01/22/2002 1:00AM

Jerry Bailey, California boy


ARCADIA, Calif. - For a guy based this winter in Florida, Jerry Bailey might as well get a permanent locker in the jockeys' room at Santa Anita, too. Bailey was here last week to ride Siphonic in the Santa Catalina Stakes, and he will return two times in the next three weeks, both times to ride horses trained by Bobby Frankel.

This Sunday, Bailey will be aboard Squirtle Squirt, who will be making his first start since his victory in the Breeders' Cup Sprint when he heads the Grade 2, $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap at six furlongs. And then on Feb. 10, Bailey will return to ride the 3-year-old filly You in the Grade 1, $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes.

The Palos Verdes should have a strong field. In addition to Squirtle Squirt, others expected to start are Ceeband (Matt Garcia the rider), Explicit (Kent Desormeaux), Men's Exclusive (Laffit Pincay Jr.), Silky Sweep (Gary Stevens), and Snow Ridge (Mike Smith). Stormy Jack is a possibility.

Ceeband flew through a five-furlong work in 58.40 seconds on Sunday morning at Santa Anita, equaling the best time of 70 at the distance. At Hollywood Park, Squirtle Squirt worked six furlongs in 1:13.

Mr. Headley takes on King Lukas

There may be no more than four older fillies and mares in Saturday's Grade 1, $200,000 Santa Monica Handicap over seven furlongs, but the field will include Spain, who won the 2000 Breeders' Cup Distaff and was second in that race last year, and Kalookan Queen, who was second in the Santa Monica two years ago to Honest Lady and comes off a six-length victory in a prep race last month at Hollywood Park.

"Tell King Lukas to buckle up," Bruce Headley, the trainer of Kalookan Queen, said in reference to Spain's trainer, D. Wayne Lukas. "Kalookan Queen is ready to go."

Victor Espinoza, as usual, will be on Spain, and regular rider Alex Solis is on Kalookan Queen.

Favorite Funtime (Stevens) is also definite for the race. A possibility is Warren's Whistle (Desormeaux).

Easy to hop on Derby trail

The depth of the nation's 3-year-old pool is so shallow at this point that horses who win maiden races stylishly aren't many steps from joining the elite. That makes both Traditional and Sunday Break, who won maiden races during the holiday weekend, worth following.

Traditional, a handsome son of Gone West trained by D. Wayne Lukas, stretched out in his second start and won a 1 1/16-mile race by a half-length over odds-on favorite Battler Bob on Sunday. Traditional was bred and is owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, who won the Kentucky Derby with Silver Charm in 1997 and Charismatic in 1999.

"We haven't really been bearing down on him yet," Lukas said of Traditional. "He's still carrying a lot of weight. He's a big, robust horse, like Charismatic was."

Lukas said he was uncertain whether Traditional would return in an entry-level allowance race, or run in the $75,000 Sham Stakes, a restricted race on Feb. 8.

Sunday Break drew clear for an impressive victory in a seven-furlong race on Monday for trainer Neil Drysdale, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2000 with Fusaichi Pegasus. Sunday Break, a son of Forty Niner who was bred in Japan, was making his third lifetime start. Stevens was aboard.

"I liked the way he ran. He was very professional," Drysdale said. "He had a terrible trip last time. Gary said he bounced off the rail five or six times. It was amazing he recovered and finished third."

Drysdale said he was not sure where Sunday Break would make his next start.

All in the family

One of the best horses owned by Jan Whitham and her late husband, Frank, was Bayakoa, a two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff for trainer Ron McAnally. So it was especially sweet for Whitham and McAnally to win Sunday's El Encino Stakes with Affluent, a granddaughter of Bayakoa.

Affluent's dam, the Strawberry Road mare Trinity Place, was the first foal produced by Bayakoa. But she had crooked legs, and wore braces as a weanling, McAnally said. She was later put into training, but was too unsound to race.

Her career was not over, though. "They went out and found the most correct stallion they could find," McAnally said. Trinity Place was bred to Affirmed. The result was Affluent.

"She's not unlike her grandmother," McAnally said. "She's fine on the track, but at the barn, she'll get scared and jump around. Bayakoa was always nervous. This filly is a lot calmer on the track."

* Liberty Run, who was eased after setting the pace in the maiden race won by Traditional, "displaced his palate," according to trainer Bob Baffert, and will have throat surgery.

* Peggy Whittingham, the widow of Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham, was at the races on Monday and presented the trophy following the San Marcos Handicap. She ended up having a reunion with Drysdale, who trained the winner, Irish Prize. Drysdale was a former assistant to Charlie Whittingham, and when Drysdale was inducted into the Hall of Fame two years ago, he asked Peggy Whittingham to be his presenter.

* Lido Palace, preparing for the Grade 1, $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 9, worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 on Monday morning at Hollywood Park for Frankel. It was the best time of five at the distance.

* Hollywood Starlet winner Habibti worked five furlongs in 1:00 on Sunday in preparation for a rematch with Starlet runner-up You in the Las Virgenes.

* D'Wildcat, who has not raced since his runaway victory in last year's Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park, is nearing a return to the races. He worked five furlongs in 1:00 on Sunday at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Hess Jr. "We're pointing for the San Carlos," Hess said of the Grade 1, seven-furlong stakes on March 3. "We want to keep him in Grade 1 races. His major goal this spring is the Met Mile." D'Wildcat was sidelined with an injury to his right shoulder.