02/16/2005 12:00AM

Golden Shine sharp in comeback

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BENOIT PHOTO
Amerman Racing's triple crown nomined Golden Shine (son of Touch Gold) and jockey Rene Douglas easily win the fourth race at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Making his first start since July, Golden Shine moved closer to a start in the major Triple Crown preps with an easy victory in an at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

Ridden by Rene Douglas, Golden Shine ($8) scored by 7 1/2 lengths in his first start around two turns, finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.12. Golden Shine was not asked in the final furlong when Douglas eased him down.

"We got the trial we wanted," trainer David Hofmans said of the comeback race.

Owned by Amerman Racing, Golden Shine is being pointed for the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 19. The Grade 2 San Felipe is a key prep to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 9.

Sent off as the 3-1 third choice in a field of five, Golden Shine tracked pacesetter Big Top Cat to the end of the backstretch. On the final turn, Golden Shine stayed on the rail, moving alongside Big Top Cat. The two appeared to brush entering the stretch before Douglas began to urge Golden Shine, who quickly pulled away. In the final furlong, Golden Shine was not challenged.

"He likes to come out," Hofmans said while watching a replay. "He's still learning."

Wednesday's race marked Golden Shine's first start since a four-length victory in a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs last July. He was taken out of training last summer because of sore shins.

Golden Shine has won 2 of 3 starts and $59,580. He was fourth in his debut last May.

Purchased for $130,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale, Golden Shine is by Touch Gold, the 1997 Belmont Stakes winner trained by Hofmans.

Our New Recruit has bone chip

Our New Recruit, the winner of the $2 million Golden Shaheen last March in Dubai, will not be able to defend that title after being found to have a bone chip in an ankle, trainer John Sadler said.

Sadler said Our New Recruit, 6, is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery on Friday to have the bone chip removed.

"He had a good workout about 10 days ago, and we haven't been happy with him since," Sadler said. "It's a small chip."

Sadler said the injury will keep Our New Recruit out of training for three months. "He'll have a fall campaign," Sadler said.

Our New Recruit has not started since finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park in December. Sadler was hoping to find a late February prep to have Our New Recruit ready for the Golden Shaheen.

Owned by CRK Stables, Our New Recruit has won 6 of 19 starts and $1,470,915. His two-length win in the Golden Shaheen was considered an upset. He had not previously won a stakes and was available at 16-1 with British bookmakers for that race.

Following the Golden Shaheen, Our New Recruit was given a break during the spring and most of the summer. He returned to win the restricted Pirate's Bounty Handicap over six furlongs at Del Mar last September.

Since then, Our New Recruit's form has faltered. He finished a troubled 12th in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Lone Star Park before finishing 5 1/2 lengths behind Kela in the Underwood.

Spanish Chestnut preps for Santa Catalina

Spanish Chestnut, who won the San Rafael Stakes in his most recent start last month, breezed six furlongs in 1:14 from the gate at Santa Anita on Wednesday. The workout equaled the second-fastest of eight recorded works at the distance.

Trained by Patrick Biancone, Spanish Chestnut is scheduled to make his next start in the $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 5. The race is expected to draw Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004, and Wilko, who won the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Spanish Chestnut closed at 35-1 in the first round of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager last weekend.

Whilly awaits invite from Dubai

Whilly, who shares top weight of 118 pounds with Media Puzzle for Saturday's $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf, is unlikely to start, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

The winner of the Sir Beaufort Stakes Dec. 26 and the San Marcos Stakes on Jan. 22, Whilly is being pointed for the $2 million Dubai Duty Free over about 1 1/8 miles on March 26.

O'Neill said Whilly has not received an invitation for the Dubai Duty Free but is hopeful that it will be confirmed in coming days.

The San Luis Obispo field is expected to include Balustrade, Continental Red, Gorylla, License to Run, Sigfreto, Special Matter, and T.H. Approval. None of those candidates has won a stakes in the United States in the last year. License to Run was a Group 1 winner in Brazil last year.

Media Puzzle, the winner of the 2002 Melbourne Cup, will not start in the San Luis Obispo. He may be sent to Santa Anita for the San Luis Rey and San Juan Capistrano handicaps later at this meeting. He is trained in Ireland by Dermot Weld.

Ata Olympio beaten on turf

Ata Olympio suffered the second defeat of his seven-race career with a runner-up finish to Fail Me Not in Wednesday's second race, a two-other-than allowance with a $62,500 claiming option.

Fail Me Not rallied from sixth in the final furlong to catch Ata Olympio in the final sixteenth. Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Fail Me Not ($20.40) won by a length. Trained by Mike Mitchell, Fail Me Not finished about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in 1:13.11. The victory marked his third win in his last four starts.

Ata Olympio, the even-money favorite, won his first four starts last year, including the California Cup Sprint Starter Handicap over six furlongs.

A 4-year-old gelding, Ata Olympio suffered his first defeat in an allowance race here on Jan. 5, but rebounded to beat a similar field by 5 1/2 lengths on Jan. 22. Wednesday's race marked his debut on turf.