02/10/2003 1:00AM

A 'Man' who must be taken seriously

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Man Among Men went from being a minor turf stakes winner to a Triple Crown contender over the weekend.

An upset victory in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita last Friday has left trainer Gary Mandella considering a mid-March prep race for Man Among Men, who beat the highly regarded Empire Maker in the Sham over 1 1/8 miles.

Sunday, Mandella said Man Among Men emerged from Friday's race in good form. The news was not as good for Empire Maker, who spiked a temperature over the weekend. He will undergo tests this week, trainer Bobby Frankel said.

The victory left Mandella, the son of Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, considering the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on March 8 and the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on March 16 for Man Among Men's next start.

"I was afraid he might drop a little on me, but he didn't lose much weight," Gary Mandella said. "I knew he could run all day. It was a matter of putting him in with other 3-year-olds and seeing if he was good enough."

Last fall, Man Among Men won a restricted turf stakes at Santa Anita, the Pinjara, and finished unplaced in the Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park in late November. The Sham Stakes was his first start in more than two months and was his stakes debut on dirt.

Ridden by Alex Solis, Man Among Men had an ideal trip. Third for the first six furlongs, he rallied past fading pacesetters Truckle Feature and Ten Most Wanted in early stretch and finished a length in front of Empire Maker.

"I was concerned between the seven-eighths pole and the five-eighths pole," Mandella said. "You worry that he was a little too sharp. I was worried I cranked him with a little too much speed."

Man Among Men ($20.20) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.39.

Owned by R.D. Hubbard and Connie Sczesny, Man Among Men is the first Triple Crown prospect trained by Mandella. Cheerfully, he said the excitement is affecting his sleep.

"I haven't gotten much," he said. "I probably won't sleep for a couple of months."

Empire Maker scheduled for blood work

Sunday, trainer Bobby Frankel said that Empire Maker emerged from the Sham Stakes with a temperature. Precautionary blood tests were scheduled for Monday.

"He doesn't act like he's sick, but he's got a 102 temperature," Frankel said.

The diagnosis will determine how much training Empire Maker will have in coming days, but it is not expected to derail his chances for the spring classics.

In the Sham Stakes, Empire Maker closed from last on the backstretch to reach contention in early stretch. Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Empire Maker rallied along the inside but could not reach the winner.

The Sham Stakes was Empire Maker's first start since he finished third in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 29. He had been well regarded in advance of a maiden win at Belmont last October.

"I was happy with the way he ran," Frankel said. "I may add blinkers."

Kilroe or Big Cap for next for Redattore

Redattore returned from a six-month break to post a runaway victory in a one-mile allowance race on turf Saturday that will serve as a prep for the $400,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf on March 1.

Redattore won by 5 1/2 lengths over 13-1 Mercenary, finishing in 1:34.91. It was his first start since last July. Last August, Redattore was shipped to Emerald Downs in Washington for the Longacres Mile, but missed the race because of illness.

Following the win Saturday, Richard Mandella also mentioned the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on March 1 as a potential target.

"It's a possibility, the way he ran," Mandella said.

Redattore has raced primarily over a mile and 1 1/8 miles in the last two years.

Even without Redattore, Mandella has a strong hand for the Big Cap. He intends to start Kudos, the winner of the 2002 Oaklawn Handicap, and Pleasantly Perfect, who won the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap last October.

Olmodavor, who finished second in the Strub Stakes on Feb. 1, is bound for the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds on March 2.

The quality of the Santa Anita Handicap depends on plans for Congaree and Medaglia d'Oro. Medaglia d'Oro won the Strub Stakes on Feb. 1, Congaree took the San Antonio Handicap the following day. Both are also being considered for the $6 million Dubai World Cup in the Middle East.

Sunday, Frankel said "I'm aiming for the Big Cap" with Medaglia d'Oro.

Other candidates for the Santa Anita Handicap include Milwaukee Brew, Oh Take, Piensa Sonando, and Sligo Bay.

Good Journey sold to Australian breeders

Good Journey, the winner of the Citation Handicap who was third in the Breeders' Cup Mile last October, has been sold to a consortium of Australian breeders and will go to stud in there later this year.

The deal was completed last Friday, according to trainer Wally Dollase, who also directs the syndicate that owns Good Journey.

Dollase said it was unclear which farm Good Journey would be based on in Australia.

The 7-year-old Good Journey will have as many as three more starts in this country before departing for Australia, with the Kilroe Mile and Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on May 26 as goals.

Dollase said he no longer plans to take Good Journey to Dubai for a race on the Dubai World Cup undercard.

TV replay show talks continue

Officials with the Thoroughbred Owners of California are negotiating with racetrack officials for the resumption of a nightly race replay program in prime time on over-the-air television in the Los Angeles area.

Since the end of the Hollywood Park fall meeting in December, a nightly replay program has not been shown on over-the-air television on a regular basis in Los Angeles. A replay program has been shown only on weekend evenings on KDOC (Channel 56). A nightly replay program has aired on the Fox Sports Net cable network, but at 1:30 a.m.

According to TOC president John Van de Kamp, discussions are continuing with officials from Del Mar, Fairplex Park, Hollywood Park, and Santa Anita. He said progress was made over the weekend.

"No one has said absolutely no, but it's fair to say that a couple of tracks are delighted, one is lukewarm, and one is not there yet," Van de Kamp said. "It's a fluid situation."

In addition to serving frequent customers and casual fans, the program would also cater to customers who bet through the telephone and Internet, Van de Kamp said.

Outta Here possible for UAE Derby

Outta Here, the winner of the Delta Jackpot Stakes in Louisiana in December, is being considered for the $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai on March 29, according to trainer Bill Currin.

The race is annually a top prep for 3-year-olds from the Maktoum family's Godolphin Racing that are being considered for the Kentucky Derby.

Currin said his plans are contingent on no war breaking out in the Middle East in coming weeks. He said he will give Outta Here a prep for the UAE Derby in the $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 21.

"I'm just going for the distance," Currin said of the Palm Beach Stakes.

Outta Here recently returned to training after being given a brief break following the Louisiana race. Last year, Outta Here was stakes-placed in sprints at Hollywood Park and Del Mar.

Currin said that if Outta Here starts in the Middle East the colt will not be pointed for the Kentucky Derby.

"I've been accused of being unconventional," he said with a smile. "I'm just going where the money is."