10/16/2005 11:00PM

Mullins simulates Cup conditions

Choctaw Nation (above) and Wild Fit were confined to a security barn before their works.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Sunday was Breeders' Cup dress rehearsal day for Choctaw Nation and Wild Fit, two of the horses that trainer Jeff Mullins is sending to Belmont Park on Oct. 29.

To replicate the Belmont Park system of horses being placed in a security barn for six hours before racing, Mullins did just that with Choctaw Nation and Wild Fit at Santa Anita on Sunday morning and then worked the pair just before lunchtime.

After Wild Fit worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 and Choctaw Nation went in 1:13.20, Mullins considered the simulation to be a success.

"It's good knowing they went through it without any problems," he said. "There were horses all around. There was lots of action."

Both horses jogged a mile before dawn and were given baths before being taken to the security barn, adjacent to Mullins's stable, at about 6 a.m. Choctaw Nation and Wild Fit were kept in the detention barn until shortly before noon, when they worked separately.

Wild Fit, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante in August, was ridden by Alex Solis. She had fractional times of 25 and 49.20 seconds and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26.80.

Choctaw Nation, second in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap on Oct. 1, was ridden by Victor Espinoza. Choctaw Nation went in 25.20 and 50 seconds and galloped out in 1:24.50.

Sunday, Mullins said he did not need to send Breeders' Cup Sprint candidate Captain Squire through the same detention and workout routine. "He's bulletproof," Mullins said.

Last winter, Mullins's starters were placed in a 24-hour security barn for a period of 30 days after one of his starters tested in excess of the permitted levels of total carbon dioxide in January.

Mullins said that Choctaw Nation did not handle the 24-hour security barn well before his fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap in February, making Sunday's simulation even more important.

"He didn't take to it at all," Mullins said, recalling last winter. He said Choctaw Nation handled the routine well on Sunday.

In addition, Wild Fit had no problems Sunday, he said. "She's pretty mature," Mullins said. "Not much seems to bother her."

Recovering Willow O Wisp eyes Hollywood Derby

Willow O Wisp, the morning-line favorite, was withdrawn on the morning of Saturday's Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby after showing the presence of mucus and an abnormal white blood count, trainer Vladimir Cerin said.

Cerin said that the illness was not serious and that he hoped to take Willow O Wisp back to the track early this week. Cerin said that Willow O Wisp will be pointed for the Hollywood Derby next month and that he had every intention of running Willow O Wisp in the Oak Tree Derby.

"It would have been great timing for the next race," he said.

Owned by Robert Alexander, Willow O Wisp has won three consecutive stakes, 5 of 12 starts, and $509,240.

Andreini, 78, appointed to CHRB

Quarter Horse owner John Andreini, 78, has been appointed to the California Horse Racing Board by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He replaces John Sperry, whose term expired during the summer.

Andreini, of San Mateo, operates Andreini and Co., an insurance brokerage form.

A member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association, Andreini is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association's Racing Council.

* Jockey Patrick Valenzuela took off his final six mounts on Sunday, complaining of a sore foot. He missed a ride on Louvain, who won the $100,000 Harold Ramser Sr. Handicap for 3-year-old fillies on turf.

* Grant Forster, who saddled A Classic Life to a seventh-place finish in the Ramser Handicap, plans to have a 16-horse stable at Hollywood Park this winter, he said over the weekend. Most of Forster's horses have been based in the Northwest.