08/25/2007 12:00AM

Lava Man, Tiago prepping for split Cup goals

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DEL MAR, Calif. - With a goal of running in different Breeders' Cup races at Monmouth Park in October, Lava Man and Tiago will have a prep race in the $500,000 Goodwood Stakes at the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita on Sept. 29.

While Tiago is considered a candidate for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27, the nation's richest race, Lava Man is more likely to use the Grade 1 Goodwood as a prep for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile over a mile and 70 yards on Oct. 26.

Lava Man, who finished sixth in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 19, resumed racetrack training on Friday. A trip to Monmouth Park would be the latest attempt by trainer Doug O'Neill and owners Jason Wood and STD Racing to get an out-of-town stakes win for Lava Man. On five occasions in the last 2 1/2 years, Lava Man has failed to win a major stakes outside of California.

Lava Man won the 2006 Goodwood, but finished seventh in the BC Classic at Churchill Downs. The Dirt Mile is being run for the first time this year.

Tiago, 3, the winner of the Santa Anita Derby and Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes earlier this year, was scratched from the Pacific Classic after trainer John Sherriffs said he was unsure what to expect from Tiago on Del Mar's Polytrack surface.

The Grade 1 Goodwood, run over 1 1/8 miles, will be Tiago's first start against older horses and is considered by Shireffs as an ideal prep to the BC Classic. Shirreffs is equally excited about Tiago's prospects for 2008.

"We've been spacing his races so we can have a nice 4-year-old," Shirreffs said.

Sherman horses to be in detention

Horses trained by Art Sherman will start from a 24-hour prerace detention barn for 60 days beginning Sunday after one of his starters at Golden Gate Fields in June tested in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide.

The positive test was found in a prerace blood test taken from Hatif, who finished second in a $6,250 claiming race on turf on June 10. The permitted level of total carbon dioxide is 37 millimoles per liter of blood. Hatif's test revealed a level of 40.1 millimoles, according to California Horse Racing Board documents.

The racing board has yet to rule on the incident, pending a hearing. A test resulting in an excessive amount of total carbon dioxide is considered a Class 3 medical violation. Violations in classes 1, 2, and 3 are subject to purse redistribution and a possible fine and/or suspension for a trainer.

The detention barn arrangement is part of an agreement between the California Thoroughbred Trainers, Thoroughbred Owners of California, and the racing associations, and is not dictated by the racing board.

Sherman received a 60-day detention barn term because Hatif's excessive test was the trainer's second infraction in the last three years, according to Ed Halpern, executive director of the trainers' group.

At the conclusion of the detention period, Sherman's stable may be subjected to additional surveillance by racing board investigators.

Sherman's first starters from the detention barn will be the entry of Brooker and Nerinx in Sunday's eighth race at Del Mar.

Two drop out of Del Mar Derby

Augment and Ten a Penny are likely to gain starting berths in the $400,000 Del Mar Derby on Sunday after the trainers of Asperity and Bwana Bull indicated they are unlikely to run those horses.

Asperity, trained by John Gosden in England, is not expected to travel for the race, according to Tom Robbins, Del Mar's director of racing. Robbins said he spoke to Gosden by phone on Friday.

Bwana Bull, the runner-up in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park on Aug. 4, is being pointed for the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 3, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said on Saturday.

Augment won an optional claimer here on Aug. 9, while Ten a Penny won a division of the Oceanside Stakes on July 18 and was fourth in the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 11.

The other probable starters are Bleu Intense, Medici Code, Souvenir Slew, Stoneside, Unusual Suspect, Vauquelin, Warning Zone, and Worldly.

The Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, run over 1 1/8 miles on turf, has a safety limit of 10 starters because of the narrow Del Mar turf course. Preference is given to graded or group stakes winners, followed by horses who placed in such races. The race drew 21 nominations.

Imagine pointed for Yellow Ribbon

Imagine, the winner of the $103,565 California Thoroughbred Trainers and Thoroughbred Owners of California Handicap on Friday, will be pointed for the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Oak Tree on Sept. 29, Shirreffs said.

Imagine began the Del Mar meeting last month as a maiden winner and will leave as a stakes winner. The CTT-TOC Handicap was her stakes debut.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Imagine ran 1 3/8 miles on turf in 2:13.18. A 4-year-old filly, Imagine stalked pacesetter Sol Mi Fa to the final turn, took the lead entering the stretch and won by 1 3/4 lengths over Nakaba in the field of five fillies and mares.

Owned by breeders Marty and Pam Wygod, Imagine has won 4 of 7 starts and $199,059.

"She's so smooth when she runs and works," Shirreffs said. "She catches your attention and has unlimited potential."

Velazquez to commute for Futurity

New York-based jockey John Velazquez will ride E Z's Gentlemen in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5, trainer Ron McAnally said.

There is no racing on the New York circuit that day, which will allow Velazquez to travel to California. New York-based jockey Garrett Gomez has the mount on Georgie Boy in seven-furlong Futurity.

E Z's Gentlemen beat maidens at Del Mar in a six-furlong maiden special weight race on Aug. 19 in his second career start.

The Futurity is expected to draw Dixie Chatter, Drill Down, Good Man Dan, Kanan Dume, Leonides, Overextended, Salute the Sarge, and Whatever Whenever.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman