11/10/2006 1:00AM

Pletcher brings string west


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A dozen horses trained by Todd Pletcher arrived at Hollywood Park on Thursday, the first shipment of a stable that could eventually reach 40 horses.

The nation's leading trainer in money earnings with more than $26.4 million through Thursday, Pletcher has shipped horses to California for specific stakes in past years. This is the first time he will keep a stable in California on a full-time basis. Pletcher said earlier this year that the stable will remain in California through the winter and possibly longer.

The first arrivals include Circular Quay, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4; and Friendly Island, who finished second at 58-1 in the BC Sprint.

The remainder of the stable that arrived on Thursday consists of maidens and allowance-class runners, including Ready to Talk, who is entered in a six-furlong allowance race on turf on Sunday.

Pletcher is part of a group of Eastern-based trainers stabling for the first time at Hollywood Park this winter. The group includes Patrick Biancone, Christophe Clement, Richard Dutrow, and Lisa Lewis.

Many have cited the installation of a synthetic track at Hollywood as a major factor in their decision. Michael Tabor, who owns Circular Quay, is a major proponent of synthetic surfaces and has horses with Biancone and Pletcher.

Pletcher said earlier this week that Circular Quay is unlikely to start during the Hollywood fall meeting, but that Friendly Island could start in coming weeks. One possibility is the $100,000 Vernon Underwood Stakes over six furlongs on Dec. 2.

Pletcher said additional horses will be sent to California in coming weeks, particularly at the end of the Churchill Downs fall meeting later this month. He said he hopes the stable will number "between 30 and 40 horses. I'm trying to feel my way along for the first time. We're getting organized in Florida, which will be my main base."

The stable has two hopefuls for the Turf festival from Nov. 24-26 - Brushed Gold in the $100,000 Miesque Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on Nov. 25 and Ready to Please in the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes over a mile on turf on Nov. 26.

Pletcher said he has not chosen a goal for Circular Quay, who won two sprint stakes during the summer and was second in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last month.

"I haven't decided where he'll make his next start, but it won't be this year," Pletcher said.

There are possibilities early in the Santa Anita meeting. The first graded stakes of that meet is the $150,000 San Rafael Stakes over a mile on Jan. 13. Another important race for Triple Crown hopefuls is the $150,000 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs on Feb. 11.

In the BC Juvenile, Circular Quay finished 10 lengths behind Street Sense, and was 2 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Great Hunter. Circular Quay was last of 14 for the first half-mile and quickly moved into contention on the final turn.

"He dropped back and we had to make a move at some point," Pletcher said. "The winner had a great trip along the rail. The rail turned out to be the place to be.

"He put in a tremendous three-eighths mile running kick. We'd like to get him to lay a little closer."

Get Funky not yet race-ready

Get Funky, the winner of the Del Mar Derby on Sept. 2 in his most recent start, will miss the $500,000 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 26 after failing to quickly rebound from a recent surgery to aid his breathing, trainer John Sadler said.

Get Funky underwent surgery earlier this fall to correct an entrapped epiglottis.

"I've run out of time for the Hollywood Derby," Sadler said. "I think he can run at the end of the meeting."

His next major goal could be the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 27, Sadler said. A Florida-bred owned by Keith Abrahams, Get Funky has won 3 of 6 starts and $318,506.

Dilemma, Prime Ruler top nominees

Dilemma and Prime Ruler, the first and third finishers of the Sunny Slope Stakes on Oct. 22, are among the 17 2-year-old nominated for the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes next Saturday.

The Grade 3 Prevue is run over seven furlongs and the first of 14 graded stakes at this meeting. The Prevue is considered a prep race to the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 16.

The Prevue is expected to mark the stakes debut of Notional, a sharp maiden winner at Santa Anita on Oct. 21.

Declan's Moon points to Underwood

The Underwood field may include Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004 whose career has been plagued by setbacks in the last 18 months.

Unraced since finishing seventh in the Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar in August, Declan's Moon was later found to have been suffering from a lung infection. He battled leg problems in 2005 that kept him off the track for most of his 3-year-old season.

Trainer Ron Ellis said that Underwood could be used as a prep to the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Jan. 6.

"This is about the time I thought he'd be ready," Ellis said. "He's kind of ready to run now. He looks good. He's really filled out."

Greg's Gold back in training

Greg's Gold, the winner of the Grade 1 Bing Crosby BC Handicap at Del Mar in 2005, has resumed training after being given more than a year to recover from a knee injury.

Trained by David Hofmans, Greg's Gold has not started since the Bing Crosby. Hofmans said that Greg's Gold was given ample time off "on purpose" to recover from the injury. Greg's Gold had a bone chip removed from a knee in October 2005.

Greg's Gold has won 4 of 13 starts and $350,928. He won his first stakes in the Bing Crosby and was considered a candidate for the Breeders' Cup Sprint at the time the injury was detected.