12/23/2004 12:00AM

House of Fortune eyes Millions

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Shout to the North drops into the Cal Breeders' Champion after going 2 for 4 against open company in Canada.

ARCADIA, Calif. - House of Fortune would have been one of the leading contenders in Monday's Grade 1 La Brea Stakes, but trainer Ron McAnally opted to keep her out of the race and instead await the 6 1/2-furlong Kalookan Queen Handicap on Jan. 5. She has not raced since finishing last of seven in the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 10.

"She had an ulcer in her throat, and her epiglottis was entrapped," McAnally said. "We sprayed her throat with medication. It really looks good now. She's only had one six-furlong work coming back. I want to wait for that 6 1/2-furlong race, then stretch her out three weeks later in the Sunshine Millions."

The $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff, restricted to California- and Florida-breds, is at 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Jan. 29.

Wide-open field in Cal Breeders

Bartok Lady looms an elusive target in Monday's supporting feature, the $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies going seven furlongs. In a wide-open field of 11, the lightly raced filly might try to take this field from gate to wire.

Bartok Lady defeated a 13-horse maiden field first time out at Hollywood Park on Nov. 20. Her Beyer Speed Figure of 76 was only moderate, but it is one of the top figs in this field, and she should improve off that outing.

Memorette returns to a race restricted to Cal-breds and to a sprint after chasing the likes of Sweet Catomine and Splendid Blended in her last two starts.

Home Ice also should appreciate a return to one turn. She was second to Splendid Blended in a Hollywood Park allowance race on Nov. 14. Splendid Blended subsequently captured the Hollywood Starlet.

Yodeladytoo crushed Cal-bred maidens by seven lengths in her debut, then was third in an open allowance race on Nov. 25. She should get a good stalking trip from post 10.

Shout to the North was sent to Woodbine earlier this year to showcase her hot young sire, Old Topper. She did well there, winning twice in four outings. This is a tougher circuit, but she is dropping into a restricted race after facing open company.

Marketing vice president fired

Michael Gilligan, who was hired in September as the vice president of marketing and sales at Santa Anita, was fired less than one week before the meet opened. Several Santa Anita employees said Gilligan's working relationship with rank-and-file employees had become untenable because of an abrasive, confrontational style.

Jack McDaniel, Santa Anita's president, said Gilligan "is still available to advise us, as necessary."

McDaniel said that until Santa Anita hires a replacement, the marketing department "will report directly to me."

De Seroux gets Triple Crown winner

Trotamundo, who on Dec. 18 completed a sweep of the Chilean Triple Crown, is heading to the United States and will be trained by Laura de Seroux. The last Chilean Triple Crown winner was Lido Palace, who was a major stakes winner in this country for trainer Bobby Frankel.

"He should be here within a couple of weeks," de Seroux said. "With the time he will need to acclimate, he probably won't be seen until the spring."

De Seroux said 50 percent of Trotamundo has been purchased by Steve Markoff, a Los Angeles attorney. Markoff also has a majority interest in the turf filly Ask for the Moon, who is scheduled to run in the San Gorgonio Handicap on Jan. 8.

Malibu Moon much in demand

Malibu Moon, the sire of Hollywood Futurity winner Declan's Moon, has seen his popularity skyrocket this fall. With Declan's Moon now the front-runner to be named 2-year-old male champion, Malibu Moon has become a sought-after stallion.

"We had 110 mares booked to him, and in the last week there have probably been 100 calls of people trying to get mares to him," said B. Wayne Hughes, who raced Malibu Moon and retains a 50-percent interest in the son of A.P. Indy.

Malibu Moon stands at Castleton Lyons Farm in Kentucky.

* Monday's card also features an allowance race at 1 1/16 miles for 2-year-olds. The heavy favorite should be Spanish Chestnut, who has a win and two second-place finishes in three starts. He is using Monday's third race as a prep for next month's San Rafael Stakes.

* Ivan Puhich, the agent for jockey Tyler Baze, turned 79 on Wednesday and celebrated by flying to San Francisco for the day and treating himself to lunch at his favorite restaurant, Tadich Grill. "I've been going there since I was 7 years old," Puhich said.

* Among the visitors at Santa Anita in the days preceding the meet's opening was former baseball star Dick Allen, a long-time friend of jockey agent Tony Matos.