07/10/2002 11:00PM

'Madness' takes on Fair Apache

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A week after missing stakes because of minor injury and illness, Full Moon Madness and Fair Apache return in Saturday's $75,000 Answer Do Stakes at Hollywood Park, a turf sprint that both can win.

Full Moon Madness missed the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap on July 6 because of a tender foot. Fair Apache missed the $75,000 Great Lady M Handicap last Sunday after she developed a temperature.

They are two of the five starters in the Answer Do, run over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf for California-breds, and will be joined by Flying Rudolph, McCordnskuba, and Men's Exclusive.

Full Moon Madness will be favored, having won this race in 2000 and both of his starts this year - the Valiant Pete Handicap at Santa Anita and the Saratoga Handicap at Bay Meadows.

Full Moon Madness was entered for the Triple Bend, but scratched when trainer Bob Marshall and farrier Wes Champagne decided that one of the gelding's feet was too tender to withstand a nailed shoe. Full Moon Madness wears glue-on shoes between races.

"We always put his shoes on on race days because he has tender feet,"

Marshall said. "When we were up north, he got nipped a little close. I don't like running in glue-ons. He's lost them a time or two."

In his last start on turf, the 7-year-old Full Moon Madness was a game second in the 2000 Dayjur Handicap over this course and distance. Full Moon Madness can lead, but is more likely to stalk Fair Apache, who used her speed to win an allowance race for turf sprinters in her last start on May 15. She would have been a leading contender for the Great Lady M but was ill in early July.

"She was sick enough to make us wait," trainer Christopher Paasch said. "You have to worry that it could take something out of her, but I think this is a good spot for her."

A 6-year-old mare, Fair Apache won the Valkyr Handicap over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf here last summer.

"She loves this course and it's her distance," Paasch said on Thursday. "I pulled a blood on her and she's ready to go."

Fair Apache will be challenged early by Men's Exclusive, who was third in the Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows on July 4.

"He came out of it well," trainer Wesley Ward said. "He was a little short going into that race. Sometimes with older horses, you can bring them right back."

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