02/03/2004 12:00AM

Last Minute Detail headed for stakes

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ARCADIA, Calif. - An impressive allowance win Saturday by Last Minute Detail has propelled the 3-year-old into the Santa Anita Derby picture. Trainer Don Chatlos said the allowance "was one race too late, but we got there."

Last Minute Detail did more than just get there. One start after an ordinary fourth-place finish in the six-furlong San Miguel Stakes, Last Minute Detail stretched to seven furlongs Saturday and powered to a two-length win in 1:22.11. He earned an outstanding 93 Beyer Speed Figure and will target the San Felipe Stakes on March 13.

"He needed to win - he needed to get some confidence," said Chatlos, who blames himself for strategy employed by jockey Victor Espinoza that compromised Last Minute Detail in the San Miguel. "The track's been so speed-favoring, and I told Victor to lay a little closer. [Last Minute Detail] does not want to do that. He wants to drop away and make that one big run."

On Saturday, Last Minute Detail lagged more than nine lengths off the pace and rallied from last to first, winning for the second time in three starts.

Owned by Jerry Little, Last Minute Detail is a colt by Devil's Bag. His first attempt at two turns will be in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe, skipping the one-mile San Rafael on March 6. That race is expected to attract unbeaten Lion Heart, Santa Catalina one-two finishers St Averil and Lucky Pulpit, impressive maiden winner Quinton's Gold Rush, and modest allowance winner Spellbinder.

Chatlos also said that Singletary, the Grade 3 turf winner he trains, will return Feb. 11 in an overnight stakes.

Action This Day may need a race

While trainer Richard Mandella expected Breeders' Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect to run well in his comeback, he cautions that BC Juvenile winner Action This Day may come up short when he returns in Sunday's $75,000-added Sham Stakes. "He probably needs one," Mandella said. "He's only run three times."

A modest field is taking shape for the 1 1/8-mile race, which is expected to include Borrego, Master David, Preachinatthebar, Totally Platinum, True Contender, and Winner From Mars.

The Mandella-trained Olmodavor was scheduled to return Wednesday from Fair Grounds, where he won the Grade 3 Whirlaway Handicap on Sunday. Olmodavor will run next in the New Orleans Handicap on Feb. 29 or join stablemate Pleasantly Perfect in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 6.

BC Juvenile Fillies winner Halfbridled returns Feb. 15 in the Las Virgenes, while BC Turf winner Johar has resumed galloping and will have his first breeze later this month. Johar was unplaced in the Japan Cup, and will be aimed by Mandella for the major turf races during the spring-summer meet at Hollywood Park. Spellbinder, a 3-year-old colt who has won two straight for Mandella, is aiming for the San Rafael.

Bluesthestandard to stay in the States

It is welcome news for local racing fans when a top sprinter such as Bluesthestandard forsakes the lure of a $2 million sprint in Dubai and instead aims for a campaign that will keep him in the United States.

"We have a great year ahead of us without that race," trainer Ted H. West said Tuesday, referring to the Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 27. "With [owner Jeffrey Sengara], it's not about the money."

West believes that Bluesthestandard, at age 7, is primed for his best season. "He finally has the weight on him that we wanted; the same thing happened with Budroyale," West said. "We had him for eight months, then all of the sudden he turned the corner and went from a Grade 2 horse to a Grade 1 horse."

Bluesthestandard will point for the San Carlos Handicap on March 7, followed by Potrero Grande on March 28. "We're going to keep shipping to a minimum," West said.

The exceptions will be the April 24 Texas Mile at Lone Star and the long-range goal of the BC Sprint, also at Lone Star.

Buddy Gil back again in Strub

Buddy Gil - remember him? - returns Saturday in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes, his first start since a ninth-place finish Dec. 26 in the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes. Trainer Jeff Mullins, who entered the week with a six-race lead in the trainer standings, said handicappers can simply throw out the Malibu, which was run over a track that Buddy Gil did not care for.

"I didn't want to ruin him in one start," Mullins said. "Gary [Stevens] and I agreed that if he didn't handle the track, don't abuse him. He's been training well since."

The 1 1/8-mile Strub will be Buddy Gil's first route since last year's Kentucky Derby, and Mullins said the 4-year-old is plenty fit. San Fernando winner During is likely to be favored in the Strub, which is expected to include Toccet, Buckland Manor, Domestic Dispute, Eye of the Tiger, Formal Attire, and Saint Buddy.

* Julie Krone, who has not ridden since she was injured in a Dec. 12 spill at Hollywood Park, was scheduled to resume exercising horses Wednesday at Santa Anita and is targeting a Feb. 11 riding comeback, according to her agent, Brian Beach.

* Twice as Bad, runner-up to Second of June in the $100,000 What a Pleasure Stakes at Calder in mid-December before being sold privately and sent to California, has resumed galloping. Trainer Vladimir Cerin said the colt got sick after arriving in California, but began galloping Jan. 28 and should be ready for the San Felipe.