06/13/2005 11:00PM

Gallagher targets two Grade 1's

Benoit & Associates
McCann's Mojave, winning Saturday's Ack Ack Handicap, will make his next start in the seven-furlong, Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap on July 3.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The upset win by McCann's Mojave Saturday in the $75,000 Ack Ack Handicap gives trainer Paddy Gallagher live contenders in both Grade 1 races July 3 at Hollywood Park - McCann's Mojave in the seven-furlong Triple Bend Handicap and Three Degrees in the American Oaks.

"Those races are a ways away, but both horses came out of their races in great shape," Gallagher said Tuesday. McCann's Mojave won for the sixth time in 11 starts, and was making his first start since being transferred to Gallagher from Leonard Dorfman.

"When I got the horse from Leonard, he was in great shape. I just put some long works in him," Gallagher said.

The immediate concern for McCann's Mojave is the 22-day turnaround to the Triple Bend.

"He ran hard the other day off a layoff, and it's a little bit close, but we'll see how he's acting," Gallagher said.

Three Degrees, winner of the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap on June 5, will breeze Sunday on the Hollywood turf course. Gallagher trains Three Degrees delicately between starts, typically walking her five or six days after a race, followed by light jogging and galloping, and two breezes.

Surf Cat stretches out

After defeating older allowance sprinters May 14 with a 114 Beyer - the highest figure of the year by a 3-year-old sprinter - Surf Cat will try to stretch his speed two turns Saturday in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap.

"He's made to go long; I don't think there is any doubt that he will," trainer Bruce Headley said.

It will be the first time Surf Cat has run a distance of ground, and he faces a formidable rival in Santa Anita Derby winner Buzzards Bay, who finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby.

Surf Cat carries 116 pounds, six fewer than 122-pound highweight Buzzards Bay. The field is expected to also include Dover Dere, 116; Indian Ocean, 115; and Khyber Pass, 114. The Affirmed is the local prep for the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes on July 9.

Surf Cat was among three horses that Headley bought at the 2003 Keeneland September fall yearling sale. The other two are Rocket Ready, who was entered in an allowance race Wednesday, and Storm Wolf, a six-length winner of the Grade 2 Laz Barrera on May 21. Headley said Storm Wolf would tackle older sprinters July 3 in the Triple Bend.

'Derek' will recuperate until Del Mar

Brother Derek, among the most impressive 2-year-old maiden winners at the meet, must skip the $75,000 Haggin Stakes on Sunday. Trainer Dan Hendricks said Brother Derek had mucus after a recent workout and would not resurface until Del Mar.

Brother Derek scored a convincing off-the-pace victory in his May 14 debut that earned a 77 Beyer, and would have been one of the favorites Sunday. Hendricks ruled out the Grade 3, $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile on July 16, and said Brother Derek would aim for the $125,000 Graduation Stakes on July 27 at Del Mar.

A small field led by Corazondelcampeon is taking shape for the 5 1/2-furlong Haggin. Corazondelcampeon won his May 29 debut by six lengths with an 85 Beyer. Corazondelcampeon is trained by David La Croix, who also will start Always Royal. Case Study, and Willard Proctor Stakes winner Wild Uncle Kurt also are expected.

Trainer Bob Baffert nominated two unraced maidens who have been working fast at Santa Anita.

"If the race falls apart, I might think about running," he said.

Both Baffert colts were purchased at the Barretts March 2-year-old in training sale - What a Song, a $1.9 million colt by Songandaprayer; and Enforcement, a $350,000 colt by Tiznow.

Roman Ruler coming east

Baffert has mapped a tentative sprint campaign for Roman Ruler, who was knocked out of action this spring with foot problems.

"He's doing awesome," Baffert said, referring to three successive bullet works at Santa Anita.

Baffert said Roman Ruler would ship east for a three-race series against 3-year-olds - the Grade 3, six-furlong Jersey Shore on July 4 at Monmouth; the Grade 2, six-furlong Amsterdam on Aug. 7 at Saratoga; and Grade 1, seven-furlong King's Bishop on Aug. 27 at Saratoga.

Roman Ruler has not raced since March 19 at Santa Anita, when he finished last in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes.

Leave Me Alone bled

Leave Me Alone bled Sunday when she finished a dull fourth as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks, trainer Eric Kruljac said.

"It was significant, but at least we have an excuse that's right in front of us," Kruljac said. "She hasn't lost any stature in our eyes. We'll put her on an anti-bleeding program and come back."

Leave Me Alone, who previously won the $200,000 Melair by four lengths on April 24, could return July 23 at Del Mar in the $100,000 Fleet Treat Stakes, a seven-furlong race for Cal-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Long Range Missile preps for Crosby

The unbeaten sprinter Long Range Missile rolled through an easy five-furlong work late Tuesday morning at Santa Anita and will jump directly into a Grade 1 when he returns July 31 at Del Mar in the six-furlong Bing Crosby Handicap.

Trained by Ron Ellis, Long Range Missile won a second-condition allowance Oct. 22 at Santa Anita with a 106 Beyer. His campaign was interrupted because of inflammation of a vein, and a hock problem. Long Range Missile worked Tuesday in 1:01, breezing.

Declan's Moon targets fall comeback

Ellis said Tuesday that unbeaten 3-year-old Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old of 2004, will make his comeback Oct. 14 at Keeneland in the seven-furlong Perryville Stakes for 3-year-olds.

"Right now, if everything goes right, that's where we'll go," Ellis said.

He said that Don't Get Mad, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, could return to California for Grade 2 Swaps Stakes on July 9 pending his performance Saturday at Churchill Downs in the Grade 3 Northern Dancer.