06/28/2005 12:00AM

Limehouse adds sparkle to Gold Cup probables


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Limehouse, the winner of consecutive stakes at Churchill Downs and Belmont Park this year, is a likely starter in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park on July 9, trainer Todd Pletcher said on Tuesday.

Limehouse, who races for Dogwood Stable, will be making his first start in California. He has won 7 of 17 starts and $1,062,433.

Pletcher said last week that Limehouse was unlikely to start in the Gold Cup but reversed course after discussing the race with Cot Campbell, the president of Dogwood Stable. "We looked at it a bit more closely," Pletcher said.

The presence of Limehouse, who won the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill on May 6 and the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont on June 11, gives the Grade 1 Gold Cup a much-needed nationally prominent runner.

The race is expected to draw top California horses such as Congrats, who ran second in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap in March, and Lava Man, the upset winner of the Grade 2 Californian Stakes June 18.

Pletcher said trying to win a Grade 1 with Limehouse was a major factor in the decision to run in the Gold Cup. "It's the only thing we haven't been able to accomplish with him," he said.

Limehouse, 4, has tried the Gold Cup distance of 1 1/4 miles once, finishing fourth in the 2004 Kentucky Derby won by Smarty Jones.

Pletcher said that John Velazquez has been booked to ride Limehouse in the Gold Cup.

Singhalese to try American Oaks

Singhalese, fourth in the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 5, joined the field for Sunday's $750,000 American Oaks on Tuesday. Her presence gives the Oaks 13 probable starters, including six shippers from Japan and Europe.

Trainer Jim Cassidy confirmed that Singhalese would start after watching her work five furlongs in 59.80 seconds at Santa Anita on Tuesday.

"She worked awfully good," he said.

Singhalese finished 3 3/4 lengths behind Three Degrees in the Honeymoon. Singhalese was second in midstretch but faded in the final furlong. Owned by the Gould Family Trust, Singhalese emerged from the race with a sore shin, Cassidy said.

"She came out of it with a bit of a shin and I was concerned," Cassidy said. "We X-rayed it and there was nothing there."

Singhalese has started twice for Cassidy, including a fourth in the Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita in April. In England last year, she had one victory in four starts, a 17-runner handicap over a mile at Doncaster in September.

The Oaks is the top race on a Sunday program that has five graded stakes. Three Degrees and Melhor Ainda, the unbeaten winner of three stakes, lead the Oaks, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. The Japanese invader Cesario, a winner of 4 of 5 starts, is considered the top foreign threat.

On Tuesday, Memorette, second in the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks on June 12, worked five furlongs on turf in 59.80 seconds. She will be making her turf debut in the Oaks.

Court to ride Forest Grove

Jon Court will ride Forest Grove, the 118-pound topweight, in Sunday's $350,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap, trainer Eoin Harty said.

Harty had sought a jockey for Forest Grove since Corey Nakatani opted to ride Unfurl the Flag in the Grade 1 race over seven furlongs. Nakatani rode Forest Grove to victory in the Los Angeles Times Handicap on May 14.

Court has never ridden Forest Grove, who races for Aaron and Marie Jones.

"I like the way Jon rides," Harty said. "He's very confident and he certainly never quits trying."

On Tuesday, Forest Grove worked five furlongs in 59 seconds at Santa Anita, the fastest of 41 recorded works at the distance.

Stakes coordinator takes new job

Dan Eidson, the stakes coordinator at Hollywood Park, said on Sunday he has accepted a position as racing secretary at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. The Turf Paradise meeting begins in late September.

Eidson, a former racing secretary at Delaware Park and Golden Gate Fields, has been based at Hollywood Park for four years.

Robador to go in Swaps

Robador, the winner of the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for statebreds on April 24, is bound for the $400,000 Swaps Stakes on July 9, Harty said. Owned by Barbara Walter, Robador finished fifth in the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 28. He worked seven furlongs in 1:26.60 at Santa Anita on Tuesday.

The Swaps is run over 1 1/8 miles on the main track, the same distance as the Snow Chief.