06/10/2003 11:00PM

Miss Bridget Jones sold again

Email

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Miss Bridget Jones switched owners for the second time in her brief career when she was acquired on Monday by Vistas Stable, Marsha Naify, and Robert Geringer in advance of Saturday's $200,000 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks at Hollywood Park.

Miss Bridget Jones began her career with owner-breeder Dennis Patterson, who teamed up with trainer Mike Puype for her maiden victory at Hollywood Park last December.

She was then sold to David Hulkewicz and Turf Express Inc., who campaigned her with trainer Cole Norman at Lone Star Park when she won an allowance race in April and the Stonerside Stakes on May 24.

Following that race, the current transaction was negotiated, ending Monday with her return to California. Through all those changes, one thing has stayed the same: Miss Bridget Jones is unbeaten.

On Saturday, Miss Bridget Jones makes her graded stakes debut in the Hollywood Oaks over 1 1/16 miles. The race marks her first start beyond seven furlongs.

After galloping Monday morning at Lone Star Park, Miss Bridget Jones was shipped to trainer Laura de Seroux at San Luis Rey Downs. She galloped there Tuesday and worked three furlongs in 37.40 seconds Wednesday.

In the Oaks, Miss Bridget Jones is one of several fillies likely to be close to the pace. Cinema Paradisa, Harbor Blues, and Princess V. have shown speed in recent starts.

The two leading contenders - Buffythecenterfold and Santa Catarina - are stalkers or closers. Buffythecenterfold won the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes over seven furlongs on May 4 and is seeking her first win beyond a sprint. Santa Catarina has yet to win a stakes but has placed in four races at a mile or farther, including a second in the Kentucky Oaks and a third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

De Seroux is convinced that Miss Bridget Jones is not speed-crazy and will a factor in the stretch of the Oaks.

"When a filly goes 3 for 3, there is something to them," de Seroux said. "When I saw the Stonerside, I was very impressed. She was looking a filly in the eye all the way on the front end and drew away.

"It wasn't like she went to the lead and was slowing down and no one caught her. She was going away. We thought she could go two turns."

Imports ready for Californian

Candy Ride, unbeaten in four starts after a win in an allowance race last Saturday, may be the top-rated South American import with trainer Ron McAnally, but two of his stablemates are more accomplished in this country.

While the Argentine-bred Candy Ride is preparing for a stakes start in July, McAnally starts the Chilean-breds Gondolieri and Piensa Sonando in Saturday's $400,000 Californian Stakes.

Both of McAnally's runners have something to prove in the Californian, which is run over 1 1/8 miles. The race serves as a prep for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 13.

Gondolieri and Piensa Sonando have won dirt stakes at Hollywood Park in the past year, but neither will be favored on Saturday, a role that will go to Western Pride, the winner of the San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita in April.

Gondolieri won the Inglewood Handicap on May 3, a race scheduled for turf but transferred to the main track. A Group 1 winner in Chile last September, Gondolieri has not been worse than third in three starts in this country.

Most of Gondolieri's 12 wins in 16 starts have come in races up to 1 1/16 miles, leading to uncertainty about his chances over the Californian distance. "It's a good question," McAnally said.

Piensa Sonando is winless in five starts since he pulled an upset in the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap over 1 1/8 miles last December. He was third in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap on May 10 in his last start, closing from last to finish six lengths behind Total Impact, who is out of the Californian because of injury.

The distance of the Californian benefits Piensa Sonando, but McAnally is concerned about the Hollywood Park main track.

"This is not a good closer's track," he said. "We're putting an inside blinker on him. He wants to lug in."

Gondolieri and Piensa Sonando are owned by Nelson Bunker Hunt and will race as an entry. Aside from Western Pride, the competition includes Calkins Road, Fleetstreet Dancer, Kudos, Lethal Instrument, Reba's Gold, and Wooden Phone.

McAnally said plans for Candy Ride are unclear, but that the 4-year-old may reappear in the American Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf on July 4 instead of the Gold Cup.

Owned by Sid and Jenny Craig, Candy Ride is also being pointed for the Del Mar meeting, where the obvious goals are the $250,000 San Diego Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 3 and the $1 million Pacific Classic over 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 24.

Mister Acpen stepping up

The Saturday card also features the $350,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap, a Grade 1 over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Storming Home is the 124-pound topweight. He won the Jim Murray Handicap last month and the 2002 Champion Stakes in England.

Trained by Neil Drysdale, Storming Home is expected to have five rivals - Blue Steller, Cagney, Gigli, Mister Acpen, and Night Patrol.

Mister Acpen was bred in Chile, where he won the 2002 Chilean Derby. In two starts in this country for trainer Kristin Mulhall, he was a troubled fourth in the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland in April and the winner of an allowance race over 1 1/8 miles on turf May 21. Considering that the Chilean Derby was over 1 1/2 miles on turf, Mulhall is not concerned about the distance of the Whittingham. The competition is another matter.

"This will be tough, but I think he has the class," she said.

* Elloluv, the winner of three graded stakes stakes in the last six months, has resumed training with Craig Dollase after being given a break following a fourth in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks.

Owned by Paul Reddam, Elloluv may return in the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga on July 26, although Dollase said nothing has been finalized.