03/22/2005 12:00AM

Moody parts ways with Cerin


ARCADIA, Calif. - Graded-stakes winners Laura's Lucky Boy and Twice as Bad have changed barns again. Trainer Vladimir Cerin confirmed Tuesday that eight horses owned by Ernie Moody's Mercedes Stables have been transferred to other trainers, including turf runner Laura's Lucky Boy, sprinter Twice as Bad, and stakes-placed She's a Jewel.

Richard Mandella is the third trainer for Laura's Lucky Boy, who won the Grade 3 Will Rogers Handicap last May for trainer Jason Orman, and won his only start for Cerin on Feb. 9 in an overnight handicap. Laura's Lucky Boy, a 4-year-old by Theatrical, has won four races and $293,920 from 10 starts, and is one of three horses Mandella received from Cerin.

Jay Robbins is the third trainer for Twice as Bad, whom Mercedes purchased at the end of his 2-year-old campaign in 2003. Cerin trained the colt for three starts last year, including a win May 29 in the Grade 2 Laz Barrera Handicap at Hollywood Park. Twice as Bad has not raced since last July. Robbins also received She's a Jewel. Two other Cerin horses were shipped to northern California.

Cerin said the split was amicable.

"We parted ways on very friendly terms," he said. "I am grateful for the time I had with their horses, and

I wish them all the best."

Mercedes Stables did not return a phone call seeking comment, and Cerin declined to elaborate on the reason for the switch.

Chinese Dragon to stay on turf

If there is a derby with Chinese Dragon's name on it, it will be a derby on grass. Chinese Dragon's explosive rally Saturday in the Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-olds carried him to a 2 1/2-length win in the mile turf race, but trainer Bob Hess said Tuesday that he will resist the rosy springtime temptation of switching to dirt.

"At this stage, he just doesn't handle the dirt very well," Hess said.

Chinese Dragon has never raced on dirt; Hess's analysis is based on how the colt trains.

"Kent [Desormeaux] likes him better on dirt than I do, and there's a temptation, but I just think I would be asking for trouble," Hess said.

Chinese Dragon was purchased last fall in Europe for about $150,000, and has won both of his starts in the United States.

Hess had main-track success in 2002 with European import Azillion, who finished second in the Lane's End. But unlike Chinese Dragon, Azillion "worked great on dirt," Hess said.

Barring a change of heart, Chinese Dragon will return April 16 in the $100,000 La Puente Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Chandtrue in blinkers for San Pedro

Hess-trained sprinter Chandtrue will add blinkers Saturday in the $75,000 San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs. Chandtrue went 4 for 4 last year, including the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile, but ran poorly in his March 5 comeback, finishing next-to-last as the 8-5 favorite in the Baldwin Stakes.

"I blame myself for maybe not having him focused, and I can also blame the track [condition]," Hess said. Though the track was rated fast March 5, it was moist from rain.

Chandtrue worked a half-mile Monday in 47 seconds, tied for the fastest of the morning.

"He worked awesome," Hess said. "He's A-plus for Saturday."

While Hess said that one-inch "cheater" blinkers may help keep Chandtrue focused, he admits the equipment change also is to provide peace of mind.

"They're probably more for the jockey and the trainer than they are for the horse," he said.

Chandtrue's rivals in the San Pedro are expected to include recent maiden winners El Roblar, Pure as Gold, and White Pine.

Baze will race to make the race

After flying nearly 9,000 miles from Dubai to London to Los Angeles, a 37-mile freeway jaunt will be the final hurdle for jockey Tyler Baze before he can ride Star Over the Bay on Sunday in the Grade 2, $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap. Baze is scheduled to ride Congrats in the $6 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday, fly to London early the next morning, then travel nonstop to Los Angeles International Airport. His plane lands at 2:10 p.m. Baze's agent, Ivan Puhich, will be waiting.

"I've got it all planned - he'll be here in plenty of time," Puhich said.

The 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey will be run after 4 p.m.

Star Over the Bay will set the pace in the San Luis Rey. Trained by Mike Mitchell, he has won 4 of his last 5, all under Baze, including the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Handicap. In his most recent start Jan. 29, Star Over the Bay raced gate to wire in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf.

The field for the San Luis Rey is also expected to include Epicentre, Kurm, Meteor Storm, and T. H. Approval. Sweet Return is aiming for the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at one mile on April 9.

Silent Bid might stay out West

Though leading Kentucky Derby hopefuls Consolidator and Going Wild are headed out of town for upcoming races, trainer D. Wayne Lukas has not ruled out having a starter in the Santa Anita Derby on April 9.

"I've got a couple I might run in there," Lukas said Tuesday.

One of them is front-runner Silent Bid, who is possible for the Grade 2 Lane's End on Saturday at Turfway Park.

Lukas said his status for that race depends on the Kentucky weather. Rain could force a change in plans. Lukas said that Silent Bid, whose last recorded work was March 10, is scheduled to fly out Friday.

"If he's on the plane, he'll run," Lukas said. If not? "He could show up here."

With 16 days to go before the Santa Anita Derby, the race is coming up without a genuine front-runner. All the speed is leaving town - the Patrick Biancone-trained Spanish Chestnut runs Saturday in the Lane's End, Going Wild runs April 9 in the Wood, and Consolidator runs April 16 in the Blue Grass.

The field for the Santa Anita Derby is expected to include the filly Sweet Catomine, Giacomo, Don't Get Mad, Scipion, and Golden Shine. Sweet Catomine worked a half-mile Monday in 49 seconds.

Sort It Out has six-furlong drill

Whirlaway Stakes winner Sort It Out posted a good six-furlong workout Monday in 1:12.80, his first drill since finishing eighth of nine in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 12. Trainer Bob Baffert said he "liked the way he worked," adding that options for the colt include the Grade 2 Illinois Derby on April 9 at Hawthorne, the Grade 1 Wood the same day at Aqueduct, or the $500,000 WinStar Derby on April 2 at Sunland Park.

Baffert said the Mike Pegram-owned Pussycat Doll, a Grade 3 runner-up in her last start Jan. 16, was no longer being aimed for the Kentucky Oaks.