07/13/2001 11:00PM

The Morris Monroe poised for the upset in Answer Do


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The Morris Monroe has turned into a savvy claim for Bill Goddard and trainer Paul Aguirre. Purchased for $40,000 in April 2000, The Morris Monroe has since earned $158,852 and finished second in two stakes. On Monday, closing day of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting, The Morris Monroe can pull an upset in the $70,000 Answer Do Stakes for California-bred sprinters on turf.

Run over 5 1/2 furlongs, the Answer Do has drawn a field of six, including the speedy Gibson County, who was fourth over this course and distance in the Robert Kerlan Handicap on June 23. The likely favorite, Gibson County, trained by Bob Baffert, is the starter that Aguirre fears.

"He may keep going," Aguirre said. "There's no speed." The Morris Monroe was second in an allowance race-optional claimer May 16, his first start in four months because of a breathing operation. He will be ridden by Corey Nakatani.

"We're taking the blinkers off," Aguirre said. "He's such a hard-trying horse we don't think he needs them. It was Corey's idea."

The field also includes Irisheyesareflying, who was fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap. He has raced in routes for most of the year, but did win a sprint on dirt at Santa Anita in January.

Week 1: Two Oceansides at Del Mar

Wednesday's $100,000 Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar is likely to be divided into two divisions for the 13th consecutive year. "Why stop now?" said Del Mar director of racing Tom Robbins.

Robbins said the Oceanside Stakes drew 32 nominations. Run over a mile on turf, the Oceanside is restricted to 3-year-olds who have not won a first-place purse of $50,000 in 2001. Dr. Park heads the nominees.

Trained by John Sadler, Dr. Park finished in a dead heat for first with Media Mogul in the $109,800 Will Rogers Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 20, earning $43,920. If he had won the race outright, he would not be eligible for the Oceanside.

There are six stakes in the first week of the Del Mar meeting, including the $400,000 Ramona Handicap on Saturday for fillies and mares on turf. Happyanunoit, who won the Gamely Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 26, heads the field.

On Sunday, Kona Gold, the champion 2000 sprinter, will attempt to defend his title in the $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race expected to draw Caller One, the winner of the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai last March.

Flores back in the saddle

Jockey David Flores was briefly hospitalized on Friday after being kicked in the paddock before the second race. He resumed riding Saturday, and won the first race aboard Covincing ($3.80).

Flores was preparing to climb aboard Forward March on Friday when the 4-year-old colt lunged forward and struck him on the chin with a back leg, according to onlookers. Flores was taken from the paddock on a stretcher, acknowledging the crowd with a wave, and was taken to Centinela Hospital for X-rays.

According to track officials, Flores needed stitches for his chin and was taken to a dentist on Friday night to be treated for chipped teeth. He was replaced on his final two mounts on the program. At the time of the accident, many onlookers worried that he was seriously injured.

Chris McCarron and Omar Berrio were shaken up in separate incidents later on Friday. McCarron was thrown from Queenoftheprom at the start of the fifth race. Berrio was unseated from No Fooling in the gate before the sixth. Both McCarron and Berrio took off their final mounts of the day, which were winners, one for Laffit Pincay Jr. and one for Alex Solis.

* Through Friday, Solis led Pincay in the jockey standings, 59-58. Jack Carava held a tenuous two-race lead in the trainer standings over Baffert, 21-19.