 24 Milady BC Handicap (Gr. 1) 200,000

May 26Gamely BC Handicap (Gr. 1) 350,000

Shoemaker BC Handicap (Gr. 1) 350,000

June 14The Californian (Gr. 2) 400,000

Whittingham Handicap (Gr. 1) 350,000

June 21Vanity Handicap (Gr. 1) 250,000

July 5American Oaks 750,000

Triple Bend BC Handicap (Gr. 1) 300,000

July 13 Hollywood Gold Cup (Gr. 1) 750,000

A Gleam Invitational (Gr. 2) 250,000

Swaps Stakes (Gr. 2) 400,000

(*) Denotes total purse for the day

LOCATION: 1050 S. Prairie Ave., Inglewood. East of 405 (San Diego Freeway). North of 105 (Century Freeway).

PHONE: (310) 419-150

INTERNET: http://www.hollywoodpark.com