02/16/2006 12:00AM

Magna Graduate's options

Keith Smiley
Clark Handicap winner Magna Graduate (right) may ship cross-country to Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Magna Graduate, a four-time stakes winner who rose to prominence last fall, is being considered for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 4 or the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 25, trainer Todd Pletcher said Thursday.

Pletcher, who has never won the Big Cap or the Dubai World Cup, said that Magna Graduate's plans depend on how he works on Sunday in Florida.

Pletcher said the Big Cap is a possible start for Magna Graduate since the race lacks a heavy favorite.

"It looks like a competitive race without a clear standout, and that's enticing," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said the $6 million prize in Dubai makes that race tempting, but he stopped short of committing to the overseas trip.

"It's whether I can go to Dubai with confidence," he said. "He's training very well. I've got a few days to see what's going on."

Magna Graduate has won 6 of 16 starts and $1,156,002. Last fall, Magna Graduate won three consecutive stakes, including the Discovery Handicap on the Breeders' Cup undercard at Belmont Park and the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

In his lone start this year, Magna Graduate finished fourth in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 4. Because of the wet surface, Pletcher was not overly concerned by the loss.

"I think he's run some races that are on the verge of being good enough" to win the Big Cap or the Dubai World Cup, Pletcher said. "The Clark Handicap was a big step in the right direction. The Donn Handicap left us scratching our head, but it was very sloppy. He got a little tired and the track was a mess."

If Magna Graduate is sent to California, he would join nine locally based runners in the Big Cap. The race is led by High Limit, the winner of the Strub Stakes on Feb. 4; Giacomo, who won the 2005 Kentucky Derby and was third in the Strub; and Spellbinder, the winner of the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 5.

Other probable starters are Lava Man, Marenostrum, Texcess, Top This and That, Wilko, and With Distinction.

A.P. Warrior moves to Shirreffs's barn

A.P. Warrior, who finished fourth as the even-money favorite in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows on Jan. 29, has been transferred from trainer Eoin Harty to John Shirreffs, Harty said Thursday.

A.P. Warrior was one of nine horses owned by Stan Fulton that were transferred out of Harty's stable.

A.P. Warrior, who was purchased as a yearling for $1.3 million, was the most prominent member of that group. A winner of 2 of 6 starts and $137,185, A.P. Warrior is a Kentucky Derby hopeful whose form has tailed off in recent starts. After finishing second to Brother Derek in the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes last October, A.P. Warrior won an allowance race at Santa Anita in November but was fourth behind Brother Derek in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 17.

Harty was pointing A.P. Warrior to the $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes on March 4 or the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 18 before the colt was transferred.

The Santa Catalina will be led by Brother Derek, who won the San Rafael Stakes here on Jan. 14 in his last start.

Da Stoops may be Florida-bound

Da Stoops, the winner of two sprint stakes at this meeting, is being considered for the $150,000 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 4, trainer Bob Baffert said.

Da Stoops won the California Breeders' Champion Stakes for statebreds at seven furlongs by 8 3/4 lengths on Dec. 26 and the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash at six furlongs by 7 1/2 lengths on Jan. 28.

Baffert has been so impressed with Da Stoops that he also mentioned the $2 million Golden Shaheen over a straight six furlongs in Dubai on March 25 as an alternative, but qualified that by saying that taking a 3-year-old to the Middle East "would be insane."

Mirabilis returns in Buena Vista

There is Monday racing this week, and the Monday program is highlighted by the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for fillies and mares over a mile on turf.

The race marks the U.S. stakes debut of Mirabilis, who is trained by Bobby Frankel. In her lone start in this country, Mirabilis, 4, finished fourth as the even-money favorite in an allowance race on the hillside turf course.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman