08/08/2003 11:00PM

It's back to work for Ladies Din

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Ladies Din, the 8-year-old millionaire and multiple stakes winner, has been taken out of retirement.

A winner of 12 of 37 starts and $1,966,754, Ladies Din was sent to a local farm in June, but owners Bernie Schiappa and Terry Lanni decided to put the gelding back into training after Schiappa saw him in those surroundings.

"When you looked into his eyes, he didn't look like himself," Schiappa said.

The horse was sent back to trainer Frank Monteleone. On Friday at Del Mar, Ladies Din worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds.

"He's feeling real good and he wants to run," Schiappa said. "Physically, he's fine and not sore anywhere. We'll play it day-by-day. If he shows signs he doesn't want to run, then we'll retire him."

Ladies Din last started in the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park on May 26, finishing sixth of nine. A few days later, he was retired.

Ladies Din's last win came in the 2002 Shoemaker Mile, his final start with trainer Julio Canani. After being turned out because of an injury last summer, Ladies Din resumed training with Monteleone this year. In his first start of 2003, Ladies Din finished fourth as a heavy favorite in the San Francisco Breeders' Cup Handicap at Bay Meadows in April.

Schiappa said the recent Shoemaker Mile was not a true indication of Ladies Din's ability.

"When he ran the last time, his blood wasn't right," he said. "He probably shouldn't have run his last race."

Although no specific comeback races have been selected, Schiappa has ambitious plans for Ladies Din and hopes the horse will be ready for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Schiappa said the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 5 would be used as a prep race.

"I'm going to win the Breeders' Cup with this horse," Schiappa said.

Ladies Din finished eighth in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.

Eye of the Tiger Travers-bound

Eye of the Tiger, who finished in a dead heat for third in the $400,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 13, is being pointed for the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 23. Alex Solis has been booked to ride, according to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

"We're on target," Hollendorfer said.

Eye of the Tiger was also considered for the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 24, but Hollendorfer said the colt will be shipped to New York on Aug. 19.

Owned by John Gunther, Eye of the Tiger has won 3 of 8 starts and $221,329. Eye of the Tiger's lone stakes win came in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park in June, his first start since finishing fifth in the Kentucky Derby.

As of Saturday, there were only four probables for the Pacific Classic - Candy Ride, Kudos, Milwaukee Brew, and Peace Rules.

Four stakes on tap this week

Devious Boy and Sweet Return, the winners of divisions of the Oceanside Stakes on July 23, are scheduled to return in Saturday's $150,000 La Jolla Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

The La Jolla is one of four stakes at Del Mar between Wednesday and Sunday. Wednesday's feature is the $75,000 Osunitas Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles on turf. There are two $150,000 stakes on Sunday - the Best Pal Stakes for 2-year-olds over 6 1/2 furlongs and the Pat O'Brien Handicap over seven furlongs.

The La Jolla field will include Fairly Ransom, Ministers Wild Cat, Senor Swinger, and Stanley Park. The race is a prep for the $300,000 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 6.

Senor Swinger will be well-backed. He won a pair of Grade 3's, the the Crown Royal American Turf and Jefferson Cup, at Churchill Downs in May and June, but was unplaced in his last start - the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in early July.

The Best Pal Stakes is a prep for the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 10, a race that trainer Bob Baffert has won for seven consecutive years. He does not have the same record in the Best Pal, having only won that race for four of the last five years.

This year, Baffert is unlikely to have a starter in the Best Pal. The candidates include Badgett's Mandate, Blairs Roarin Star, Capitano, Last Time in Town, Military Mandate, Perfect Moon, Ruler's Court, and Siphonizer.

Perfect Moon, Blairs Roarin Star and Ruler's Court were the first three finishers of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship at Hollywood Park on July 19.

Yankee Gentleman headed to a stakes

Yankee Gentleman's sharp comeback victory in an allowance race on Thursday has earned him a spot in an upcoming stakes race, according to his trainer, John Shirreffs. Yankee Gentleman, a 4-year-old son of Storm Cat who races for Marty and Pam Wygod, was making his first start since being transferred to Shirreffs's barn. With Patrick Valenzuela riding, he won by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:15.95 for 6 1/2 furlongs in his first race in one year.

Shirreffs said he is considering the Grade 2, $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap at one mile on Sept. 1, or the $75,000 Live the Dream Handicap at one mile on turf on Sept. 10.

"I don't think I want to run him back in a sprint. I want to stretch him out," Shirreffs said.

Yankee Gentleman is one of five horses whom the Wygods recently transferred to Shirreffs. He is the most accomplished of those five.

"He had been training very well. His works were good going into the race," Shirreffs said. "I was surprised he got a little bit tough in the race, when Patrick tried to restrain him. He hadn't done that before. He ducked to the outside, then the inside, then straightened himself and went on. He's deceptive. He glides over the ground. You have no idea how fast he's going."

Another horse Shirreffs has for the Wygods is Soul Comfort, a Gone West filly whom Shirreffs holds in high regard.

* Marvin Root, who published the magazine The California Horseman and owned stakes winners including The Bagel King, died recently at the age of 81 at his home in Crescent City, Calif. He is survived by his wife, Carol.

- Additional reporting by Jay Privman