02/26/2007 12:00AM

Fast Parade's stamina test


ARCADIA, Calif. - It is time for Fast Parade to prove he can do more than win turf sprints.

That is the outlook that owners Gary and Cecil Barber and trainer Peter Miller are taking with the 4-year-old Fast Parade, who makes his Grade 1 debut in Saturday's $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita.

A winner of three consecutive stakes for turf sprinters since August, Fast Parade has much to prove in the Kilroe, which is run on turf. He has won over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf course here, in the Impressive Luck Handicap on Jan. 10, but has never run beyond that distance on turf.

"He trains like a horse that will get the mile," Miller said. "This has been our plan, to stretch him out. The timing of the Kilroe after the Impressive Luck has worked well.

"We wanted to try this early in the year. If he can get the mile, it changes everything. Instead of just having a sprinter, it opens up a lot of races at a mile. I think he's going to get it."

Fast Parade has made one start around two turns, finishing seventh in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes on dirt at Keeneland last April. He was not owned by the Barbers or trained by Miller at the time.

"I threw out the race in the Lexington," Miller said, reflecting on Fast Parade's career.

The Kilroe will draw a strong field. The probable starters include the graded stakes winners Bayeux, Charmo, Kip Deville, defending champion Milk It Mick, Silent Name, Three Valleys, and possibly 2004 winner Sweet Return. Boule d'Or, group stakes-placed in England last year, seeks his first major stakes win in his 41st start.

The Kilroe is one of five stakes on Saturday's program, a card highlighted by the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap and the $250,000 Robert Lewis Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Boutrous must prove he's Triple Crown material

The Lewis Stakes is expected to produce a few starters for the Santa Anita Derby, and quite possibly the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Craig Dollase is hoping that Boutrous has better luck in the Lewis than he encountered in a second-place finish in the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 28.

Boutrous was even-money to beat five opponents in the California Derby, his stakes debut, but was beaten five lengths by Bwana Bull after being blocked in the final quarter-mile.

"I wasn't very happy," Dollase said on Sunday.

Dollase could be a much brighter mood after Saturday's Lewis Stakes, which is run over 1o1/16 miles. The race will determine how aggressively Boutrous should be campaigned toward the Triple Crown.

Owned by Mike Shustek, Boutrous has won 2 of 4 starts, with both wins coming on Hollywood Park's synthetic surface in races at 1 1/16 miles.

Dollase does not feel that Boutrous is limited to racing on a synthetic surface. Still, Boutrous has been nominated to the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park in March and the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in April, both major Kentucky Derby preps that will be run on synthetic surfaces.

"We shouldn't have a problem," Dollase said, referring to Santa Anita's conventional dirt surface. "We'll know more about him next weekend. We'll see how he runs against these."

In both of his wins, Boutrous rallied from the back of the field in the last half-mile to win by at least a length. He tried the same tactics in the California Derby before getting stopped near the quarter pole.

"He sort of lies back and makes a run," Dollase said. "He doesn't have a lot of speed. We've had plenty of time since his last start."

The Grade 2 Lewis Stakes, formerly known as the Santa Catalina Stakes, has a probable field of seven. Aside from Boutrous, the candidates include French Transition, Great Hunter, Saint Paul, Sam P., Tap It Light. and Tiago.

Great Hunter, third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November, will be making his 3-year-old debut.

Pletcher oversees top West Coast runners

Trainer Todd Pletcher, whose stable has already won three stakes at this meeting, will have starters in several leading stakes at Santa Anita before the 16-horse team leaves this circuit for Kentucky in April.

Pletcher made a rare appearance in Southern California over the weekend, watching several of the stable's top runners work at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

Ravel, the winner of the Sham Stakes on Feb. 3 and a candidate for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7, worked five furlongs in 1:02.40.

"He's moving like a machine," Pletcher said. "He gets over the ground."

Friendly Island, the winner of the Palos Verdes Handicap on Jan. 20 and a probable starter in the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 31, worked five furlongs in 1:01.

Fairbanks, sixth in the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 4, worked a half-mile in 49 seconds, prepping for the $100,000 Tokyo City Handicap on March 31.

Icy Atlantic, second in the Sunshine Millions Turf on Jan. 27, may run in an allowance race this weekend. He worked five furlongs in 1:02.40.

On Monday, Rags to Riches worked a half-mile in 50.60 seconds, preparing for the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks on March 11.

Officially, Pletcher has yet to win a stakes at this meeting. He served a suspension in January and early February, and the horses from his barn started in the name of his top California assistant, Michael McCarthy. Those horses included Friendly Island, Ravel, and Rags to Riches, the winner of the Las Virgenes Stakes on Feb. 10.

Pletcher said the stable is likely to leave California after the Santa Anita Derby, but will return next winter.

"We'd like to come out with a bigger arsenal in November," he said. "I think this has worked out really well. I probably don't have enough California-based clients to support this in the summer months."

Pletcher said he could bring as many as 40 horses to California next winter. By then, Santa Anita will have installed a synthetic surface, giving both Los Angeles-area tracks such surfaces. Hollywood Park installed a synthetic surface last summer. The new surface was the reason that Pletcher and several other Eastern-based trainers sent horses to that track for the fall meeting.

"I would like to bring back at least 40, depending on how things go," he said. "Most of our clients are East Coast-based. Hopefully, they'll want to come back. We've had productive meetings."

Longtime owner Harold Elkind dies

Harold Elkind, a Thoroughbred owner who counted among his horses the Santa Anita stakes winner Mr. Paul, died on Feb. 21 of natural causes. He was 86.

Elkind owned Mr. Paul in partnership. In 1974, Mr. Paul won the California Breeders' Champion Stakes for statebred 2-year-olds at Santa Anita. The horse was trained by Paul Falkenstein and ridden by Donald Pierce.

Elkind, who was in the apparel industry, had horses in training for more than 30 years.

Memorial services were private.