02/04/2005 1:00AM

Fusaichi Samurai likely to miss Derby

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Fusaichi Samurai, a $2.5 million yearling purchase, was training for his first start of the year when he pulled a muscle.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Fusaichi Samurai, who was as low as 5-1 for the Kentucky Derby with some Las Vegas casinos, has been taken out of training because of a pulled muscle and is most likely out of the Triple Crown, trainer Neil Drysdale said on Friday.

Drysdale said that Fusaichi Samurai showed stiffness in his left hind end a few days after a six-furlong workout at Hollywood Park on Jan. 21.

"It appears he's pulled a muscle," Drysdale said. "We'll have to off and give him some time off."

Owned by Fusao Sekiguchi of Japan, Fusaichi Samurai had made one start, winning a maiden race over 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park by two lengths on Dec. 11. He was training for his 3-year-old debut when the injury occurred. His absence leaves the major late-winter preps for the Triple Crown without the colt who may have been the most exciting maiden winner of the fall.

Drysdale said the Kentucky Derby, to be run May 7, may come up too soon.

"The Triple Crown is such a rush," Drysdale said. "My guess is it would preclude him from the Triple Crown. We don't want to be playing catch-up. Time is what he needs. He's too good a horse."

Fusaichi Samurai was bought for $4.5 million at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale.

Splendid Blended to pass Las Virgenes

The Drysdale-trained Splendid Blended will not run in the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies next Saturday.

Splendid Blended, the winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes in December, is expected to resume racing in March, he said.

"She's having a rest," Drysdale said. "She's tall and very light. We just made a conscious decision to back off and let her fill into her frame. She has and she is. She's being pointed for the Kentucky Oaks."

The Las Virgenes is one of four major stakes at Santa Anita next weekend. The Grade 1 Las Virgenes is led by Sharp Lisa, the winner of the Santa Ynez Breeders' Cup Stakes last month. Also on Saturday is the $200,000 La Canada for 4-year-old fillies over 1 1/8 miles.

There are two stakes on Sunday's program: the $150,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs and the $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap over 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares.

Consolidator, the winner of the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in October, and Roman Ruler, the winner of the Norfolk Stakes in October, are leading contenders for the San Vicente.

The Santa Maria Handicap will include Musical Chimes, a multiple stakes winner on turf trained by Drysdale.

Belleski retired

Belleski, a multiple stakes winner owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, has been retired and shipped to Kentucky to be bred to Empire Maker, trainer John Sadler said.

Sadler said that Belleski was shipped to Mill Ridge Farm in Kentucky in late January.

Belleski finished her career with 8 victories in 15 starts and earnings of $374,586. She made the final start of her career in an allowance race at Hollywood Park in early November, winning by 2 1/2 lengths. She was later entered for the Dahlia and Monrovia handicaps, but scratched when the races were moved from turf to dirt.

Belleski, 6, won consecutive runnings of the Grade 3 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap on the Santa Anita hillside turf course in 2003 and 2004, finished second in the restricted Osunitas Handicap at Del Mar in 2003 and third in the Grade 3 Royal Heroine Stakes at Hollywood Park in 2003.

Stein has partial amputation

Trainer Roger Stein had part of his left foot amputated at a southern California hospital last Monday after an infection worked its way to the bone.

Stein, 51, is the host of a weekend radio program on horse racing in Southern California, although the program is not currently on the air.

Stein said he hopes to return to the racetrack in coming weeks and that he will need to walk with a cane.