07/18/2004 11:00PM

Musical Chimes works fast for Mabee


DEL MAR, Calif. - Musical Chimes, a middle-distance turf filly, got a late start on racing this year and found few opportunities that suited her. So, trainer Neil Drysdale was forced to run her not once, but twice against males.

"We got a little bit off on the wrong foot," Drysdale said Monday at Del Mar. "She came around a little late. She didn't come to hand as quickly as we anticipated, so we were playing a bit of catch-up."

She might be caught up now. Musical Chimes turned in an eye-catching workout over the Del Mar turf Monday morning in preparation for Saturday's $400,000 John C. Mabee Handicap. Working with stablemates Dimitrova and Studio Time, Musical Chimes was last of the three for a half-mile before finishing fastest under Kent Desormeaux. She was timed in 1:16.60 for six furlongs on turf, with the orange cones, known as dogs, well out past the middle of the course.

"She did it nicely. She quickened well," said Drysdale, who pointed out that Dimitrova's rider, Marcelino Olguin, weighs about 30 more pounds than Desormeaux.

The Mabee, formerly known as the Ramona, is one of three Grade 1 stakes races that will be run at Del Mar this weekend, along with the $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap for male turf runners, and the $250,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap for sprinters.

In addition to Dimitrova (Corey Nakatani the rider) and Musical Chimes (Desormeaux), the Mabee field is expected to include Katdogawn (Mike Smith), Moscow Burning (Jose Valdivia Jr.), Noches de Rosa, Notting Hill (Tyler Baze), and either Light Jig or Megahertz from Bobby Frankel's barn. Alex Solis has the call on Light Jig and Megahertz, who won this race last year.

Katdogawn and Moscow Burning, both trained by Jim Cassidy, worked three furlongs on the main track on Monday morning. Katdogawn was timed in 37 seconds, Moscow Burning in 39.40 seconds.

Drysdale's Eddie Read runners tune up, too

Drysdale also sent his two contenders for Sunday's Eddie Read, King of Happiness and Sarafan, through a seven-furlong team workout on the turf. King of Happiness was timed in 1:29.80, Sarafan in 1:30.20.

The field for the Read is less defined than the Mabee, though it will have the last two winners of the race, Sarafan and Special Ring. Drysdale said King of Happiness might await next week's Wickerr Handicap. Sarafan is definite, but Nakatani has to choose between him and the comebacking Special Ring. If King of Happiness passes the race, and Nakatani jumps to Special Ring, Desormeaux would be open.

Sabiango, the upset winner of Hollywood Park's Whittingham Memorial, is possible for the race. If he runs, Baze rides. If not, Baze will ride Cayoke. Definite for the Read are Bayamo (David Flores), Just Wonder (Smith), Sweet Return (Jerry Bailey), Vangelis (Solis), and Florida invader Mr. Livingston.

Special Ring flew around the turf on Monday morning, zipping five furlongs in 1:00.40, the best time of nine at the distance. Just Wonder was timed in 1:04.40 with exercise rider Brian Eide. Mr. Livingston covered a half-mile in 49.80 seconds.

Bing Crosby may get past winners

As with the Eddie Read, Sunday's Bing Crosby also could feature the last two winners of the race. Beau's Town, who won last year, is definite for the race, and Disturbingthepeace, who won in 2002, is possible.

Disturbingthepeace worked five furlongs in 1:01 on Monday morning. His trainer, Darrell Vienna, said he would wait a day before deciding whether to run. He said he wanted to evaluate the work time compared to others Monday, and consult with the owners.

"He worked well," Vienna said.

The five-furlong times on Monday ranged from 58.20 seconds to 1:04.20, with an average time of 1:00.72.

If Disturbingthepeace runs, Flores will ride. Solis has the call on Beau's Town. Also scheduled for the Bing Crosby are Green Team (Victor Espinoza), Hombre Rapido (Valdivia), Kela (Baze), Pohave (Jon Court), and Revello (Javier Santiago). Attack Alert (Nakatani) is also possible. Attack Alert worked five furlongs in 58.80 seconds on Monday morning.

Look for Chandtrue in the Futurity

After winning three stakes with Chandtrue at Hollywood Park this summer, including Saturday's Hollywood Juvenile Championship, trainer Bob Hess is determined to run the colt once during the Del Mar meet.

There are two major stakes for 2-year-olds at Del Mar - the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 15 and the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity over seven furlongs on Sept. 8 - and Hess has already made his plans for Harold Greene's colt.

When asked whether Chandtrue would run in the Best Pal, Hess said, "No, no, no, he won't run until Sept. 8th."

Hess had similar thoughts during the Hollywood Park meeting. He debated whether to start Chandtrue in the Haggin Stakes on June 20, then went ahead and ran the colt and watched him win by seven lengths.

In the run-up to Saturday's Juvenile Championship, Hess considered passing the race for the Best Pal, but three days before the race decided to run Chandtrue.

Chandtrue won by a half-length over Actxecutive, but was not asked for run in the final sixteenth by his jockey, Espinoza.

"He had to struggle around the turn to get to [Actxecutive], and he didn't blow right by him," Hess said. "When he got to the front, I liked the fact that it looked like he pulled himself up and had something left, but the fact that he had to struggle bothered me a little."

Hess is not considering the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30 for Chandtrue, who is unbeaten in four starts. The colt is by Yes It's True, and Hess feels Chandtrue is best as a sprinter.

"I think he's a one-turn horse," Hess said. "As a 4-year-old, in a perfect world, he might be a one-turn miler. We have a great horse. He is what he is. Time will tell how far he'll go."

Sunday's pick four pool just shy of record

Sunday's pick four pool at Hollywood, guaranteed to reach $500,000 by track management, reached $942,242, the second-highest in track history. The record of $977,346 was set on July 5, a day when it was guaranteed for $400,000.

Sunday's $1 pick four paid $9,581.60 to 78 ticketholders. The winners of the pick four races were Siracoque ($103.60), Star Over the Bay ($8), Nandu ($8.40), and T.H. Approval ($8.60).

Pleasantly Perfect 'never better'

Pleasantly Perfect won last year's Breeders' Cup Classic and this year's Dubai World Cup. He is No. 1-ranked horse on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's weekly poll. He is scheduled to return to action in Del Mar's $250,000 San Diego Handicap on Aug. 1, and according to his trainer, Richard Mandella, he could not be doing any better.

"I've never seen him better," Mandella said Monday morning. "He's fabulous."

Pleasantly Perfect worked an easy five furlongs in 1:03.20 on Sunday morning. Mandella said he wanted a leisurely first work over this track after having put Pleasantly Perfect through a sharp seven-furlong drill at Santa Anita one week earlier. He will have a stronger work at Del Mar this weekend in preparation for the San Diego. "He's ready to go. He's ready to go now," Mandella said.

* Jockey Gary Stevens was married on Sunday night at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif., to the former Angie Athayde. It is the third marriage for Stevens, the first for Athayde. The couple met while Stevens was working on the film "Seabiscuit." Stevens is riding this year in France under contract to trainer Andre Fabre.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen