01/18/2003 12:00AM

It's Millions Turf for Mayakovsky


ARCADIA, Calif. - Mayakovsky, a multiple stakes winner who won his first start on turf in an allowance race at Santa Anita on Jan. 9, will return in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Trainer Patrick Biancone pre-entered Mayakovsky in the Turf and $1 million Classic on dirt at Gulfstream Park, but has chosen to stay at home and try a field he thinks will be easier.

The Turf and Classic are two of the eight races in the inaugural Sunshine Millions for California-breds and Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita.

"I looked at the pre-entries and the race here is easier," Biancone said on Saturday.

The Turf is expected to draw a full field of 12. The leading contenders are the California-breds Spinelessjellyfish, winner of the Sensational Star Handicap at Santa Anita on Jan. 5, and Turkish Prize, winner of the California Cup Mile last November.

Aside from Mayakovsky, the Florida-bred team is expected to include the graded stakes winners Miesque's Approval, Point Price, and Special Matter.

Mayakovsky has won 3 of 7 starts, including the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct last March. He was ninth in the Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 in his first start since he finished fourth as the favorite in the Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga last August.

Biancone is not concerned about starting Mayakovsky three times within a month.

"I'm happy with that because I haven't been able to do that before," he said. "For whatever reason, he's never put three races together. The race the other day was a workout. The fact he did it so easily and so brilliantly, it opens some more races for him."

Vindication works half-mile

Vindication, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October, breezed a half-mile in 46.80 seconds on Saturday, but the exercise did not put trainer Bob Baffert any closer to announcing where the exciting colt will make his 3-year-old debut.

Vindication worked in company with a stablemate, going the opening quarter-mile in 24 seconds and the final quarter-mile in 22.80 seconds.

Baffert said that Vindication will have "at least two, maybe three" races before the Kentucky Derby. The local options include the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes over a mile on March 1, the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 16, and the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby over 1 1/8 miles on April 5.

Races outside California are also possible.

Summer Wind Dancer turned out

Summer Wind Dancer, the winner of the California Cup Juvenile Fillies who was third in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes, has been turned out for the rest of the winter after a nuclear scan detected a minor shin injury, trainer Jenine Sahadi said.

Sahadi said that Summer Wind Dancer underwent the scan after she noticed a filling in the filly's left ankle. During the extensive test, the more concerning shin injury was revealed.

The 3-year-old Summer Wind Dancer is not expected to return until the second half of the year.

"I think she needed a breather," Sahadi said. "I'll have her ready for Del Mar and the California Cup." The setback has not dimmed Sahadi's expectations of Summer Wind Dancer. The trainer went so far as to predict future stakes wins.

"She's progressed so quickly," Sahadi said. "She was only a maiden winner at Del Mar. She'll win a graded stakes against open company."

Sise may send a string east

Clifford Sise, who operates a public stable in Southern California, said on Saturday that he may split his stable later this year, sending a string of horses to Philadelphia Park.

Sise said his son, Robert, will accompany the string, while he will remain in Southern California with as many as 30 horses.

He cited the escalating cost of workers' compensation insurance as a contributing factor in the potential move.

"It's not a done deal, but I want to try something else," he said. "Racing is not going forward in California, it's going backward. The only place that does good is Del Mar." Sise said that if the division occurs it will happen at the conclusion of the current Santa Anita meeting on April 20.

"It's not a for-sure thing," he said. "If everybody is getting slots back East, it's a good time to test the water."

Training races at Fairplex open house

Fairplex Park is holding an open house on Monday, featuring training races and a preview of the horses who will sell at the Barretts January Mixed Sale, which will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Six training races over about four furlongs are scheduled, beginning at 8:40 a.m. There are four races for 3-year-old maiden colts and geldings, one race for winners, and a race for 3-year-old fillies.

Fairplex Park officials are hoping to make training races a more regular occurrence to give young horses a practice race in advance of their first starts, or before returning to the races after a layoff.

Tentatively, training races for juveniles will be held in coming weeks.

"We're hoping to go with some two-furlong 2-year-old races down the road," said George Bradvica, the Fairplex Park equine manager.

Matlow perfect at the meet

Trainer Richard Matlow is undefeated at the Santa Anita meeting. He won with his fourth consecutive starter in Saturday's second race when Retired Habit ($23.20) came from off the pace to win an allowance race on the hillside turf course.

Retired Habit did not take to his win very well. He appeared to tie up after the race and was hosed down on the racetrack before going to the backstretch.