12/17/2004 1:00AM

Quintons Gold Rush may try turf

Quintons Gold Rush, winning the Grade 2 Lexington under Jerry Bailey, might start in the Sir Beaufort on turf instead of the Malibu.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Quintons Gold Rush, the winner of the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in April, may start in the $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes on turf at Santa Anita on Dec. 26 instead of the $250,000 Malibu Stakes on dirt the same day, trainer Mike Mitchell said.

Mitchell said that he has yet to finalize plans with owners Satish Sanan and Jay Manoogian, but that he would prefer to start Quintons Gold Rush on turf.

The Sir Beaufort is a mile race, while the Malibu is seven furlongs. Both are expected to draw strong fields on the opening day of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

Quintons Gold Rush had been trained by Steve Asmussen in the Midwest since last April. Mitchell trained Quintons Gold Rush last winter and early spring, when he won a maiden race and finished fourth in the San Rafael Stakes and Santa Anita Derby.

"We brought him out here with the Malibu in mind," Mitchell said. "In the back of my mind, I'd like to see him run on grass. I don't think he's a seven-eighths-mile horse. I think he can run a mile on grass."

Quintons Gold Rush is not the only 3-year-old being considered for both races. Trainer Kristin Mulhall said that Imperialism, who was third in the Hollywood Derby on turf, and Cheiron, who won the Snow Chief Stakes for California-breds in April, could go in either race.

The Sir Beaufort is being run for its highest purse this year, up from last year's $75,000. Santa Anita officials are hoping the race can gain graded status.

Candidates include Cozy Guy, the winner of the California Cup Classic; Three Valleys, a troubled third in the Citation Handicap in his U.S. debut on Nov. 27; and Joursanvault, who was eighth in the Hollywood Derby in his U.S. debut on Nov. 28.

Lots of company for Love of Money in Malibu

The Malibu will have a large field, regardless of whether Quintons Gold Rush is part of it. The race is the first leg of the three-race Strub Series for 4-year-olds of 2005.

Love of Money, who won the Pennsylvania Derby in his stakes debut in September, will make his first California start in the Malibu. Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. for Mace and Samantha Siegel, Love of Money has not started since finishing sixth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles at Belmont Park in early October.

"He just ran out of gas," Mace Siegel said of the Gold Cup.

Friday, Love of Money worked six furlongs in 1:12 at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida.

The probable starters for the Malibu include Action This Day, Areyoutalkintome, Harvard Avenue, Minister Eric, Perfect Moon, Pomeroy, Rock Hard Ten, Saratoga County, Spellbinder, and Stone Rain.

Trainer Richard Mandella said on Friday that he is still considering starting four - Action This Day, Minister Eric, Rock Hard Ten, and Spellbinder.

Wilko has quarter crack but may run anyway

Wilko, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Lone Star Park in October, was found to have a quarter crack in his left front foot on Friday, the day before a scheduled start in Saturday's Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity.

Trainer Craig Dollase said that Wilko was "95 percent" likely to start in the Hollywood Futurity, where he could clinch the Eclipse Award for outstanding 2-year-old with a victory.

Dollase said the quarter crack was diagnosed after Wilko returned from a gallop on Friday morning. Dollase said that the foot would be soaked and patched on Friday and that the treatment would continue early Saturday.

"At least it didn't happen on the day of the race," Dollase said. "I think we'll be fine. The fact he's not sore on it is good."

Wilko has won 3 of 11 starts and $880,494. The Juvenile marked his first start in the United States, following a campaign in England where he placed in five stakes.

Sent off at 28-1 in the Juvenile, Wilko rallied from fourth in the final furlong to win by three-quarters of a length over Afleet Alex.

Following that race, Wilko was transferred from English trainer Jeremy Noseda to Dollase.

Firstship loses purse after positive test

The purse of the sixth race at Hollywood Park on May 13 has been redistributed after Firstship, trained by Paul Aguirre, was found to have tested positive for an excessive amount of clenbuterol. Aguirre was fined $2,500 as part of a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board.

Firstship finished third in a six-furlong race for $25,000 claimers. Firstship earned $3,360, which must be returned. The third- through fifth-place prize money was redistributed to the owners of Bench Press, Twelve Volt Man, and Exploited.

Clenbuterol is a bronchial dilator used to aid horses with breathing problems. It was legalized for use in racehorses in 1998, but is only allowed to appear in postrace tests at minute levels.

Dahlia tops closing-day card

Monday's program, highlighted by the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, marks the final day of the Hollywood Park fall meeting.

There is no racing in Southern California from Tuesday until next Sunday's opening day at Santa Anita.

The Dahlia Handicap is led by Belleski, the winner of the Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap at Santa Anita in September; Janeian, a shipper from the Midwest who won the Royal Heroine Stakes here in July; and Katdogawn, the defending champion.

Trained by Jim Cassidy, Katdogawn was 10th in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.

Aussie champ to join Mandella's barn

Private Steer, a champion mare in Australia, will be sent to Richard Mandella this winter.

Private Steer, who is owned by Paul Makin, did not start this fall after suffering a hairline fracture of a tibia while training for the Cox Plate. A nine-time stakes winner, Private Steer was purchased by Makin for about $1 million earlier this year.