01/11/2002 1:00AM

Phaenna postpones retirement with victory

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - Phaenna earned another year at the racetrack with her win in the Survive Stakes at Santa Anita earlier this month.

After her owners, Curt and Lila Lanning, seriously considered retiring the multiple stakes winner last year, she stayed in training with Ed Moger and ran so well in the Survive Stakes that plans are in place for a 2002 campaign.

"As long as she wants to run, we'd like to her to run," Lila Lanning said.

At one point last year, the story was much different. When Phaenna was sidelined with foot problems, the Lannings decided it was time to send her to the breeding shed. They even had a stallion contract filled out to send her to top California stallion Bertrando. But she was never shipped to the farm.

"Curt said, 'Let's give her once more chance. If she runs like we think she will, we'll keep running her,' " Lila Lanning recalled. "She had some foot problems and we wanted to make sure her feet were in good condition. We gave her another shot."

Throughout her career, the 7-year-old Phaenna has defied the odds. Bought for $3,500 as a yearling, Phaenna has earned $413,349 and has won 10 of 27 starts.

By Frankly Perfect, she is a sprinter with excellent speed. The Survive Stakes was run over 5 1/2 furlongs for California-breds. Last year, Phaenna also won the Vacaville Stakes over six furlongs at the Solano County Fair in northern California.

Moger said Phaenna will be pointed for the $55,000 Orinda Handicap over six furlongs at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 21.

The mating to Bertrando may have to wait for 2003, although Lila Lanning said the list of possible stallions could expand if Phaenna tops $500,000 in career earnings.

"Bertrando is certainly on our list of stallions," she said. "If she goes over $500,000, it's a different mindset, although Bertrando is a very, very good stallion.

"We're kind of going all directions looking for the best match. We're in the business to make runners, so we haven't really gone that far. We'll do a lot of research."

Cal-breds among Eclipse finalists

There are three California-breds among the finalists for the 2001 Eclipse Awards that were announced on Thursday.

Gourmet Girl, a finalist in the older female division, and Tiznow, among the older males, are leading contenders in their respective groups. Tiznow is also nominated for the Horse of the Year title, but faces competition from the 3-year-old star Point Given.

The California-bred Officer is a longshot to be named champion 2-year-old male after his mixed form in the fall.

The winners will be announced in Miami on Feb. 18.

Tiznow is joined by Sakhee and Lido Palace as finalists for the older male category, but is considered a strong favorite because of his win in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park on Oct. 27. Tiznow has since been retired to stud in Kentucky.

The Horse of the Year category may be more difficult. Point Given will attract plenty of support because of his six stakes wins.

Gourmet Girl is a finalist along with Spain and Tranquility Lake. Gourmet Girl is the only finalist in her division to have won two Grade 1's, having scored in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park and the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Officer won the Champagne Stakes and Del Mar Futurity, but was a well-beaten favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park on Oct. 27. He has not started since finishing third in the Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 15.

For the last few weeks, he has been at the Thoroughbred Corp.'s layup facility in nearby Bradbury. Dick Mulhall, the outfit's racing manager, said Officer would resume training there before rejoining trainer Bob Baffert later this winter.