03/16/2004 12:00AM

Kentucky Oaks next for Silent Sighs


ARCADIA, Calif. - Santa Anita Oaks winner Silent Sighs will be fresh and rested when she makes her next start April 30 in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

"I don't want to run too many times, and she runs huge fresh," said her trainer, Julio Canani.

Silent Sighs was racing for the first time in seven weeks when she won the Santa Anita Oaks by 1 1/2 lengths over Halfbridled on Saturday, and will enter the Kentucky Oaks off a similar pattern. Silent Sighs, a daughter of Benchmark owned and bred by Marty and Pam Wygod, has won 4 of 5 despite a habit of not changing leads.

"Alydar never changed leads either," Canani said, referring to his filly's pedigree. Silent Sighs was sired by Benchmark, a son of Alydar who is a leading sire in California.

Canani will not tinker with the running style of Silent Sights. "You can lose a length or two lengths trying to get them to change," he said.

The win by Silent Sighs shot her to the top of a strong group of California-bred 3-year-old fillies, which includes Yearly Report and House of Fortune.

Adoration will await Vanity

Adoration's two-length win Sunday in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita re-established the Breeders' Cup Distaff winner as one of the top fillies and mares in the country. It's a standing she can hold onto for a while. That is because Adoration will skip the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park, trainer David Hofmans said Tuesday. The April 3 Apple Blossom generally is regarded as the most prestigious filly-mare race of spring.

"The distance is not good for us, there are too many fillies who can sprint away from us at a mile and a sixteenth," Hofmans said. Instead, Adoration will remain in California and aim for the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race May 9 at Hollywood Park. Adoration's win Sunday earned a career-best 107 Beyer Figure, and was her sixth win from 17 starts.

Santa Margarita runner-up Star Parade is likely to ship for the Apple Blossom, according to trainer Darrell Vienna. Star Parade set the pace in the Santa Margarita, but she fought jockey Victor Espinoza the entire trip before tiring. Vienna second-guessed the strategy he and Espinoza planned.

"I think we got in her way; trying to slow her down discouraged her," Vienna said. "Her advantage is she is very fast, and rating her on the lead takes away her best weapon."

Star Parade previously had gone wire to wire in the Grade 1 Santa Maria at Santa Anita and Grade 2 Bayakoa at Hollywood.

Baffert's top fillies lined up for action

Now that Bob Baffert has re-appeared on the Kentucky Derby trail with Louisiana Derby winner Wimbledon and San Felipe winner Preachinatthebar, the trainer will aim to re-establish his 3-year-old fillies Yearly Report, Victory U. S. A., Class Above, and Friendly Michelle. Class Above runs Saturday at Turfway Park in the Bourbonette Breeders' Cup. Baffert said Jerry Bailey will ride the filly, who has worked well since bleeding and finishing seventh Feb. 15 in the Las Virgenes.

Victory U. S. A. runs April 8 in the seven-furlong Stonerside Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland; Yearly Report runs March 27 in the $250,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks; and Friendly Michelle runs Sunday at Santa Anita in the 6 1/2-furlong Santa Paula. Baffert's colts Consecrate and Teton Forest run March 28 at Sunland in the $500,000 WinStar Derby.

Elusive Diva headed to Fantasy

The improving 3-year-old filly Elusive Diva will head to Oaklawn for the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes on April 9. Elusive Diva has raced only three times, winning her last two, including a one-length allowance win going a mile on March 10.

"She's going to be a super filly, it's just too bad I'm a little behind on seasoning with her," trainer Mark Glatt said. Elusive Diva, sired by Elusive Quality, got a late start due to tender shins, but she is quickly making up for lost time.

"She's kind of a big filly, and I had to back off when I got her last fall," Glatt said.

Elusive Diva lost her Jan. 24 debut at even money, then scored by three-quarters of a length Feb. 14 in a maiden sprint before winning the allowance race. Gary Stevens has ridden Elusive Diva in all three starts.

House of Fortune, who won the California Oaks by 17 lengths on March 6 with a 99 Beyer, also could be headed to the Fantasy. Trainer Ron McAnally said the California-bred House of Fortune will run in either the Fantasy or the Grade 1 Ashland on April 3.

McAnally's undefeated older horse Candy Ride is in steady training. Winner of the Pacific Classic last summer, Candy Ride worked a half-mile in the fog on Sunday. The move was not recorded.

* Continental Red, Continuously, and Puerto Banus were assigned top weight of 116 pounds for the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap on Saturday. A large field is expected for the 1 1/2-mile turf race. In addition to the three topweights, others expected to run are Meteor Storm, 115; Labirinto, 114; Researched, 114; Special Matter, 114; Asong for Billy, 113; and White Buck, 112.

* Jockey Corey Nakatani received a stay of a 30-day suspension handed down by track stewards, which will allow him to continue to ride pending an appeal. Stewards suspended Nakatani for a March 6 incident in which Nakatani's mount, Mister Cosmi, interfered with Terrifying and caused that horse to clip heels and unseat jockey Javier Santiago.

* Jockey Alex Solis entered the week with a meet-leading 63 wins, nine more than Tyler Baze and Victor Espinoza, who each had 54 wins. Baze and Espinoza will narrow the gap however, because Solis will miss six days starting on Sunday. Solis rides Burning Sun in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Sunday at Fair Grounds before leaving for Dubai, where he will ride Pleasantly Perfect in the $6 million Dubai World Cup. Solis also rides Our New Recruit, a potential upsetter in the Golden Shaheen on the Dubai undercard.