12/28/2001 12:00AM

Lady George's victory bittersweet


ARCADIA, Calif. - For the second time in as many months, Lady George pulled an upset in a stakes for statebreds with a victory in Friday's $150,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes at Santa Anita.

The latest win, at 8-1, came seven weeks after Lady George won the California Cup Juvenile Fillies at 15-1.

Friday's win confirmed Lady George's status as the top state-bred 2-year-old filly, but it may have been one of her last starts. Owner Gordon Severson said he and trainer Tony Locke are concerned about one of Lady's George's tendons and that retirement is a possibility in 2002.

"She's got a situation that will limit her down the road," Severson said. "It's a minor, manageable problem at this point, but we won't risk the filly. We'll see how she goes in each race."

Severson felt vindicated after watching Lady George's latest win. Ridden by Jose Silva, Lady George fought for the lead to the eighth pole before pulling clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Super High. Daddy's Gold finished third in a field of 10.

Fragrant Cloud, the 4-5 favorite, finished sixth and was never a factor after striking the gate before the start. There was blood visible on her right nostril when she returned to be unsaddled. The winning time for seven furlongs was an uninspiring 1:24.09. By Lake George, Lady George has won 3 of 9 starts and $220,976.

"The farther they run, she'll be better," Severson said. "No one gives her respect because of her connections, but she's really that good."

San Felipe target for Mayakovsky

Mayakovsky, who finished second in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes last September, has resumed training following a hind leg injury that kept him out of the major autumn races for 2-year-olds.

Trained by Patrick Biancone, Mayakovsky has been jogging in recent weeks at Santa Anita and will begin galloping Tuesday. Biancone is optimistic that Mayakovsky can return for the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 17, a key prep to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6.

In September, Mayakovsky was diagnosed with a hairline fracture in a hind leg, Biancone said.

"At the end of November, he was perfect," Biancone said. "He recovered quickly, sometimes they come back stronger. I could have started earlier."

Mayakovsky broke a 55-year-old track record at Saratoga in his debut last summer, running 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.32.

Rare Charmer to mate with War Chant

Rare Charmer, a two-time stakes winner earlier this year, has been retired and will be bred to War Chant in coming months, owner Nick Cafarchia said Friday.

A 6-year-old mare, Rare Charmer won the Grade 2 Buena Vista Handicap over a mile in February and beat California-breds easily in the Fran's Valentine Stakes at Hollywood Park in April.

After finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap on May 26, Rare Charmer was given a rest before returning this fall. She was taken out of training recently after developing a problem with an ankle, Cafarchia said.

"I said, 'Stop. Let's not take a chance,' " Cafarchia said. "She was going to run only two more times and I thought it was time to quit."

Trained by Craig Dollase, Rare Charmer won 8 of 24 starts and $540,216.

Cafarchia said Rare Charmer's dam, Dancing Road, will also be sent to War Chant, the winner of the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.

Good Journey will await Kilroe Mile

Good Journey, the winner of the Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 24, would have been ideally suited for Sunday's Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap at Santa Anita.

But trainer Wally Dollase said the 5-year-old Good Journey emerged from the Citation "a little body sore" and will be pointed for the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf at Santa Anita on March 2.

Following that race, Dollase said he will plan a campaign designed to get Good Journey to the Breeders' Cup Mile at Arlington Park on Oct. 26, 2002.

Owned by a partnership, Good Journey has made seven starts in the last 2 1/2 years and just 10 starts in his career.

"He has a good record on soft turf," Dollase said. "He'll be very valuable if I play my cards right."

The Kilroe Mile is expected to include Val Royal, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile last October at Belmont Park. Val Royal missed a start in Hong Kong in December because of a quarter crack, which has since been patched, according to trainer Julio Canani.

Canani said Val Royal will resume working in early February.