01/03/2005 12:00AM

If track's wet, House of Fortune's out


ARCADIA, Calif. - Her throat is cleared of the ulcer that hindered her performances last fall. She is training great. But House of Fortune despises an off track, and if the continued wet weather lasts until Wednesday at Santa Anita, as predicted, the probable favorite in the $75,000 Kalookan Queen Handicap will sit it out.

The Kalookan Queen, at 6 1/2 furlongs for older fillies and mares, came up surprisingly strong for a midweek stakes race. In addition to House of Fortune, the winner of the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks, the race drew Dream of Summer, who has won her last five races, and Barbara Orr, who lost narrowly against Dream of Summer in Del Mar's Rancho Bernardo Handicap.

Seven others are entered, but the field figures to shrink, based on the long-range weather forecast.

For Ron McAnally, the trainer of , the scenario is pretty clear-cut. "If it's an off track, she won't run. If it's fast, she'll go," he said Monday.

McAnally's reticence to run in the mud goes back to last year's Kentucky Oaks. Before the race, and immediately after it, House of Fortune was racing in top form. But on that day, on a rain-slicked track, "she didn't run worth a damn," McAnally said.

Heading into Wednesday's race, McAnally said House of Fortune couldn't be doing any better.

"Her ulcer's gone. Her epiglottis is healed. She's doing real well," he said.

The ulcerated throat was discovered after House of Fortune finished seventh and last in Keeneland's Spinster Stakes.

House of Fortune has not sprinted since last year's Santa Ynez Stakes, when she finished second to Yearly Report.

If House of Fortune defects, will be an overwhelming favorite. Except for a poor performance on turf, she has fired every time and is a photo finish away from being unbeaten on dirt. Dream of Summer has not raced since defeating Yearly Report in the California Cup Matron two months ago.

Barbara Orr, who is returning to a sprint after a poor performance in the Lady's Secret Handicap, is making her first start since being transferred to trainer Jay Robbins on Dec. 12. Robbins also trains Mazella, but because of different ownership, they are not coupled in the wagering. Robbins said he was hoping for a second-level allowance race for both, but could not get a race like that to fill.