10/28/2004 12:00AM

Geronimo must catch De Valmont


ARCADIA, Calif. - Geronimo may be bound for Hong Kong if he wins Saturday's $100,000 Morvich Handicap at Santa Anita.

A win in the Grade 3 Morvich over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course is vital to ensure that Geronimo will be invited to the $1.28 million Hong Kong Sprint over a straightaway five furlongs on turf at Sha Tin Racecourse on Dec. 12. A loss on Saturday may hurt his chances.

Trained by Mike Machowsky, Geronimo has been pointed to the Morvich since he won the Green Flash Handicap over five furlongs on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 18. That race marked Geronimo's first stakes win of the year.

Last month, in an allowance race on the hillside course. Rallying from sixth, Geronimo finished 2 1/2 lengths behind De Valmont, who led throughout in an outstanding performance. The same scenario could develop in the Morvich, and Machowsky said it is a point of concern.

"He was a lone speed and got an easy lead," Machowsky said of De Valmont. "Nobody could catch him. Hopefully, things will be different on Saturday. I think the rain will soften this turf course up a little and make them do more on the front than they have to. I'm comfortable with where we are."

Trained by Ruben Cardenas, De Valmont has been restricted to turf sprints since he arrived from Australia two years ago, winning 5 of 8 starts.

"If he runs his race back, I don't think he can be beat," Cardenas said.

A quick pace would help Cayoke, who represents trainer Jeff Mullins. A 7-year-old, Cayoke has won two stakes this year and placed in three others. In March, Cayoke won the El Cielo Handicap on the hillside turf course and was second to stablemate Glick in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap a month later.

Cayoke raced around two turns on turf at Del Mar, winning the Brubaker Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 20 and finishing second in the one-mile Live the Dream Handicap on Sept. 8, his most recent start.

"He'll run anywhere from 6 1/2 to a mile," Mullins said. "You just let the door open and let him do his thing."

Gary Stevens has the mount.

Leroidesanimaux is entered in the Morvich, which would be his first start since winning the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park in May.

* Conveyor's Angel will be considered for the $100,000 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 26 after winning her stakes debut in Wednesday's $75,000 Hidden Light Stakes. Ridden by Gary Stevens, Conveyor's Angel finished a mile on turf in 1:38.02 and paid $6.