01/15/2004 1:00AM

For once, Nothing to Lose may not win

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Nothing to Lose risks his unbeaten record on turf when he makes his California debut and first start for trainer Bobby Frankel in Monday's $150,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita.

He may need a performance superior to his wins in the Palm Beach Stakes and Tropical Park Derby last winter in Florida to beat a field expected to include fellow 4-year-olds Californian, Fairly Ransom, and Sweet Return, as well as the older horses Puerto Banus, Runaway Dancer, and Sharbayan.

Nothing to Lose has been with Frankel since last fall but has not started since winning the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park last February for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Nothing to Lose was taken out of training last spring with a shin injury.

The 11-month layoff is a concern for Frankel, but he has a strong record with horses returning from lengthy breaks.

"Anytime you haven't run a horse before, you wonder how they'll perform," Frankel said. "You wonder sometimes if you're training them right."

In recent weeks, Nothing to Lose has shown speed in workouts. On Jan. 2, he zipped six furlongs in 1:12.60 at Hollywood Park. Wednesday, he worked six furlongs in 1:13.60.

Frankel is Nothing to Lose's third trainer. The colt won a maiden race on turf at Saratoga in August 2002 for trainer Charles Simon and was transferred to Lukas later that fall. After finishing fourth in two dirt races, Nothing to Lose was switched to turf in December 2002 and reeled off a win in an allowance race at Calder followed by the two stakes wins.

The Tropical Park Derby and the Palm Beach Stakes were over 1 1/8 miles.

Jerry Bailey, who is based in Florida at this time of year, was aboard for both wins and has the mount in the San Marcos, which is run over 1 1/4 miles with a downhill start for the first furlong.

Frankel is confident that Nothing to Lose can perform over the distance.

"I've seen some of his races and he's got a good turn of foot," Frankel said.

All seven probables are stakes winners.

Sweet Return and Fairly Ransom finished first and second in the Hollywood Derby for trainer Ron McAnally. Fairly Ransom won the Del Mar Derby last September.

Trainer Kristin Mulhall has two starters - Californian, who won the Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland last April, and Puerto Banus, unraced since winning the Sunset Handicap last July.

Runaway Dancer and Sharbayan may be best over 1 1/2 miles. Runaway Dancer won the Carleton Burke Handicap over that distance on Oct. 24, three weeks after Sharbayan scored in the Sycamore Breeders' Cup Stakes at Keeneland.

Mambo Slew perfect on turf

Mambo Slew remained unbeaten on turf with a three-length win in Wednesday's $76,300 Blue Norther Stakes, a performance that trainer Patrick Biancone insists was the best of the filly's young career.

Mambo Slew ($5.60) rallied from fourth on the final turn to take the lead in early stretch under Mike Smith. She ran the mile on turf in 1:34.68, easily beating Ticker Tape.

The Blue Norther was Mambo Slew's first start since she won the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28. Owned by Frank Manganero, Mambo Slew won a maiden race on turf here in October.

"She ran better today," Biancone said in the winner's circle. "She's improving. Mike [Smith] said she was better than the last time. She can follow and kick, and that's what you want on the turf."

Ticker Tape, second in the Miesque, offered little resistance in the stretch of the Blue Norther. She rallied four-wide on the final turn, but did not keep pace with the winner.

Yingyingying, a maiden trained by Biancone, finished third, five lengths behind the winner in the field of eight.

Biancone said Mambo Slew will be pointed for the $150,000 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/8 miles on turf on April 11. He says he wants her ready for the more lucrative stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf later this year.

"We'll let her age a little," he said.

Silent Sighs to enter Santa Ynez

Silent Sighs, the winner of the fillies division of the California Breeders' Champion Stakes on Dec. 27, will be entered for Monday's $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes, but trainer Julio Canani said that owner Marty Wygod has not ruled out a start in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks for California-breds and Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24.

"We'll probably run here. We don't want to ship," Canani said.

If she stays at Santa Anita, Silent Sighs will face a tougher field. A winner of 2 of 3 starts, she will be opposed by the only filly to defeat her - House of Fortune, who finished a half-length in front of Silent Sighs in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 8.

Other top contenders include Whoopi Cat, unraced since a victory in the Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga in August; Rahy Dolly, the runner-up in the Hollywood Starlet last month; and minor stakes winner Church Editor.

Fogelsonger back from injury

Jockey Ryan Fogelsonger has returned to riding after five weeks on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

Fogelsonger, who was booked on one mount on Friday, has one mount on Saturday - Our Southern Pearl, in the fourth race. He began exercising horses earlier this week after receiving doctor's permission to resume riding and insists he is ready.

"Nothing keeps you in shape like being on the back of a horse," he said.

Fogelsonger will travel to Florida later this month for the Eclipse Awards. He is among the nominees for the award as the nation's outstanding apprentice jockey of 2003. Fogelsonger won the award in 2002. He rode as an apprentice for almost five months last year, becoming a journeyman in late May.

Class Above works fast

Class Above, the winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies in September, worked six furlongs in 1:11 on Thursday, the fastest of 13 recorded works at the distance.

Trained by Bob Baffert for Padua Stable, Class Above finished seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in October.

Baffert said Class Above will not start in the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes over a mile on Feb. 15, a race expected to draw Halfbridled, the BC Juvenile Fillies winner.