01/16/2004 12:00AM

Perfect Mandate's time to shine

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A buzz has surrounded the first crop of young sire Perfect Mandate since his foals began racing last summer throughout California.

Saturday, before a national audience, the hype could go nationwide when two of Perfect Mandate's 3-year-olds start in Sunshine Millions races for California-breds and Florida-breds.

At Santa Anita, Badgett's Mandate, Perfect Mandate's top earner, starts in the $250,000 Dash. At Gulfstream Park, Allswellthatnswell makes her stakes debut in the $250,000 Oaks.

The lucrative races can enhance Perfect Mandate's status among young stallions in California. In last year's freshman stallion list, he finished second to Free House, with progeny earnings of $193,730.

The success came from a small crop. Perfect Mandate had only five runners in 2003, with three winners - Badgett's Mandate, Military Mandate, and Razen Hazen.

Razen Hazen gave Perfect Mandate his first stakes win, in the Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa. Military Mandate finished third in the Grade 3 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, and Badgett's Mandate placed in three stakes, including the open division of the California Breeders' Champion Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 28.

Perfect Mandate is off to an excellent start this year, with the success of Allswellthatnswell, who won a six-furlong maiden race for California-bred fillies by seven lengths Jan. 9.

The win has given owners Bud and Judy Johnston and trainer Ted H. West the confidence to try the Oaks. The Johnstons stand Perfect Mandate at their Old English Rancho in Sanger, Calif.

Perfect Mandate went to stud in 2000 after making little impression as a racehorse. He made only two starts, both at 2 in 1998, finishing second in a maiden race and in the Sunny Slope Stakes over six furlongs at Santa Anita.

Perfect Mandate is by Gone West out of Performing Arts, a mare by The Minstrel who was stakes placed in England. She has produced three stakes winners: Dance Trick, Performing Magic, and Woodborough.

Allswellthatnswell impressed West after she arrived at his barn last fall.

"The first time we worked her - I hadn't been told anything - she worked in 34," West said. "She was as impressive as a horse can be."

Against maidens, Allswellthatnswell stalked the lead on the backstretch and pulled clear in early stretch under jockey Mike Smith, finishing in 1:09.75 for six furlongs.

"I think she could have done more last time," West said. "I like the fact she ran like an experienced horse. She broke a little slow and then went right to the lead. Mike took her back and she didn't resist it."

Even though she has only started once, Allswellthatnswell could be a top contender in the Oaks. Two other leading California-breds - Silent Sighs and Yearly Report - are nominated but may start in Monday's Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita.

Badgett's Mandate will face tougher opposition in the Dash.

In the California Breeders' Champion Stakes, he finished second to Don'tsellmeshort, who will be trying for his fourth stakes win in the Dash. The Florida-breds include two California-based horses: Ice Wynnd Fire, who finished second in an optional claimer on Dec. 26, and Saint Afleet, who won two sprints at Hollywood Park.

Vessels puts 48 horses up for sale

Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif., which stands Free House and top California sire In Excess, will offer 48 horses at the Heritage Place winter mixed sale in Oklahoma City from Thursday through Saturday.

The consignment includes 20 Quarter Horses and 28 Thoroughbreds, including eight mares by In Excess. The Thoroughbred consignment was described as a reduction by farm executive Rich Decker.

"We've still got lots of mares left that the farm owns," Decker said. "We need some clean-up; everyone has to do it every once in a while. We just want to gradually keep upgrading what we've got here. With the stallion power we have, we have to upgrade."