03/22/2006 1:00AM

Now if he can just get a rider . . .

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Atlando, winning the San Luis Obispo, returns in Saturday's San Luis Rey.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Atlando, who won the San Luis Obispo Handicap last month, returns for a similar 1 1/2-mile turf race on Saturday, the Grade 2, $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap. Martin Pedroza, who usually rides Atlando, is riding in Dubai on Saturday. So is Victor Espinoza. And Garrett Gomez. And Corey Nakatani. David Cohen and Felipe Martinez are there, too. Jon Court is riding at Golden Gate on Saturday, and David Flores is scheduled to be at Turfway Park.

Kent Desormeaux, Aaron Gryder, Alex Solis, and Patrick Valenzuela already have committed to other horses in the San Luis Rey. So, as of Wednesday morning, trainer Darrell Vienna was still trying to come up with a jockey for Atlando.

"Got any ideas?" Vienna asked.

Atlando has run three good races since coming here from Europe, by way of New York. He was second in the 1 1/8-mile San Gabriel Handicap on Jan. 1, fourth in the 1 1/4-mile San Marcos Handicap on Jan. 22, then stretched out to 1 1/2 miles and captured the San Luis Obispo on Feb. 26.

Asked if the longer distances are better for Atlando, Vienna replied, "I'm not sure about that.

"The horse who was second to him last time was pretty impressive," he said.

That would be T.H. Approval, who lost to Atlando by three-quarters of a length in the San Luis Obispo while making his first start since July, and returns in the San Luis Rey.

"He ran a very good race, much better than I expected," said Eduardo Inda, who trains T.H. Approval.

T.H. Approval is one of just three horses trained by Inda, a former longtime assistant to Ron McAnally.

"I never got a chance to work him in company," Inda said. "I don't have a lot of horses, like McAnally or Richard Mandella. He's a lazy horse. I thought he ran a super race."

In addition to Atlando and T.H. Approval, the San Luis Rey is expected to include Eastern Sand, King's Drama, One Off, and Wild Buddy.

Eastern Sand worked five furlongs on the turf in 1:03.20 on Wednesday morning at Santa Anita for trainer Jeff Mullins.

Silver Cup goes for third straight

Silver Cup, who won the San Gorgonio and Buena Vista handicaps earlier this meet, will go for her third straight win on Sunday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap. She worked a half-mile in 47.80 seconds on Wednesday morning for trainer Patrick Biancone, who mused that Silver Cup was 7-1 in the Buena Vista Handicap after beating pretty much the same group in the San Gorgonio at 16-1.

"It was like the bettors said, 'I was right, the result was wrong,' " Biancone said.

Silver Cup's rivals are expected to include Argentina, Beautyandthebeast, Eternal Melody, Halo Ola, Katdogawn, Moscow Burning, Royal Copenhagen, and Ticker Tape. Jim Cassidy, who trains Moscow Burning and Ticker Tape, said both would be entered on Friday morning, but that Moscow Burning might be scratched in favor of the $100,000 Work the Crowd Handicap for California-breds on April 1 at Golden Gate.

"Biancone told me I was going to enter both, so I might as well keep the Frenchman happy," Cassidy said.

Beautyandthebeast (48.60 seconds), trained by Neil Drysdale, and Royal Copenhagen (50.60), trained by Laura de Seroux, both worked a half-mile on the turf on Wednesday morning at Santa Anita.

Sullivan fondly remembered

John Sullivan, the popular trainer who died on Monday night from cancer at age 77, was fondly remembered by colleagues on Wednesday morning at Santa Anita. Sullivan won major races with the likes of Forzando, Vernon Castle, and Yashgan, but might best be remembered for the heartbreaking loss he suffered with The Bart against John Henry in the inaugural Arlington Million in 1981.

"I didn't realize who the horse was that we had beaten until after the race," said McAnally, who trained John Henry. "He didn't get upset. He was the same humorous self he always was. I think he was just happy his horse ran so well."

The Bart was ridden that day by Eddie Delahoussaye.

"He used to joke with Delahoussaye that it took him three days to get the bit out of his mouth," Cassidy said. "Eddie would joke that the horse was short. That would really get John going."

"He never said a bad word about anyone," McAnally said. "I claimed a horse from him, First Back, who went on to win the San Fernando Stakes. When that happened, I felt sorry for John, but it never seemed to bother him."

Pete Gonzalez, who is now Eoin Harty's assistant, got his first job on the racetrack with Sullivan more than 20 years ago.

"I went around to several barns at Hollywood Park saying I had never worked with horses, but I was willing to work for free for a week," Gonzalez said. "A bunch of trainers turned me down. Then I went to John's barn. He was talking with Paddy Gallagher, who was his assistant then. John was walking a horse. I told him the same line. He said, 'Have you ever walked a horse?' I said no. He handed me the horse and said, 'Now you have.'

"The thing about John is that he loved people," said Gonzalez. "He'd help anyone. He had so many friends and no enemies. He was a great horseman and very well liked and respected. With racetrackers, he was probably on a par with Charlie Whittingham and Laz Barrera in terms of popularity."

* Valenzuela took off his mounts Wednesday. "He said his neck was bothering him and he was seeking medical attention," said steward Tom Ward.

* The meet's first 2-year-old race Wednesday went to Yo Joan, a daughter of Bartok who sped a quarter-mile in 21.66 seconds. Tyler Baze rode Yo Joan for trainer Wesley Ward.

* Star Parade, who is preparing for next month's Apple Blossom Handicap, worked six furlongs on the training track in 1:12.60 for Vienna on Wednesday morning.

* Giacomo, last year's Kentucky Derby winner, breezed a half-mile in 50.20 seconds on Wednesday morning at Hollywood Park for trainer John Shirreffs. It was his first breeze since his fifth in the Santa Anita Handicap. Shirreffs also worked his stakes-winning mare Hollywood Story. She went six furlongs in 1:13.60.