05/23/2004 11:00PM

Lobo packs one-two punch

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Paulo Lobo, the 35-year-old Brazilian-born trainer, introduced himself to American racing with the success of Farda Amiga in 2002. Farda Amiga gave Lobo his first major American win in the Kentucky Oaks and later that year won the Alabama Stakes en route to winning the Eclipse Award as the champion 3-year-old filly.

This year, Lobo's stable is led by Pico Central and Quero Quero. Both are likely to start on Monday - Pico Central in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park and Quero Quero in the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park.

A win by either would give Lobo his biggest win of an already successful year. Pico Central won the San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita in March and the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct in April.

"He's doing super," Lobo said.

Lobo said he is holding off on a decision on Quero Quero's participation in the Gamely until Wednesday. He said he wants to assess her training in the early part of the week before committing to the $350,000 race over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Lobo is concerned that Quero Quero emerged from a second-place finish in the Wilshire Handicap on April 25 with sore feet.

"She prefers the turf when it is not so hard," he said. "She's a very delicate filly but she's very talented."

Quero Quero won on the Hollywood Park turf course in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap last June.

Lobo's success in the last two years has not gone unnoticed.

Lobo had 70 horses in his Brazilian stable before he left South America in 2001. When Farda Amiga won the Kentucky Oaks, he had 12. The stable currently consists of 21 horses. He is looking for more.

"You're always looking for a stakes horse, not the quantity but the quality," he said.

Sweet Return tops Shoemaker probables

The Gamely is one of two Grade 1 races on Monday, joined by the $350,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile.

The probable starters for the Gamely include Dimitrova, Megahertz, Noches de Rosa, and possibly Katdogawn, who is also being considered for Monday's WinStar Distaff at Lone Star Park. Jim Cassidy, who trains Katdogawn, said he is awaiting more information from Texas officials regarding possible quarantine restrictions in that state after a recent outbreak of vesicular stomatitis, a viral disease that appears in livestock.

The Shoemaker field is led by Sweet Return, the winner of three graded stakes in the last six months.

Trained by Ron McAnally, Sweet Return will be opposed by Dell Place, Designed for Luck, Just Wonder, King of Happiness, Leroidesanimaux, Singletary, and Tsigane.

There are three other stakes on Memorial Day weekend, including the $150,000 Laz Barrera Memorial Handicap for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs. The race will be the first stakes of the year for Siphonizer, the winner of the 2003 Del Mar Futurity.

Trained by Richard Mandella, Siphonizer won his 3-year-old debut in an allowance race at Churchill Downs on April 24.

Calabria advising Valenzuela on appeal

Attorney Don Calabria, who represented Patrick Valenzuela until late last year, rejoined the jockey's legal team last week. Calabria is advising Valenzuela on a possible appeal of his suspension for missing a mandatory drug test last January.

Valenzuela was suspended for four months by the California Horse Racing Board May 18 for missing the drug test, but was given three months' credit for time already served. The remaining month will be served in June and would prevent Valenzuela from riding Rock Hard Ten in the Belmont Stakes on June 5.

Over the weekend, Calabria said a decision on whether Valenzuela would appeal had not been reached. He was awaiting documents from the CHRB, which issued the decision, before advising Valenzuela.

"I have to see the ruling before I give him an answer," Calabria said.

Calabria said Valenzuela contacted him last week, requesting advice. During the May 18 hearing, Valenzuela was represented by a different attorney, Terry Giles of Houston.

In late 2001, Calabria negotiated with CHRB executive director Roy Wood on the terms on Valenzuela's conditional license, which has been subsequently renewed each December.

* Domestic Dispute, the winner of the Strub Stakes at Santa Anita in February, is tack-walking, the first step toward a return to racing after a sixth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup on March 27. He is being pointed for the $250,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 1.