10/25/2001 11:00PM

Figlio Mio gets his chance


With a late summer setback behind him, Figlio Mio is ready for the richest race of his career, the $250,000 Wells Fargo Bank California Cup Classic at Santa Anita next Saturday.

The Cal Cup Classic is the top event on a 10-race program for statebreds that features races for horses of all ages. There are seven stakes and three starter handicaps.

For the last two months, trainer Ben Cecil has had the Classic as a goal for Figlio Mio.

Following a second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap to El Corredor, a starter in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Sprint, Figlio Mio was briefly sidelined by a quarter crack. He resumed serious training by the end of September.

"We've had four weeks since and he's had two seven-eighths workouts," Cecil said. "I don't think a mile and an eighth" - the Cal Cup Classic - "is a problem the way he works and the way he gallops. It shouldn't be a question."

The opposition in the Cal Cup Classic is expected to include Grey Memo, Disturbingthepeace, Waingarth, Irisheyesareflying, Literal Prowler, and Romanceishope.

Figlio Mio has won 4 of 7 starts and $202,780, including three allowance races earlier this year. His worst race this year was a fifth after a poor start in the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar in August, but he rebounded with his second in the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap Sept. 2.

"He's never run a bad race unless he didn't break," Cecil said. "He proved he was a good horse in his next start, when he ran second to El Corredor."

Owned by Tony Ciulla's Bull Market Stable, Figlio Mio is a rare California-bred by Rubiano, a Kentucky-based stallion. Figlio Mio's dam, Wall St. Lady, was a stakes winner and has a 3-year-old winner by Avenue of Flags.

Truly a mixed sale

Nearly every sort of Thoroughbred is available at the Barretts fall mixed sale on Monday and Tuesday.

The catalog features broodmares, yearlings, weanlings, and horses of racing age, with a concentration on broodmares and weanlings. Unlike the March 2-year-olds sale at Barretts, prices will not be high.

Last year's sale was topped by a broodmare that sold for $70,000 and a yearling that sold for $65,000.

Barretts president Gerald McMahon is optimistic the sale can be successful for consignors despite a mixed month of selling at other locations around the nation.

"This part of the market hasn't been that good back East, but our yearling sale was pretty good by comparison," he said, referring to the Barretts early October yearling sale. "This is a trader's market in October.

"It's kind of a prospector's sale. It's a Western-oriented sale with people from Texas, Utah, Arizona, Oregon, and California."

Last year, the mixed sale averaged $6,077, with weanlings averaging $6,600 and broodmares averaging $6,574.

Bargains can be had at this sale. The dam of Golden Ballet, a Grade 1 winner, was sold at the October sale, as were Asian Adventure and Spinelessjellyfish, who later became stakes winners.

The sale offers more than 100 weanlings, including a Bertrando filly out of We Say Do. Bertrando has been the top sire in California this year and is the sire of the hot 2-year-old Officer.

"If the weanlings sell well, I think the mares will sell well the following day," McMahon said.

Among the horses sold by Barretts who were entered in Saturday's World Thoroughbred Championships program at Belmont Park were Juvenile favorite Officer, who brought $700,000 at the March sale earlier this year.

Other Barretts sale graduates entered in the Championships were Came Home, Freedom Crest, Habibati, Hook and Ladder, Publication, Queenie Belle, Squirtle Squirt, and Swept Overboard.