01/16/2007 1:00AM

Garcia could miss week with sore back


ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Martin Garcia, a finalist for the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice of 2006 and one of the leading riders at the Santa Anita winter meeting, may not ride this week after being hospitalized following a spill Sunday.

Garcia remained hospitalized late Monday, complaining of back soreness. His agent, Roger Olguin, said doctors have informed him that Garcia did not suffer any major injuries in the spill.

The spill occurred after Sunday's sixth race. Garcia rode Sweet N Salty, who set a fast pace of 21.15 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, but faded through the stretch. After the finish, Sweet N Salty fell, throwing Garcia heavily to the main track. Garcia was taken from the track on a stretcher.

Sweet N Salty remained on the track for 45 minutes before she rose and was walked to the barn area. Trainer Brian Koriner said she suffered from exhaustion after the race and needed time to recover. "She just shut her air off," he said.

Garcia underwent X-rays on Monday, which showed no broken bones, Olguin said.

"The doctors said everything was good," Olguin said. "They were going to send him home [Sunday] night, but he complained of pain in his back and his neck. He still had pain in his back [Monday morning].

"I want to make sure there is nothing wrong in his back. He's real sore. I didn't take entries on Thursday. If he does feel good, I won't take calls for a week. He's the only one who can tell me how he feels."

Through Monday, Garcia was tied for fifth in the standings with seven wins.

Exhale might try Lewis Stakes

Exhale, a convincing winner against maidens in Monday's third race, may make his stakes debut in the $200,000 Robert Lewis Stakes on March 3, trainer John Sadler said. The Lewis Stakes, formerly known as the Santa Catalina Stakes, is a key prep to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

On Monday, Exhale stalked the pace to early stretch before pulling clear to win by five lengths, finishing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.91. "He got the lead with little effort," Sadler said. "I didn't want him to make the lead too soon."

Ridden by Corey Nakatani for CRK Stables, Exhale ($2.60) was making his second start. In his debut, he finished second to eventual San Rafael Stakes winner Notional in a maiden race at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 21.

Exhale missed a start at Hollywood Park in late fall because of a foot problem, according to Sadler.

"This is a horse with a lot of ability," Sadler said.

Sadler said that Exhale could start in an allowance race before the Lewis.

CRK Stables, Sadler, and Nakatani won Monday's Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes with Jump On In, the 4-5 favorite.

Two choices for Friendly Island

Friendly Island, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs in November, is a probable starter in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita, according to trainer Michael McCarthy.

McCarthy, who is training Todd Pletcher's stable while Pletcher serves a suspension, said the other option for Friendly Island would be the Deputy Minister Handicap at Gulfstream on Feb. 3.

McCarthy said the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 31 is a possible long-term goal.

"If he runs on Saturday, there will be plenty of time between now and Dubai," said McCarthy.

Run over six furlongs, the Palos Verdes drew only eight nominations and is expected to include Brooker, Harvard Avenue, and Indian Chant.

The Palos Verdes will not draw Bordonaro. Trained by Bill Spawr, Bordonaro is being pointed for the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint for California-breds and Florida-breds on Jan. 27.

It was unclear Monday who will ride Bordonaro in the Sunshine Millions. His regular rider, Patrick Valenzuela, is out with knee and rib injuries, and owners Fred Carrillo and Daniel Cassella have yet to choose a replacement, Spawr said.

"They have four or five jockeys to pick from," Spawr said.

Kilroe up next for Kip Deville

Kip Deville, the winner of the Sir Beaufort here Dec. 26 in his last start, is being pointed for the Grade 1, $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on March 3, trainer Richard Dutrow said.

"That's his distance, and he likes the grass," Dutrow said.

The Kilroe would be Kip Deville's first start in a Grade 1. A 4-year-old colt, Kip Deville has won 6 of 14 starts and $460,062. He won stakes at Sam Houston Race Park, Lone Star Park, and Keeneland last year.

Dutrow said that Kip Deville has trained well on Hollywood Park's synthetic surface. Even though Kip Deville has raced on turf since last fall, Dutrow said he would like to try him in a stakes on the synthetic surface later this year.

Stratham gets back to work

Stratham, the winner of two turf stakes for 3-year-olds last year, has resumed training at Hollywood Park after undergoing surgery to have a bone chip removed from an ankle last fall.

Trainer Tim Yakteen said he is hopeful that Stratham can return to racing by the end of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

Stratham, 4, has won 4 of 11 starts and $193,993. He won the La Puente Stakes and Grade 3 Will Rogers Stakes last spring.

* John Henry, the 32-year-old retired Hall of Fame racehorse, and Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. will be honored in a ceremony during the Santa Anita Handicap program on March 3. Pincay rode John Henry in 1981 in the first of John Henry's two wins in the Big Cap. Pincay and John Henry's trainer, Ron McAnally, will sign autographs during the March 3 program.

* Jockey David Flores, who has won six stakes at the meeting, won four races from seven mounts on Monday's nine-race program. Flores won the second race on Beyondcomprehnsion ($5.20) and the fifth through seventh races on Buddyandrowdy ($8.80), Passified ($12.40), and Blushing Bear Cat ($6.40).