10/30/2002 1:00AM

Ivanavinalot getting a month of rest


MIAMI - Ivanavinalot, a late scratch out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, will head to owner Gil Campbell's Stonehedge Farm in Ocala later this week for a month of rest and relaxation.

Kathleen O'Connell, trainer of Ivanavinalot, explained the chain of events that led to her decision to keep Ivanavinalot, the only south Florida-based entrant in the 2002 Breeders' Cup, home last weekend.

"She left some feed in her tub on Wednesday night, and she had never missed an oat before," said O'Connell. "Not even after her races.

"And I also noticed she was sneezing when I galloped her the next morning. So to be on the safe side I pulled a blood and learned she had an elevated white count, which meant she was on the verge of getting sick. At that point I just had to pull the plug. There was no sense going to the Breeders' Cup with a horse that wasn't 100 percent."

O'Connell said informing Campbell of her decision to scratch Ivanavinalot from the Juvenile Fillies was one of the most difficult tasks of her training career.

"I'd have rather gotten run over by a herd of buffalos than have had to place that phone call to Mr. Campbell," she said. "Obviously, not being able to compete in the Breeders' Cup is disappointing. I'm convinced she'd have made a good showing, especially with the racetrack favoring her style of running. We'll freshen her up a bit on the farm, bring her back here in about 30 days, and get her ready for the Gulfstream meet. Eventually, if all goes well, she'll get a chance to meet those same fillies somewhere down the road next season."

Ivanavinalot ends her 2-year-old campaign with five victories in six starts and earnings of more than $400,000. A homebred daughter of West Acre, Ivanavinalot closed out the year by establishing a Florida Stallion Series record with her 13 3/4-length triumph in the My Dear Girl Stakes.

Name trainers returning to Gulf

If the list of stall applications for the 2003 Gulfstream meeting is any indication, racing fans can count on seeing a vast improvement this winter over the disappointing 2002 Gulfstream season.

Among the notable additions are D. Wayne Lukas, who will once again have a full barn of 29 runners stabled on the grounds following a two-year absence; Niall O'Callaghan, who also returns with a full contingent after stabling at the Fair Grounds in recent years; Steve Asmussen, the nation's winningest trainer, who has been granted 14 stalls; and Richard Dutrow, who was allotted 32 stalls at the new Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, forced to split his stable between Gulfstream and the Fair Grounds in 2002, will have over 60 horses bedded down in south Florida this winter with 29 at Gulfstream and another 32 at Palm Meadows. Mark Shuman, who trails only Scott Lake in the standings at Delaware Park, will also have 60 stalls split between Gulfstream and Palm Meadows. Gulfstream opens on Jan. 3.

Overall handle up for meet

The 2002 Tropical at Calder meet began last Saturday and comes on the heels of another successful Calder session.

Combined average daily intertrack and interstate wagering for the 128 meet was up 11.2 percent over the previous season, while the combined all-sources handle increased by 2.9 percent from 2001. Ontrack handle increased by 0.4 per cent.

Both the Summit of Speed and Festival of the Sun cards set record handles. The $8.8 million wagered on the Summit of Speed card established a new mark that stood until more than $9 million was bet on the Festival of the Sun program on Oct. 12.

Bill White easily won his sixth consecutive Calder training title, Cornelio Velasquez similarly ran away with his second straight jockeys crown while Farnsworth Farms' Michael Sherman was far and away the meet's leading owner.