05/03/2002 12:00AM

No Derby for injured Nakatani

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Corey Nakatani, who was scheduled to ride in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, sustained a "slight concussion" Thursday in a spill at Hollywood Park and will be sidelined until next week. The injury prevented Nakatani from riding Blue Burner in the Derby; he was replaced by Pat Day. Nakatani went down in the third race when his mount Whirlwind Trip clipped heels with Star Nine, the eventual winner ridden by Tyler Baze. Star Nine crossed over in front of Nakatani's mount at the half-mile marker of the 4 1/2-furlong race, causing Whirlwind Trip to stumble and unseat Nakatani.

Star Nine was disqualified from the win and placed last; Baze was handed a five-day suspension by track stewards for crossing over without sufficient clearance. Nakatani said Baze apologized to him after the race. When Nakatani's mount clipped heels, he was thrown off backward and landed on his feet. But the momentum caused him to fall backward and slam his head into the ground. Nakatani did not appear to be struck by any trailing horses, walked off under his own power, was examined at first aid, and later underwent X-rays taken at Arcadia Methodist Hospital.

On Friday morning, Nakatani's doctor advised him not to fly, and to take "two or three days off and play it by ear." The timing of the accident, two days before the Derby, could not have been worse. "I'm real disappointed, I was really excited about riding [Blue Burner]," Nakatani said Friday. "But it could have been worse."

Lethal Instrument in Californian

An impressive comeback by Lethal Instrument on Wednesday has earned him a probable start June 15 in the Grade 2 Californian. Lethal Instrument was returning from surgery to remove an ankle chip, and racing for the first time in 14 months in the classified allowance at 7 1/2 furlongs. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Lethal Instrument won by a half-length in 1:27.98, earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure, and will stretch out to two turns in the 1 1/8-mile Californian. Futural was the beaten favorite in the race, finishing a disinterested fourth while beaten nearly four lengths.

Lethal Instrument is owned by Sid and Jenny Craig and trained by John Shirreffs, whose 3-year-old Calkins Road won the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes on Sunday. Shirreffs said plans have not been confirmed for Calkins Road, but the California-bred could stay in California for an overnight stakes that might lead to a start in the Grade 2 Swaps on July 14.

More badly designed luck

Designed for Luck, the inappropriately named 5-year-old who was disqualified from victory in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November 2000, has been hit with more bad fortune. He suffered a fractured left hock last week in a shipping incident while being vanned from Santa Anita to Hollywood Park. Owned by David and Holly Wilson and trained by Vladimir Cerin, Designed for Luck was being pointed for the Inglewood Handicap on Sunday.

"He'll recover, but it'll take three or four months to heal, and another three or four months until he runs," Cerin said. He expected Designed for Luck to return during the winter meet at Santa Anita. Designed for Luck has won 6 of 18, and earned $336,585.

Skimming won't go in LeRoy

Skimming missed a recently scheduled workout and was not nominated to next Sunday's Mervyn LeRoy Handicap. The Grade 2 race was used by the Bobby Frankel-trained Skimming each of the last two years to prepare for the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, which he won.

Skimming's 2002 debut is likely to be delayed until the Californian next month. Pending weight assignments, Frankel's Santa Anita Handicap winner Milwaukee Brew could start in the $150,000 race at 1 1/16 miles. Other Mervyn LeRoy nominees include Bosque Redondo, Freedom Crest, Grey Memo, Sky Jack, and Total Impact.

* Affluent worked five furlongs Friday at Hollywood (1:04.40) and trainer Ron McAnally is contemplating her next start. Runner-up in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom last time out, Affluent is adept on either surface and could point for the Grade 1 Milady on May 25 on dirt, or the Grade 1 Gamely May 27 on turf. "I'm not sure yet what we're going to do with her - grass or dirt," trainer Ron McAnally said. "It looks like the dirt is easier; grass racing now, you've got the top four or five fillies in the country."

* A memorial service honoring John Mabee will be held Tuesday at Del Mar racetrack. Mabee, one of the most influential owners and breeders in California history and the founder of Golden Eagle Farm, died April 24 at age 80. The service is scheduled for 12:15 at the turf course finish lane, with a reception to follow the ceremony. The Mabee family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in memory of Mabee to the Aseltine School, 4027 Normal St., San Diego, Calif., 92103.

* Jockey Pat Valenzuela is serving a three-day suspension (through Thursday) for an incident in the sixth race Wednesday in which his mount Ceelinctive was disqualified from first and placed third.