07/16/2006 11:00PM

Grade 1 contenders work at Del Mar


DEL MAR, Calif. - Del Mar offers a fresh start, as well as a fresh turf course. The grass has not been used here for 45 weeks, but it will get quite a workout over the next seven weeks.

After split divisions of the Oceanside Stakes on Wednesday, Del Mar will run two of its most important grass races of the meet this weekend, the Grade 1 Eddie Read and the Grade 1 John Mabee. On Monday, several horses pointing for those races were among the first 28 to work this meet over Del Mar's course.

Aragorn and Fourty Niners Son, both trained by Neil Drysdale, and Quasimodo, trained by Julio Canani, all worked in preparation for Sunday's $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap. All the turf workers were out near the outside rail, because orange cones, known as dogs, were placed well past the middle of the course to protect the inner portion of the course.

Aragorn and Fourty Niners Son worked together, and of the two, Aragorn appeared to go easier at the end of their seven-furlong drill. Aragorn, who broke off slightly behind Fourty Niners Son, was credited with a time of 1:28.80. Fourty Niners Son was credited with a time of 1:29.40.

"They were just cruising," Drysdale said.

Quasimodo covered six furlongs in 1:19.80.

Hallowed Dream, Katdogawn, Live Life, Memorette, Moscow Burning, and Revealed all worked in preparation for Saturday's $400,000 John Mabee Handicap for fillies and mares.

Katdogawn easily covered a half-mile in 50.80 seconds. Not long after the work was over, trainer Jamie Lloyd glanced at his phone, which had a text message from Katdogawn's exercise rider, David Meah.

"Wow!" Meah had written.

"I don't know he managed to pull that off," Lloyd said.

Hallowed Dream was credited with a time of 1:15.20 for six furlongs. She worked in company with stablemate Ghurra, who appeared to be going better than Hallowed Dream. Both are trained by Ben Cecil, who said he would wait a day to decide whether to run Hallowed Dream.

Live Life, working alone, covered six furlongs in 1:16.80 for Drysdale.

Memorette was timed in 1:03.40 for five furlongs for trainer Bill Currin. Also working five furlongs were Moscow Burning (1:03), who is trained by Jim Cassidy, and Revealed (1:06.20), who is trained by John Shirreffs.

Cassidy said his biggest concern with Moscow Burning was whether she would bleed in the humid air at Del Mar.

"The last time she ran, she didn't bleed, but she did the two times before that," he said.

The Tin Man likely to skip Eddie Read

In addition to Aragorn, Fourty Niners Son, and Quasimodo, the field for the 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read is expected to include Fast and Furious, Hendrix, Silent Name, and Sweet Return.

Trainer Richard Mandella said there was "the smallest chance" he might run The Tin Man, but he most likely will await next month's Arlington Million, for which the Eddie Read often serves as a prep.

The Tin Man was assigned top weight of 122 pounds, one more than Aragorn.

Drysdale also nominated Red Fort to the Eddie Read, but said he would go to the Arlington Handicap on Sunday at Arlington Park.

Moscow Burning was assigned top weight of 119 pounds for the Mabee, a 1 1/8-mile race that is a prep to next month's Beverly D. at Arlington. In addition to Hallowed Dream, Katdogawn, Live Life, Memorette, Moscow Burning, and Revealed, the others expected for the Mabee are Amorama and Dancing Edie.

Giacomo could start in San Diego Cap

Giacomo, the 2005 Kentucky Derby winner, may make his first start in four months in the Grade 2, $300,000 San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, trainer John Shirreffs said. Giacomo was assigned co-highweight of 117 pounds, along with Dixie Miester and Preachinatthebar.

Others expected for the San Diego are Papi Chullo, Publication, Rathor, Southern Africa, Spellbinder, Texcess, and Yes He's a Pistol.

Preachinatthebar worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds on Monday at Del Mar for trainer Bob Baffert, while Texcess covered six furlongs in 1:14.20 for trainer Mike Mitchell.

Declan's Moon second in return

Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004, finished a nose behind Desert Boom in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on Sunday. The race was Declan's Moon's first start in 16 months and his first career loss.

Despite the loss at odds of 2-5, trainer Ron Ellis said he was pleased with Declan's Moon's comeback and is looking forward to a return in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 20.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Declan's Moon was always near the front and led by a half-length in the stretch. Declan's Moon was roused when challenged by Desert Boom in the final furlong and lost the lead in the final strides.

"Victor said he got a little too confident," Ellis said. "It was disappointing not to win, but he had to get beat sometime. He should move forward off that. Hopefully, he'll be around for three years and this won't mean too much in the long run."

Declan's Moon, 4, was making his first start since winning the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes in March 2005. He missed the rest of 2005 and the first part of this year because of injuries. Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel, Declan's Moon has won 5 of 6 starts and $638,300.

Desert Boom has won 15 of 39 starts. Trained by Art Sherman for Bob Bone, Desert Boom, 6, will return in the $250,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 20, Sherman said.

Stevie Wonderboy back in training

Stevie Wonderboy, the champion 2-year-old male of 2005, resumed racetrack training last week, his first significant exercise since being sidelined by an ankle injury in February.

Owned by Merv Griffin and trained by O'Neill, Stevie Wonderboy has been jogging 1 1/2 miles on Hollywood Park's training track in recent days. He will be sent to Santa Anita for the rest of the summer and is not expected to race until late fall.

A winner of 3 of 6 starts and $1,058,940, Stevie Wonderboy has not started since finishing second to Brother Derek in the San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita in January.

Hollywood to get new turf chute

Hollywood Park will install a six-furlong turf chute for its autumn meeting later this year, track president Jack Liebau said over the weekend.

The chute will start in the infield and will join the turf course near the five-furlong marker on the backstretch. A six-furlong chute will allow the track to run turf sprints at five furlongs, 5 1/2 furlongs, and six furlongs. In addition, the turf chute will reduce the number of times that a gate is placed on the backstretch portion of the turf course.

"When you run those 5 1/2-furlong races, you have that gate going over that track, and it's not an ideal situation," Liebau said. "I think that the chute will be to everyone's benefit."

Hollywood Park will be the lone track on the circuit to offer six-furlong turf races. Santa Anita runs about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course. Del Mar runs turf sprints at five furlongs.

Cambiocorsa off for rest of summer

Cambiocorsa, who had a seven-race winning streak end with a fifth-place finish in the CashCall Mile on July 1, has been given the summer off, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

Cambiocorsa will be kept at Santa Anita during the summer and will not be sent to Del Mar.

"We're going to give her a vacation," O'Neill said.

Cambiocorsa's winning streak stretched from November to May but included only one graded stakes, the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Handicap for turf sprinters at Santa Anita in April.

* Trainer Bruce Headley and his son, Gus, were fined $1,500 each by Hollywood Park stewards last Thursday after Gus Headley was found to have been operating as a trainer and running horses in his father's name.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen