05/06/2007 11:00PM

Fourty Niners Son going real long again


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Fourty Niners Son won at 1 1/2 miles on turf for the first time in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita on March 24, and the distance may turn out to be the ideal trip for the 6-year-old horse.

Fourty Niners Son will run 1 1/2 miles on turf again in the $250,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Fourty Niners Son, owned and bred by Tom Baxter and trained by Neil Drysdale, may be favored in the Grade 2 Murray.

“I’m happier with the mile and a half,” Drysdale said. “We always thought he would go a mile and a half. We just never had the opportunity.”

Fourty Niners Son made his second start at that distance in the San Luis Rey; in his previous 1 1/2-mile try, he finished ninth in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Belmont Park. He emerged from that race with an injury that resulted in a layoff of nearly seven months.

Last year, Fourty Niners Son was winless in three starts and was out of training by the end of the summer. The 2007 San Luis Rey Handicap was his second start of the year, following a fourth-place finish in an allowance race on March 3.

The San Luis Rey was Fourty Niners Son’s second stakes win, and it came 18 months after the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on the turf.

In the Jim Murray, Fourty Niners Son will face On the Acorn, the winner of the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita on April 22, as well as Church Service, Fitz Flag, Notable Guest, Prospect Park, and Runaway Dancer.

Could this finally be the year that Fourty Niners Son’s potential is realized and he contends for an Eclipse Award as outstanding turf horse?

Drysdale is not sharing his opinion. “I’ll tell you at the end of the year,” he said.

Bordonaro a heavy favorite

There are three Grade 3 stakes on Saturday and Sunday, each worth $100,000, including two for 3-year-old fillies.

Bordonaro, the winner of four graded stakes in the last 19 months, will be a heavy favorite against a small field in Saturday’s Los Angeles Handicap at six furlongs.

Super Freaky, the winner of the La Habra and Providencia stakes during the Santa Anita meeting, is the leading contender in Saturday’s Senorita Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf.

Sunday’s top race is the Railbird Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. Silver Swallow, second to Kentucky Oaks winner Rags to Riches in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in March, will make her first start on Hollywood Park’s synthetic surface.

$27.7 million handle on Derby Day

The all-sources handle at Hollywood Park on Saturday reached $27,757,694, track officials said in a statement released on Sunday. The handle was the second-highest in track history, behind the $67 million bet on the 1997 Breeders’ Cup program, the most recent year the track hosted the Breeders’ Cup.

Saturday’s figure includes handle on live racing and simulcasting, and it surpassed the $26,712,087 bet on the corresponding day in 2006.

Handle on Hollywood Park’s races on Saturday was $16,778,892, a gain of 9.6 percent over last year, track officials said.

The ontrack attendance of 14,265 was down slightly from the crowd of 14,460 that attended the 2006 Kentucky Derby Day program.

Cervelo injured and retired

Cervelo failed to finish a race for the second straight time Saturday, and has been retired after suffering suspensory injuries in the stretch of the $40,000 claimer, trainer Mike Puype said. He was favored in both races.

Cervelo was 9-5 in Saturday’s race at 1 1/16 miles on turf. He was racing just behind the leaders when he was pulled up by jockey Chris Landeros.

The race was Cervelo’s first start since he was pulled up on the first turn and vanned off in an optional claimer at Santa Anita on March 23. In that race, he was reported to be unsound in his left hind leg, according to California Horse Racing Board equine medical director Rick Arthur.

Cervelo was permitted to start on Saturday after being released from the official veterinarian’s list following a five-furlong workout on April?13 and subsequently passing a blood test, Arthur said.

Cervelo, 6, had an additional published workout, on April 27, and was inspected by state veterinarian Gary Beck on Saturday morning, Arthur said.

“He examined the horse very carefully knowing that he had been vanned off,” Arthur said.

Puype said that the injury Cervelo suffered on Saturday was not related to his being pulled up in March.

“It was completely unrelated to anything he had,” Puype said. “I know it’s a perceptively bad situation.”

A stakes winner at Calder last year, Cervelo won 7 of 35 starts and $267,938. Cervelo will be retired to breeder Paul Denes’s farm in Ocala, Fla., according to Denes and Puype.

Landsburg retires as owners’ chair

Alan Landsburg retired as chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California’s board of directors on Sunday, the organization announced in a statement over the weekend.

Landsburg, a former chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, was a founding board member of the TOC in 1993. More recently, he served as a member of the board of directors of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Landsburg, who retired as a television writer and executive in 2001, has owned Thoroughbreds for more than 30 years.

* Jockey Michael Baze scored a hat trick for the third consecutive day on Sunday to solidify his position at the top of the standings. Through Sunday, Baze has 18 winners, four more than Victor Espinoza and seven clear of apprentice Joseph Talamo.