08/11/2003 11:00PM

Harty has another big shot


DEL MAR, Calif. - Having already taken last weekend's Sorrento Stakes with the filly Tizdubai, trainer Eoin Harty is looking for a sweep of Del Mar's preps for the meet's two major stakes races for 2-year-olds when he sends out Ruler's Court in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Best Pal Stakes.

Ruler's Court was a sharp winner of his debut at Hollywood Park, but then was beaten as the odds-on favorite in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship. He tuned up for the Best Pal by working five furlongs in 1:01.60 on Tuesday morning with exercise rider Jane Steiner.

"He went really nice," said Alex Hassinger Jr., the top assistant to Harty. "He had a fast work last week. This was just a breeze. He went straight as a pin. He worked fantastic."

Hassinger said a poor start compromised the chances of Ruler's Court in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship. "He grabbed a quarter. His back legs were all scraped up," Hassinger said. "He was scrambling around. It took a lot of energy to get back into the race. He struggled. He seems to like this track a lot. Hopefully he can redeem himself."

Military Mandate, expected to challenge Ruler's Court, worked a half-mile in 48.20 seconds for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. In addition to Military Mandate and Ruler's Court, the field for the Best Pal is expected to include Badgett's Mandate, Blairs Roarin Star, Capitano, Last Time in Town, Perfect Moon, and Siphonizer.

The 6 1/2-furlong Best Pal is this track's prep for the Sept. 10 Del Mar Futurity. The Sorrento is a prep for the Del Mar Debutante.

Tizdubai may skip Debutante

Tizdubai emerged from her Sorrento victory in good shape, according to Harty, but he may keep her out of the Debutante while still pointing for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.

Two years ago, Harty won the Sorrento with Tempera, but she regressed in the Debutante. Harty backed off, and brought Tempera fresh into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, which she won.

"I might wait until Oak Tree," Harty said. "One thing I learned with Tempera is that it's hard for these fillies to dance every dance."

If Tizdubai skips the Debutante, Harty said he would likely use the Oak Leaf Stakes as a prep for the Breeders' Cup.

"I don't want to make the same mistakes I made with Tempera," Harty said. "Those mistakes were mine, not hers."

Harty said the difference between Tempera and Tizdubai is "night and day."

"This filly is very talented, but Tempera was a once-in-a-lifetime filly," said Harty, a former assistant to Bob Baffert. "I was around horses like Silverbulletday and Chilukki when I was working for Baffert, but I've never seen one with the brilliance that Tempera had. Hopefully this filly will prove me wrong."

Big brother back, too

Tizdubai's older brother, the 4-year-old Tizbud, is back on the work tab at Del Mar as he prepares for a comeback. Tizbud, like Tuzdubai, is a full brother to Tiznow and Budroyale. Tizbud has not raced since fracturing the shin in his left front leg in the San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita in January. He had a three-furlong work in 36.40 seconds on Sunday.

"The plan is to have him ready for Oak Tree," said John Sadler, who trains Tizbud. "He needed surgery when he got hurt. It was a little hairline fracture. He had some screws put in, but they're out now. He has all his allowance conditions, so we'll start him off in a condition race and see where to go from there."

Romping win for Excess Summer

Excess Summer, turning back to a dirt sprint after going long on the turf, rallied for an overpowering nine-length victory in Monday's $100,000 Real Good Deal Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.

Exceeding was second, and Houston's Prayer third, with favored Unfurl the Flag fifth in the field of eight.

Excess Summer ($8.80), a gelding by In Excess, was timed in 1:21.93 on the fast main track. Julie Krone picked up the mount, replacing Tyler Baze, who suffered fractures to his left foot and big toe in an accident earlier in the day.

"When horses turn back, they're quite strong," Krone said.

* After the first three weeks of the meet, Krone leads a tightly packed jockeys' race with 17 victories. Patrick Valenzuela has 16, and Victor Espinoza, Mike Smith, and Alex Solis have 15 apiece. Baffert has 12 victories to lead all trainers. Jeff Mullins is second with eight.

* In a drill designed strictly as maintenance, Congaree worked a half-mile Tuesday at Del Mar, according to Baffert, though the drill did not make the track's official work tab. Congaree is expected to make his next start in next month's Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park, Baffert said.

* Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. has been suspended by the stewards for three days, beginning Friday, after his mount, Stratus, was disqualified from second in Sunday's seventh race.

* Fly to the Wire, who won Saturday's ninth race, is owned by tennis great Jack Kramer, 83, who was joined in the winner's circle by his wife, Gloria, and longtime friend and playing partner Ted Schroeder. Kramer lives in nearby La Jolla.

* Tuesday marked the 65th anniversary of Seabiscuit's victory over Ligaroti in a match race at Del Mar. It preceded by three months Seabiscuit's match race against War Admiral in the Pimlico Special.

* Speaking of anniversaries, Azeri's victory on Sunday came seven years to the day that Cigar suffered a stunning upset in the Pacific Classic, denying him a record 17th consecutive victory. Cigar was bred and owned by Allen Paulson, who also bred Azeri before his death.

* A polo match between jockeys and trainers will be held Thursday night after the races at the San Diego Polo Club, just east of the track off of Via de la Valle. Proceeds from the $25 admission price benefit the California Equine Retirement Foundation.