01/12/2006 12:00AM

Play Ballado could stay West with strong run


ARCADIA, Calif. - With a concentration of 4-year-old fillies in his stable, Eastern trainer John Ward plans to have a presence in Southern California in coming months.

Sunday, Ward's Play Ballado will make her graded stakes debut in the Grade 2, $150,000 El Encino Stakes for 4-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles. If she runs well, she could stay for the $200,000 La Canada Stakes on Feb. 12 or be replaced by stablemates Miss Matched or For All We Know.

"The [4-year-old] fillies on the West Coast have a lot more opportunities than on the East Coast," Ward said.

Ward acknowledged it is time to test Play Ballado against tougher competition. Owned by John Oxley, Play Ballado has won 3 of 4 starts in New York and Chicago, including the restricted Miss Oceana Stakes over a mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 2, her most recent start.

The El Encino will be her first start around two turns.

A large filly, Play Ballado has been based at Santa Anita since Jan. 4.

"As you're going into your first race around two turns, you're worried," Ward said. "I think a mile and a sixteenth gives her a chance to use her size as an advantage and she has a good stride. She's very tactical."

Play Ballado races near the front. She is one of seven probable starters in the El Encino, including Cream Donut Keith, Shimmer, Skipping Court, Something-aboutlaura, Three Degrees, and Proposed, who must be supplemented for $3,000.

Gomez, owner fined over KKK photo incident

Jockey Garrett Gomez and owner John Rohloff were fined $1,000 by Santa Anita stewards on Thursday after the stewards said they were involved in a practical joke in October when a photograph of a Ku Klux Klansman was placed in the locker of a black jockey, Kerwin John.

Gomez declined to comment on the fine on Thursday afternoon, saying he wanted to discuss the matter with his lawyer. Rohloff was not available for comment.

The photograph was placed in John's locker at Santa Anita. At the time, John said he was offended by the presence of the photograph, even though he thought it was a practical joke.

Stewards Scott Chaney, George Slender, and Tom Ward held a hearing on the matter last Saturday. There is a chance that Gomez and Rohloff could appeal the ruling, the stewards said.

"Jokes go on all the time, but we told [Gomez] we can't condone this," Slender said.

Slender said that Rohloff brought the photo to Gomez and that a jockeys' room valet placed the photo in John's locker. Slender said that Rohloff has employed John to ride some of his horses.

Impressive Luck moved to Jan. 25

The $75,000 Impressive Luck Handicap scheduled for Saturday has been postponed to Jan. 25 because of expected wet weather.

The Impressive Luck Handicap was scheduled for about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course, which includes a crossover from the hillside portion of the course to the main oval. Because footing can become treacherous on the crossover in wet weather, the course will not be used. The two turf races scheduled for Saturday will be run on the main oval of the course.

The postponement delays the U.S. debut of Milk It Mick, the winner of the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes in England in 2003.

Milk It Mick was shipped from England to trainer Jim Cassidy earlier this month, with the hope that a different circuit will revive his career. Owned by Paul Dixon, Milk It Mick, 5, has failed to duplicate his 2003 form, losing eight consecutive races. His transfer from English trainer Jamie Osborne to Cassidy is designed to get Milk It Mick on firm turf and to allow him to be treated with the anti-bleeding medication Lasix, which is not permitted in England.

"That's why Jamie thought sending him here would be best," Cassidy said.

Careless riding gets three jocks suspended

Jockeys William Antongeorgi III, Corey Nakatani, and Juan Ochoa have been suspended three days for incidents of careless riding in the last week.

The suspensions begin on Thursday and continue through Saturday, Jan. 21.

Antongeorgi rode Trail Mix, who was disqualified from first to sixth in the second race last Sunday. Nakatani was cited for causing interference aboard Victory Sign in Wednesday's fourth race. There was no disqualification for the incident. Ochoa rode Fantasmin, who was disqualified from third to fourth for causing interference in the seventh race on Wednesday.

Wednesday pick six pays $146,251

Wednesday's pick six returned $146,251 to five ticketholders on a day that began with a carryover of $167,708 from Sunday's card. Bettors added $1,014,963 to the pool on Wednesday.

The winning horses in the pick six races were Chosen Royalty ($9.80), Peter and Zoe ($14.80), Cepheus Star ($13.40), Da Svedonya ($8.20), Leo Getz ($5.40), and She's So Vain ($15.60).

The first leg, the third race, nearly resulted in a major upset. Chosen Royalty rallied from 11th to win by a head over 125-1 Luckys Lola.

* Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron will be honored on Saturday with a ceremony unveiling a bust of his likeness in Santa Anita's garden paddock. The ceremony will take place after the second race.

McCarron retired in 2002 after a career that included career earnings of more than $264 million. He won nine Breeders' Cup races and two runnings of the Kentucky Derby - with Alysheba in 1987 and with Go for Gin in 1994.