06/05/2002 11:00PM

No Honeymoon for Always Country

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Always Country, the lone shipper for Saturday's $200,000 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park, will miss the race because of illness, according to trainer Stephen DiMauro.

If history is any indication, the setback could be a blessing in disguise.

In December 2000, DiMauro, who has stables in Florida and New York, brought Two Item Limit to California for the Hollywood Starlet Stakes. An illness knocked her out of that race, but she recovered to finish second in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita and later finished third in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park last October.

Always Country won a minor stakes at Calder on May 4 and was scheduled to make her graded stakes debut in the Honeymoon.

"Maybe this will be the same thing," he said. "It just slows down the plan."

DiMauro abandoned plans for a start on Saturday when Always Country spiked a temperature.

"Rather than wait it out, we decided to treat her," DiMauro said. "The medication we used, penicillin, would test, so we had no chance of running. She looks like she's okay. Hopefully, it will be a short thing."

DiMauro said Always Country will remain at Hollywood Park and be pointed for the $100,000 Flawlessly Stakes over a mile on turf on July 5. He was hoping that she would run well enough in the Honeymoon Handicap to merit an invitation to the $500,000 American Oaks on July 6 at Hollywood but is doubtful she will be selected. Instead, She's Vested, who is being pointed for the Sands Point Handicap at Belmont Park on July 16, may be the stable's representative. The American Oaks is expected to draw a maximum field of 14 for its first running.

Invitations will be issued on June 22.

Reddatore to go next in Californian

Redattore, the winner of the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita in February and the runner-up in the Shoemaker Mile on turf on May 27, will return to the main track for the $500,000 Californian Stakes on June 15, trainer Richard Mandella said.

Mandella had been considering the Californian and the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.

"It will have been three weeks since his last race and I think it would be better to stay home," he said.

Mandella will also start Investor's Dream in the Californian. A 4-year-old Brazilian-bred, Investor's Dream won his U.S. debut in an allowance race/optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf on May 3.

Owned by TNT Stud, Investor's Dream won 3 of 6 starts in Brazil, including two graded stakes on turf. He won his maiden in a sprint on a muddy track.

"He trains like he likes the dirt more than the turf," Mandella said.

The Californian Stakes is expected to include Momentum, the winner of the Native Diver Handicap here last fall and a runner-up in an allowance race on May 24.

* Laffit Pincay Jr. is approaching his 3,000th career win at Hollywood Park. Through Wednesday, when he failed to win with four mounts, Pincay had 2,997 winners. The first winner came aboard Greek Static on April 10, 1968, the first day of that meeting.

* There is no major stakes at Hollywood Park on Sunday. The main race is the $75,000 Manhattan Beach Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. Fun House, who was third in the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes on May 18, will face Carinae, Ristra, and Boozin' Susan.