07/28/2002 11:00PM

Grass stars find Chicago appealing

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DEL MAR, Calif. - The top two finishers in both Grade 1 grass stakes this past weekend at Del Mar all could be headed to Arlington Park for their next starts on Aug. 17, though those going to the Arlington Million are more likely than those eligible for the Beverly D.

Sarafan and Beat Hollow, who finished one-two in Sunday's Eddie Read Handicap, are both being pointed to the Arlington Million. Affluent and Golden Apples, who finished one-two in Saturday's John C. Mabee/Ramona Handicap for fillies and mares, could run in the Beverly D., though their status is less certain.

Neil Drysdale, who trains Sarafan, on Monday said he was happy with the way his horse came out of the race. Although Sarafan will be moving from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/4 miles, Drysdale pointed out that Sarafan has been effective from one mile to 1 3/8 miles.

"It's not really a matter of distance with him. It's more a matter of timing his run," Drysdale said.

Ron McAnally, who trains Affluent, this past weekend successfully ducked the Laura deSeroux-trained tag team of Astra and Azeri. Affluent had finished second to Azeri in three consecutive Grade 1 races on the dirt, and switched back to the turf for the Ramona only when McAnally was assured Astra would skip the race.

Astra, however, is on target for the Beverly D., so McAnally will have to run Affluent against her if he chooses that race. Azeri is scheduled to run next in the Clement Hirsch Handicap here on Aug. 11, which comes up too quickly for Affluent.

Golden Apples, whose closing kick was compromised by a slow pace, is more certain for the Beverly D., though trainer Ben Cecil said he wants to see how the light-framed filly trains in the interim. The Ramona was her first start in three months.

"I want to see her put on a little weight," Cecil said.

Tizbud stretches out

Tizbud, the well-regarded full brother to Tiznow and Budroyale, will stretch out around two turns for his second lifetime start when he faces maidens in Wednesday's third race at one mile.

Tizbud was third in his debut going six furlongs at Hollywood Park. His trainer, John Sadler, expects an improved effort this time.

"We didn't expect him to be a sprinter. He's got a big, long, galloping stride," Sadler said. "Even though we knew he wasn't a sprinter, I don't like to start horses out going long. All things considered, I was happy with his race."

Tizbud has had two works since his debut, but only one will show up in his past performances. According to Sadler, when Tizbud drilled on Thursday with jockey Victor Espinoza, the work was obscured by the thick bank of fog that descended on the track during training hours.

"You couldn't catch the work. No way. He went well, according to Victor. He went six furlongs and galloped out seven-eighths," Sadler said.

"He gallops out really strong in all his works," Sadler added. "Wednesday's race is what he's supposed to do. And I think we're right where we're supposed to be with him."

Bear Fan ready for tougher foes

Bear Fan, who crushed California-bred fillies in Sunday's Fleet Treat Stakes, likely will take on open stakes company in her next start in the Grade 3, $150,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap on Aug. 25, according to Wesley Ward, who bred, trains, and is co-owner of the 3-year-old filly.

"The first couple of races gave her experience. Now she's ready for bigger and better things," Ward said.

Bear Fan is one of the most exciting newcomers on this circuit. She won the Fleet Treat by 7 1/2 lengths in 1:22.72 for seven furlongs and has now won all three of her starts. She has yet, however, to face open company; all three of her victories have been in races restricted to California-breds.

Bear Fan did not make her first start until April 28. Ward said he did not run Bear Fan at age 2 because "she was so big I wanted to give her some time."

"I've been very patient with her," Ward said. "I gave her a lot of time to come into herself."

A daughter of Pine Bluff, Bear Fan was bred by Ward. Two weeks before her first start, Ward sold half of the filly to Peter Fan, a Hong Kong businessman who spends four months of the year at a home in Corona Del Mar, Calif.

"As a foal, she was a beautiful foal, but you can never tell what's inside," Ward said. "She's got a great turn of foot, and she's got a great mind."

* Jockey Gary Stevens took off his mounts on Monday and will be out indefinitely. He is scheduled to be evaluated Wednesday by a physician, according to the rider's agent, Craig O'Bryan. Stevens "banged his knee leaving the starting gate" in a race over the weekend, O'Bryan said.

* Palmeiro, who is scheduled to run in Sunday's $250,000 San Diego Handicap, worked seven furlongs in 1:26.20 Monday morning.

* Trainer Jason Mamakos and his wife, Christine Hicklin Mamakos, had their first child, daughter Zoe, on Saturday morning. Mamakos is the son of long-time owner and breeder Jim Mamakos.

* Linda Ross and Jon Kelly have been elected to the board of directors of the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation. Leonard Dorfman, Doris Johnson, and Dr. Ralph Steiger were re-elected to two-year terms. The CTHF provides health care and other amenities for backstretch employees such as grooms and hot walkers.

* Recently retired quarterback Ryan Leaf, who had a contentious time in San Diego when playing for the Chargers, was at Del Mar on Sunday and got into a heated exchange with a mutuel clerk just outside the press box after the last race. Leaf had hit a trifecta that was subject to IRS withholding, and he claimed not to have any identification.