05/02/2006 12:00AM

Lava Man a stakes threat on two surfaces


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Is California's fastest horse on dirt also the fastest horse on grass? The idea is plausible after Lava Man ran 1 1/8 miles in a course-record 1:44.26 on Sunday in the $150,000 Khaled Stakes at Hollywood Park, earning a 108 Beyer to equal the year's top grass figure. Lava Man earned a 113 Beyer in the Santa Anita Handicap, the second-highest route dirt figure of 2006.

"We have lots of options now," trainer Doug O'Neill said Tuesday, and listed the Grade 1, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf May 29; Grade 1, $300,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap on turf June 10; and Grade 2, $250,000 Californian on dirt June 17. The primary goal remains the Grade 1, $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 8.

The news was less optimistic for the O'Neill-trained Sam's Ace, the promising 3-year-old who pulled up on the backstretch Sunday in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes. O'Neill said Sam's Ace sustained a suspensory injury to his right foreleg. The injury will not prevent Sam's Ace from becoming a riding horse or stallion, but O'Neill said the chances are "slim" that he would race again.

New players in turf-mile division

The deepest division in California - turf milers - was further strengthened Saturday when Charmo won the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate, and Willow O Wisp won the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park. Charmo and Willow O Wisp will take on division leader Silent Name in the Shoemaker Mile.

The 1 1/4-length Inglewood win by Willow O Wisp represented a return to form by the 4-year-old gelding, who was unplaced in three starts against older company after winning the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby last summer.

"He put on a lot of weight," trainer Vladimir Cerin said. "Physically he looked the best he ever looked."

Cerin will be looking for another rider, however. Victor Espinoza rode Willow O Wisp, but is committed to Arcadia Mile winner Silent Name in the Shoemaker.

Remembering Star headed to Barrera

A blowout maiden win April 26 by the improving 3-year-old Remembering Star has earned the colt a shot at the Grade 2, $150,000 Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Stakes, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds May 20. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Remembering Star won by six lengths in 1:15.48 for 6 1/2 furlongs and earned a 96 Beyer Figure.

It was Remembering Star's fourth start, but his first in blinkers and first at Hollywood.

"I don't know if blinkers did it, or if he likes this track better [than Santa Anita], or if it was Victor," trainer Mike Mitchell said.

Remembering Star was named in memory of the top turf horse Star Over the Bay, who broke down in a race in Singapore. After Remembering Star went unsold at an Ocala, Fla., auction, he was purchased from the consignor.

"He was announced with a chip in his ankle, and all I did was operate, take the chip out, and give him time," Mitchell said. As for the Barrera, "Seven-eighths is going to be just right, and it's going to come up like an allowance race."

That depends on the direction of three-time winner Corazondelcampeon. A son of Comic Strip, Corazondelcampeon won a turf sprint stakes Friday by nearly three lengths while earning a 95 Beyer. Owner Scott Merrell said Tuesday that Corazondelcampeon will be nominated to the Barrera and the Grade 3 Will Rogers Stakes at a mile on turf May 21.

CashCall tempting for 'Addiction'

A rich new turf stakes on the Hollywood schedule will influence the filly-mare dirt division. Healthy Addiction will be the 120-pound topweight in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Hawthorne Handicap for fillies and mares on Sunday, the first dirt stakes of the meet for fillies and mares. But trainer John Sadler said Healthy Addiction could return to grass later in the meet.

"Why not the CashCall Mile?" Sadler said, referring to a mile turf race July 1 with a $750,000 purse that is more than double the Grade 1, $300,000 Vanity Handicap on dirt July 2. "She is 1 for 1 on turf, and what if she catches a bunch of Europeans that want to go 49 [the first half-mile]? That might be her Breeders' Cup right there."

The immediate concern for Sadler and Healthy Addiction is the Hawthorne and the effect of a 1:10.20 Sunday workout that was the fastest six-furlong work of the day. Sadler wanted her to go in 1:12.

"She went a little fast, but it is seven days out, and she has not raced in two months," the trainer said.

Healthy Addiction won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap on March 11, and will be part of a small Hawthorne field expected to include 118-pound second highweights Hollywood Story and Star Parade.

Future Search is one to watch

Gary Sherlock, who was out of training and in the equine insurance business for more than 10 years until returning this winter, will unveil a fast 2-year-old colt Thursday in race 1 - Future Search. Most of Sherlock's 17-horse stable at Hollywood are 2-year-olds.

A son of Coronado's Quest, runs 4 1/2 furlongs under Tony Farina in race 1.

"He's small, but he's fast," Sherlock said, adding that Farina has been working him.

Sherlock, 60, said 12 of his runners are 2-year-olds. "I just hope I bought some that can run," he said.

Future Search's main rivals include , a Bernstein firster trained by O'Neill.

The feature Thursday is race 7, a 5 1/2-furlong turf race for fillies and mares. The leading contenders in the race, a second-condition allowance with a $62,500 claiming option, are Ugotadowhatugotado and Costume Designer.