03/20/2006 12:00AM

Gate full for first 2-year-old race


ARCADIA, Calif. - Gary Mandella laughed at the incongruousness of it all. While his father, Richard, is halfway around the world in Dubai, preparing The Tin Man, another of the long-toothed veterans who has brought glory to the barn over the years, Gary will begin the week trying to win the first 2-year-old race of the meet, at the demanding distance of two furlongs.

"Not a lot of this went on in dad's barn," Gary Mandella said.

The babies are out in force on Wednesday at Santa Anita. Fourteen fillies, all making their first starts, were entered in the day's first race, and a maximum of 10 can run. The race will resemble a Quarter Horse race - it is, after all, a quarter-mile - but jockeys cannot carry whips, and few of the trainers will be dressed in cowboy hats.

In an acknowledgement that this isn't quite business as usual at the Mandella barn, Gary is bringing in Gary Boag, a rider based at Los Alamitos, to ride his filly Hello Bolly in the opener.

"I thought we better get a professional rider," Mandella said, the joke being that he is the amateur in this endeavor.

, who was bred and is owned by Richard Glassman, is by Swiss Yodeler, who gets precocious runners. As with all the fillies in the race, she was born in the first three months of 2004, January in her case.

"She's a January foal, and came around early, so the owner asked if we could take a shot and get her ready to win early," Mandella said. "Since she's come in, she's done everything right. I didn't push her. She took it upon herself to be quick. We weren't pointing at the very first 2-year-old race of the meet, but there's no reason not to go."

Hello Bolly has seven recorded workouts at Hollywood Park, beginning on Feb. 4. Mandella said she received her early lessons from Judd Morse, a veteran trainer who breaks horses for his father at a nearby farm.

"If she wins, Judd Morse gets a lot of the credit," Mandella said.

Others to watch in this race include runners trained by Mel Stute ( ), all of whom are proficient with this type of horse. Trainer Marcelo Polanco has a pair of runners, Rockella and the Indian Charlie filly Sylvana.

The day's feature race is the seventh, a one-mile grass race for first-level allowance runners bred in California. Karn, who was second at this level in a downhill sprint on Jan. 13, should be a strong favorite.