12/14/2004 12:00AM

Proud Accolade in blinkers

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Proud Accolade was 3 for 3 lifetime until the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Trainer Todd Pletcher thinks the colt wasn't well focused.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Proud Accolade will race in blinkers for the first time when he goes for the 2-year-old championship in Saturday's Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park.

won the first three starts of his career, including the Champagne Stakes, before his disappointing sixth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. His two most recent works, including a five-furlong drill here on Sunday, have been in blinkers.

"Todd always thought he still wasn't really focused," Michael "Whitey" McCarthy, the assistant trainer to Todd Pletcher, said Tuesday morning at Hollywood Park. "He was always kind of gawky and looking around. Didn't have his mind on business. Todd decided to do it after the Breeders' Cup, but the thought had always been in the back of his mind."

McCarthy is overseeing Proud Accolade's training while Pletcher vacations in the Caribbean this week. Both Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez are scheduled to fly from New York to California on Saturday morning.

The Hollywood Futurity is shaping up as a battle for an Eclipse Award. Proud Accolade, the unbeaten Declan's Moon, and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Wilko all could claim the title with a victory on Saturday.

Bushwacker to take on big three

Bushwacker, who finished second to Declan's Moon in last month's Hollywood Prevue, is among the horses who will take on the big three in the Hollywood Futurity.

"I've been dreaming of whacking bushes. I used to dream of sheep jumping over a fence, but now I dream of whacking bushes," said Bill Currin, the trainer and co-owner of Bushwacker.

Currin's dreams apparently cause him to awaken in a cold sweat when he hears the word "supplement." He said his filly Memorette is unlikely to run in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Sunday against the likes of Sharp Lisa and Splendid Blended because it would cost $20,000.

"She would have to be supplemented for 20 grand. That's a healthy hit," Currin said. "I'll enter Bushwacker, but the next day with Memorette, I'm not so sure."

McAnally unhappy with track

Like Currin, trainer Ron McAnally also has a pair of longshots he could run in the Hollywood Futurity and the Starlet, but his mind was roiling on Tuesday morning because of concern over the condition of the main track. Early Tuesday morning, the McAnally-trained filly Dream Walking, who won a maiden race on Dec. 2, fractured sesamoid bones in her left front ankle midway through a scheduled half-mile workout.

Dream Walking was scheduled for surgery Wednesday. She was placed in a Kimzey Splint, and was resting in her stall late Tuesday morning after X-rays revealed the fractures' severity.

"Last week the track was so fast they were running six furlongs in 1:09, and then all at once they dug it up," McAnally said. "I'd hate to count the number of serious injuries that have happened here recently."

Humberto Ascanio, assistant trainer to Bobby Frankel, said that after one of Frankel's horses had to be euthanized after a training accident last week, Ascanio discovered two other horses in the so-called "slumber room" where horses are euthanized. And Tuesday, trainer Jeff Mullins, whose runners have suffered a rash of injuries, had Santa Anita Derby winner Castledale work at Santa Anita. That colt had been training at Hollywood Park.

"They did a hell of a job here right after the rain a couple of weeks ago," McAnally said. "But now it's turned around. These injuries are difficult to take. I don't know if they can save my filly."

McAnally said Lucky Bid was likely to run in the Hollywood Futurity, and Northern Mischief in the Starlet. Northern Mischief most recently finished fourth in the Moccasin Stakes, Hollywood's prep for the Starlet.

Desormeaux, Smith: New agents

Jockeys Kent Desormeaux and Mike Smith, both of whom are in the Hall of Fame, have changed agents.

Smith, who had been represented by Corey Black since September, on Monday hired Brad Pegram.

Pegram had been representing Kent Desormeaux, but Desormeaux does not like to have his agent also work for a second rider, so when Pegram agreed to work for Smith, Desormeaux on Monday severed his ties with Pegram and hired peripatetic

veteran agent Harry "The Hat" Hacek.

"Me and Mike have been good friends for a while," Pegram said. "I think we'll have some fun."

Roman Ruler back to work

With all the focus on the Futurity this week, Roman Ruler has become the forgotten horse among the local 2-year-old set. He was considered the best prospect in California this summer following his victory in the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, but he was subsequently upset by Declan's Moon in the Del Mar Futurity, won in lethargic time in the Norfolk Stakes, then ran poorly in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Roman Ruler then underwent surgery to remove an undescended testicle, and on Tuesday morning, he had his first work since then, an easy three-furlong drill in 36.80 seconds at Santa Anita.

"Usually his tail is up after he works, but it wasn't today. He seemed happy," said his trainer, Bob Baffert. "He went nice and easy. He wanted to do more, but we didn't let him. I've got no plans for him yet."

Baffert's wife, Jill, was due to give birth to the couple's first child, a boy they have named Bodie, on Friday. But as of Tuesday, they were still waiting.

"No action," Baffert said after accompanying his wife to see a doctor. "We're just waiting for Bodie."

* Castledale worked six furlongs in 1:11.40 at Santa Anita, the fastest time of five at the distance. He could return in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Santa Anita's opening day, Dec. 26.