06/15/2007 12:00AM

Harvard Avenue gets a prep


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A last-minute decision led trainer Doug O'Neill to enter Harvard Avenue for Sunday's $60,000 Flame Thrower Stakes at Hollywood Park. The restricted stakes is not the sort of race that O'Neill hoped that Harvard Avenue would be eligible for at this time of year.

The six-furlong Flame Thrower is restricted to horses who have not won a first-place purse of $60,000 or more since March 1. Harvard Avenue has started once since March 1, finishing fourth in the most lucrative sprint of the spring, the $2omillion Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 31.

Harvard Avenue finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Kelly's Landing, closing from the back of the pack to be closest at the finish. Thor's Echo, the champion sprinter of 2006, finished sixth in the field of 16.

"He ran dynamite," O'Neill said of Harvard Avenue. "He beat Thor's Echo, which I don't know if he could have done on home ground."

Owned by Ron Crockett, the owner of Emerald Downs racetrack in Washington, Harvard Avenue is being pointed for the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap at seven furlongs on July 7.

"We didn't have any intent on running in this race," O'Neill said of the Flame Thrower. "When we realized it was a short field, we decided to take the blinkers off and use it as a prep to the Triple Bend."

Harvard Avenue has four rivals in the Flame Thrower, and none is a stakes winner this year. Northern Soldier and Turnbolt finished third and fourth in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap on May 12, One Union was fourth in an optional claimer on May 17, and Scottsbluff was second in the Bullet Stakes on turf on May 18.

Miller's juveniles looking good

Trainer Peter Miller's stable is loaded with promising 2-year-old males. The evidence arrived with the win by Thoroughly in the Willard Proctor Memorial in May and the maiden win by Whatever Whenever on June 10.

Sunday, Miller will try for a breakthrough in the filly division when Set Play and Princess Susan M start as an entry in a $46,000 maiden special weight at 5 1/2 furlongs. Owned by Gerson Racing, Set Play, by Van Nistelrooy, was purchased for $105,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. auction of 2-year-olds in training in March. Princess Susan M, by Jump Start, was purchased for $50,000 at the same sale.

Set Play has worked from the gate in two of her last three workouts at San Luis Rey Downs training center, where Miller is based.

"I think she's very good," he said. "She has a real big kick."

Of the pair's chances, Miller said, "I don't have them completely cranked up."

The field of 12 features nine first-time starters, including Foxy Danseur, purchased for $280,000 at the Ocala sale and owned by Charlie Cono, and Ididntmeantoo, purchased for $200,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale last summer.

Ididntmeantoo, a Fusaichi Pegasus filly, was offered at the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training but was bought back for $290,000. She is owned by Jack Mandato.

"We've been trying to get her to carry her speed a little further," said O'Neill, Ididntmeantoo's trainer.

Capestro thinking Breeders' Cup

A convincing win by River's Prayer in Thursday's $99,175 Great Lady M. Stakes on turf has left trainer Paula Capestro contemplating the newly created $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Monmouth Park in October for the 4-year-old filly.

River's Prayer has won three consecutive stakes, all on turf, and was a stakes winner on dirt at 2. She has won half of her 14 starts and $516,758 for a partnership that includes Capestro.

In the Great Lady M., River's Prayer broke slowly, stalked pacesetter Silly Little Mama through a quick pace, and drew off to win by two lengths, finishing six furlongs in 1:08.21.

"She broke flat-footed," Capestro said. "It proved she doesn't need the lead."

Capestro is considering the $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug.o17 for River's Prayer, a race that could lead to the Breeders' Cup.

"It might be a little optimistic," Capestro said of the Breeders' Cup. "It's on my mind. It depends on how we fit."

Two purses redistributed

The purses of two races run at Santa Anita in 2006 and 2007 have been ordered redistributed after runners who earned prize money in those races tested positive for banned substances.

A postrace urine test taken from YouandIatdelmar after the first race on March 20, 2006, revealed that the runner-up tested positive for methamphetamine, a banned medication listed in Class 1, the most severe category.

YouandIatdelmar finished second in a two-furlong maiden race for 2-year-olds, earning $7,200, which co-owners Richie Goswell and Gregory Vartanian were ordered to forfeit.

A ruling issued Thursday by Hollywood Park stewards states that the purse for the second- through fifth -place finishers will be redistributed to the owners of Sota de Oros, Seattle TR, Mancini Martini, and Star Cruisen.

The stewards on Thursday also disqualified runner-up Super Harmony from purse money for the first race at Santa Anita on Jan. 28. Super Harmony tested positive for the prohibited medications hydroxyzine and cetirizine, which are listed as Class 3 medications.

Super Harmony earned $5,400 for owner Nick Cafarchia. The purse will be redistributed to the owners of Rival Islands, Old Ed, Seliman, and Breakfastatbully's.

Hydroxyzine, a prohibited antihistamine, is used to treat allergies. Cetirizine is a metabolite of hydroxyzine.

The trainers involved had not been sanctioned as of Thursday; Oscar Garcia trained Super Harmony at the time of the positive, and Vartanian trained YouandIatdelmar.

Trainers whose horses test positive for medications in classes 1, 2, and 3 are subject to possible fines and/or suspensions.

More wax for Del Mar

Del Mar will add an additional coat of wax to its newly installed Polytrack synthetic surface on Julyo9, the first day the track will be fully available for maintenance following the conclusion of the San Diego county fair.

According to the track's director of racing, Tom Robbins, Del Mar officials plan to allow horses on the backstretch on July 10 and open the track for training on July 11. The meeting begins on July 18.