10/17/2003 11:00PM

Halfbridled: slow early, slow late

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Halfbridled (outside), with Crystal Brown up, worked six furlongs in 1:16.60 Saturday, the slowest of nine drills at the distance. But trainer Richard Mandella said he was satisfied.

SANTA ANITA PARK

Arcadia, Calif.

Weather: Sunny, 80

Main track: Fast

As usual, the majority of the morning's major action took place almost simultaneously. Halfbridled, Designed for Luck, and Captain Squire worked and Congaree galloped within minutes of each other after the main track reopened following the second renovation break. Trainer Richard Mandella sent out Johar and Dessert to work in company following the third and final renovation break.

Juvenile Fillies

Halfbridled (six furlongs in 1:16.46). Undefeated and untested filly usually zips right along during her works, but she was not asked for speed at any time this morning. Working in company with a stablemate, she went her opening quarter in a leisurely 26.12 seconds, and got to the half in 51.67. She began to edge away from her partner, who also was hard held, once settling into the stretch and completed her work in a slow 1:16.46. The main concern might be the fact she shut down rather quickly once passing the finish line, galloping out with little enthusiasm as she passed by her mate entering the clubhouse turn.

Mile

Designed for Luck (five furlongs in 59.08). The work of the day at Santa Anita. Began in company but quickly drew well clear approaching the quarter pole after ripping off opening fractions of 23.22 and 34.53. Continued to keep up a brisk pace down the stretch while going along very comfortably under his own power, completing five furlongs in 59.08 before galloping out to the seven-eighths pole in a brisk 1:11.53 and continuing on willingly around the turn. Appears to be coming up to the Mile in peak condition.

Sprint

Captain Squire (five furlongs from the gate in 45.80, according to track clockers). Broke from the gate with a pair of workmates, Crown Fever and Mountain Village, but left both in the dust with far and away the fastest of 54 works at the distance on Saturday's tab. Worked without blinkers after being equipped with them for the first time in the afternoon when he finished second in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup. He reportedly will race without blinkers in the Sprint.

Filly and Mare Turf

Dessert (seven furlongs in 1:25.41). Worked in company with stablemate Johar and was very rank jogging to the pole once turned loose by the pony rider near midstretch. Settled down well enough once she got into her work and remained on even terms while racing inside Johar through comfortable fractions of 25.13, 49.13, and 1:12.76. But she quickly lost contact with her partner during her gallop-out, which she completed in an ordinary 1:40.38.

Turf

Johar (seven furlongs in 1:25.41). Was more impressive than Dessert. Appeared to be going more easily than her before the wire, and galloped out very strongly (a mile in 1:38.41) into and then out of the turn. An excellent main-track prep for this grass specialist.

HOLLYWOOD PARK

Inglewood, Calif.

Main track: Fast

Only three Breeders' Cup horses worked across town at Hollywood Park, two of whom, Decarchy and Megahertz, were from trainer Bobby Frankel's barn.

Ten Most Wanted (Classic) highlighted the tab, posting the third best of 41 five-furlong works when he went in 1:00. Decarchy (Mile) was not too far behind, covering the same distance in 1:00.20, while Megahertz (Filly and Mare Turf) was in timed six furlongs in 1:14 by Hollywood Park clockers.

All works timed by Mike Welsch except where otherwise noted.

Hawthorne Race Course

Stickney, Ill.

Weather: Clear, 63

Main track: Fast

Unbeaten Cactus Ridge turned in his final workout before the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Saturday, breezing a snappy five furlongs in 1:00.20 just after 12:30 p.m. at Hawthorne Race Course.

Working over a pristine racetrack about 40 minutes before the first race on Hawthorne's card, Cactus Ridge worked from the five-furlong marker under his race rider, Eddie Martin. Cactus Ridge was timed in fractions of 11.80 seconds, 24.20, 36.60, and 48.

Martin continued to urge Cactus Ridge passing the wire, and he basically worked to the seven-eighths pole in an excellent 1:13.40 before galloping out to the three-quarters pole in 1:27.40 for seven furlongs.

Cactus Ridge, as he always does, went smoothly, gliding over the surface and running faster than it appeared. His stride is shorter than that of a true route horse, but Cactus Ridge turned off and relaxed for Martin on the backstretch after starting his work with a quick opening furlong, and he ran the stretch well.

Cactus Ridge has yet to change leads in a race, but changed on cue at the top of the stretch in this work.

"I thought he went great," said trainer Bret Calhoun. "I really didn't want him to go that fast, but he does everything so easily. I would rather have had him go in about 1:02. I was just looking for a good maintenance work from him."

Cactus Ridge has easily won all four of his races, including the Ellis Park Juvenile and the Arlington-Washington Futurity in his last two starts. The Breeders' Cup will be his first start around two turns.

On Tuesday, Cactus Ridge will travel by van from Hawthorne to Churchill. Wednesday, about noon, he flies to California.

- Marcus Hersh