05/19/2003 11:00PM

Mandella: Watch out for Medecis

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The odds on Medecis will be higher than stablemate Redattore's on Monday in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park, but trainer Richard Mandella will not be surprised if Medecis scores the upset. After all, Medecis established his credentials in France last year by winning a Group 3 stakes and placing in two Group 1's. "He has a right to be good," Mandella said. "He's a good horse and particularly good at a mile."

Except he hasn't shown it yet in the United States. Medecis finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup Mile, and in his first start for Mandella finished seventh as the odds-on favorite in a minor stakes at Santa Anita Dec. 26.

"He was rank and didn't come out [of the race] good," said Mandella.

Medecis was turned out for a month and came back a different horse. He was so sharp that Mandella entered him in the Grade 3, six-furlong Los Angeles Handicap on May 10.

"He trained so good on dirt, like he'd sprint, and if it was too short, I could have wheeled him right back in the Shoemaker," Mandella said. Medecis, however, cut his tongue the day before the race, and Mandella scratched him. Two days later, he worked a mile on grass, so the setback was not a concern.

On Monday at Santa Anita, Medecis and Redattore each worked six furlongs in 1:12.40 in their final prep for the Shoemaker.

Redattore will be starting for the first time since winning the Grade 2 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on March 1. He shipped to Fair Grounds for the Grade 2 Explosive Bid Handicap on March 23, but got sick and scratched. "He got over it pretty quick this time, and his last two works he looks like he's finally back on his game," Mandella said.

Redattore will not be the only 8-year-old in the field. Ladies Din won the Shoemaker last year at age 7, and tries to repeat this year for a new trainer. Now trained by Frank Monteleone, he turned in the fastest five-furlong work of the morning Tuesday at Santa Anita, 58.20 seconds. Other Shoemaker probables include Special Ring, Tijiyr, Touch of the Blues, Century City and War Zone.

I Love Silver retired

The popular stretch-runner I Love Silver, who earned $437,142 in a 20-start career that included four victories, has been retired because of a recurring ankle injury. A 5-year-old gelding owned by Judy and Kirk Robison and trained by Dean Greenman, I Love Silver will be sent to Tranquility Farm in Tehachapi, Calif., to join other notable retirees such as Southern Wish, Three Peat, and River Rhythm.

I Love Silver was a closer with no early speed, and he was typically compromised by the speed-favoring nature of California racing. Nevertheless, I Love Silver provided California with several exciting performances, including Greenman's favorite, a Santa Anita allowance win on Jan. 28, 2001. I Love Silver was impeded at the start of the six-furlong race and trailed by 14 lengths with a quarter-mile to run. He uncorked a burst of late speed and rallied to win by a half-length.

The gelding followed with a second-place finish in the Grade 2 San Felipe and a third in the Santa Anita Derby. I Love Silver, who also placed in the Grade 1 Ancient Title and Malibu, scored his only stakes win - and the first of Greenman's training career - in fall 2001 when he won the Skywalker Handicap.

Daunting raises himself in class

Daunting's fourth straight win, on May 14 in a $50,000 claiming race at Hollywood Park, has trainer Mark Glatt reluctant to enter him back in another claimer. "I'm going to have to protect him now and run him in a two-other-than," Glatt said, adding that the $150,000 Claiming Crown on July 19 at Canterbury Downs is the goal.

Daunting's final time (1:41.25) was the second-fastest dry-track win of the meet at 1 1/16 miles, behind only the Total Impact's time of 1:40.88 for winning the Mervyn LeRoy, and the Beyer Speed Figure of 105 that Daunting earned was the best of his 20-race career. Asked why he claimed the horse March 22 for $16,000, Glatt said he "couldn't see anything on the horse that worried me too much, and I liked that they double-jumped him. I like these old class horses that for whatever reason get cheap, then they go back up."

Daunting, who ran for a $10,000 claiming price as recently as March 1, has earned $46,800 since Glatt claimed him for owner Plan B Stable.

Azeri staying home and with her own

Trainer Laura de Seroux is in no rush to start Azeri against males, or send her on the road. While Azeri and Dublino were preparing for a van ride from San Luis Rey Downs to Hollywood Park for Grade 1 races this the weekend, de Seroux contemplated Azeri's campaign beyond the Milady Handicap on Saturday.

"I'm not anxious to take on the leaders of the handicap division at the top of their game," de Seroux said. "I wouldn't mind staying right where I'm at," she said about running against fillies and mares. "And I'm also not keen to travel, with the Breeders' Cup being right at home."

For now, Azeri will start as the dominant favorite against Affluent, Keys to the Heart, and Enjoy in the 1 1/16-mile Milady. Affluent worked five furlongs Tuesday at Hollywood Park in 1:00.60. Azeri and Dublino were scheduled to arrive Tuesday afternoon at Hollywood Park, where Dublino will start as one of the favorites in Monday's Grade 1 Gamely Handicap.