10/10/2008 11:00PM

Men's Magazine finally ready to run


ARCADIA, Calif. - Regardless of which horse gets lucky Sunday and wins the $75,000 Lure Stakes, it is about time.

A deep field of 11 entered the mile grass race at Santa Anita, and all the top contenders have something in common - each has a valid excuse for finishing out of the money last out.

Global Hunter had a bad trip, Lang Field disliked Polytrack, Matto Mondo lost a shoe, and Rebellion broke slow. But at least they have been racing. The only thing undefeated European colt Men's Magazine has been doing is practicing.

For more than a year, trainer Ron McAnally has run into one roadblock after another preparing Men's Magazine for his United States debut.

"It's been frustrating; it's been little minor things," he said.

Men's Magazine led gate to wire all three starts at 2, and was purchased by the late Sid Craig and his wife, Jenny, for a summer campaign in the U.S.

McAnally had the colt ready for the Oceanside Stakes on opening day of the 2007 Del Mar meet. But stewards mandated a race-day scratch when Men's Magazine was treated with an ulcer medication.

Instead, McAnally geared Men's Magazine toward the La Jolla Handicap in the middle of the summer meet. Then he pulled a leg muscle, followed next by a back muscle, and then he had a stifle injury. It is small stuff, but enough to delay his first U.S. start until race 7 Sunday.

Is he ready?

"I've been training him to get him fit for a mile; it would be a waste to run [in a sprint]," McAnally said.

Men's Magazine's challenge is coping with speedster Lang Field, whose trainer, Art Sherman, said he did not care for the Del Mar Polytrack last time. He returns to grass Sunday, and will try to wire the field from the inside.

With speed to run at, Global Hunter can win. He was trapped inside and finished fourth last out in the slow-paced Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile.

"He doesn't like the inside," trainer A.C. Avila said, concerned that Global Hunter is coming back so soon. "Two weeks is too quick back, but win or lose, I'm going to skip Hollywood."

Matto Mondo, a Group 1 winner in Chile, lost his left front shoe in his U.S. debut Sept. 24.

"His foot was sore for a couple days," trainer Richard Mandella said. "Now he is jumping out of his skin."