11/24/2008 12:00AM

Muny's stamina gets tested


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - There is only one former maiden claimer among the probables for Sunday's $500,000 Hollywood Derby and he will have an important say in the outcome of the Grade 1 race.

Muny, who began his career in June with a fourth-place finish in a $62,500 claiming race for maidens at Hollywood Park, is expected to set the pace in the Hollywood Derby. Whether he can handle the 1 1/4 miles on turf depends on pressure from the competition and how much jockey David Flores is able to coax the colt into taking it easy in the first half of the race.

"A mile and a quarter is unchartered territory," trainer Mike Puype said Sunday morning. "No doubt we have to throttle him down. To turn for home on the lead is one thing, to finish on the lead is another."

Muny has already done that, winning the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 from the front in a 10-1 upset. He finished a neck in front of an unlucky Madeo, who was blocked in early stretch. Still, Muny won his third consecutive race in the Oak Tree Derby, which was run over 1 1/8 miles on turf. He is owned by a partnership that includes breeder Rick Trontz.

"What more can you say about a horse that wins a derby race in his fourth start?" Puype said.

A move to route races has been key to Muny. He has been on or near the lead in each start. He has set fast fractions and slow fractions, but has never run beyond 1 1/8 miles.

"To get the distance, he'll need to relax," Puype said.

Sunday, Muny had his final prerace workout, breezing six furlongs on turf in 1:14.

The Hollywood Derby will be Muny's toughest race by far. The field is expected to include Madeo, who won the Del Mar Derby in August; Dixie Chatter, third in the Oak Tree Derby; Court Vision, Cowboy Cal, Gio Ponti, and Sailor's Cap, stakes winners from the East Coast; and the European imports Albahri and Midships.

Shirreffs shaken up in fall

Madeo is trained by John Shirreffs, who was hospitalized last Friday after he was unseated from his pony during morning training hours at Hollywood Park.

Shirreffs was kept overnight at a local hospital as a precaution before being released. The extent of the injury was not immediately known. Shirreffs did not return a phone call over the weekend. He directed the stable from home through e-mails and telephone calls, according to his stable staff, and was expected back to the barn early this week.

Whatsthescript heads Citation probables

The Hollywood Derby is one of three Grade 1 races that make up the six-race Autumn Turf Festival, which is run from Friday through Sunday. There are two stakes each day.

Friday's main race is the $400,000 Citation Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf. Whatsthescript, third in the Breeders' Cup Mile, will be favored against Becrux, Ferneley, Formal Decree, Galantas, Hyperbaric, Lord Admiral, Proudinsky, and Rebellion.

Sunday's $500,000 Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile on turf will be led by defending champion Precious Kitten, who was fourth in the BC Mile. She will probably be opposed by Black Mamba, Cocoa Beach, Criminologist, Magical Fantasy, Passified Roshani, Rosinka, and Visit.

Johnny Eves will keep sprinting

Johnny Eves, who broke a seven-race losing streak when he won the six-furlong Vernon O. Underwood Stakes last Saturday, will stick to sprints and make his next two starts against statebred competition, trainer Jay Robbins said.

Robbins said he wants to bring Johnny Eves back in the $100,000 On Trust Handicap for California-breds on Dec. 14 at Hollywood Park, and then the Sunshine Millions Sprint, for Cal-breds and Florida-breds, in January at Santa Anita.

Even though Johnny Eves ran well enough to lose by a nose in the 1 1/16-mile San Fernando Stakes earlier this year, Robbins said he decided to remain in sprints after Johnny Eves finished ninth of 10 going one mile in the Windy Sands Handicap at Del Mar, his second start following a brief freshening.

"I was disappointed with his first two races back," Robbins said, referring to the Bing Crosby at Del Mar, and the Windy Sands. "I thought going two turns at Del Mar would allow him to use his speed to get away from the other horses. But that was a total disaster. Then he showed a resemblance of himself in the Cal Cup."

Johnny Eves was second in the California Cup Sprint on Oct. 5, his final race before the Underwood.

"I think sprinting is probably his forte, and seven-eighths might be his best distance," Robbins said.

The On Trust is at 7 1/2 furlongs around one turn.

Two horses fatally injured

Two horses were euthanized on Saturday after sustaining sesamoid injuries while galloping out after races, according to track stewards.

Tour da Bronx finished fourth in a $25,000 claimer on the main track. He led to the eighth pole and was beaten 2 3/4 lengths. D Double You finished second in a six-furlong turf race for $62,500 claimers. He was beaten a length.

Mullins horse disqualified for overage

Pathbreaking was disqualified by Hollywood Park stewards from a third-place finish in the third race at Del Mar on Aug. 3 for testing positive for an overage of carbon dioxide.

Owners Jerry and Marjorie Engelauf, trainer Jeff Mullins, and jockey Martin Garcia were ordered Saturday to return the money they earned from Pathbreaking's race that day.

The test found Pathbreaking had a total carbon dioxide level of 37.9 millimoles per liter, above the regulatory level of 37 millimoles. Carbon dioxide overages are commonly the result of the administration of baking soda in what is known as a milkshake, which is thought to increase stamina.

* Trainer Vladimir Cerin was fined $500 by Hollywood stewards on Sunday after Kewen, the winner of a $50,000 claiming race at Santa Anita on Oct. 15, tested in excess of the permitted level of methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant.

* Trainer Ron Ellis also was fined $500 on Sunday, for failing to report that the first-time starter Rail Trip had been gelded before making his winning career debut at Hollywood Park on Nov. 7. According to track steward Albert Christiansen, Ellis informed racing officials that Rail Trip was a gelding after the program was published, but needed to do so when the entry was placed. "The foal papers had to have him listed as a gelding," Christiansen said.

* Trainer Paddy Gallagher was fined $500 by the stewards after his horse Kayd Kodaun, who won the third race at Hollywood on Oct. 29, tested for an overage of the allowed anti-inflammatory flunixin. The horse was not disqualified.- additional reporting by Jay Privman