07/18/2005 12:00AM

Read lesser of two evils for Singletary

Although Singletary prefers a shorter race, trainer Don Chatlos wants to run in the Eddie Read while the Del Mar turf is still in good condition.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Singletary, who won last year's Breeders' Cup Mile, has been fed a steady diet of one-mile races, nine in a row, since failing at 1 1/8 miles in the Del Mar Derby in September 2003. But on Sunday, Singletary will again stretch out to nine furlongs on turf when he runs in the Grade 1, $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar.

Don Chatlos, who trains Singletary, said the decision was not an easy one. Also under consideration was the Grade 2, $350,000

Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap at a mile on Sept. 4. That race previously had been run on the main track, but is moving to the grass this year.

"There were two evils we're working with," Chatlos said after Singletary breezed an easy six furlongs on the turf Monday morning at Del Mar. "We could run a mile and an eighth, but at least run early in the meet, when the turf is in good shape, or run a mile later in the meet, when the ground is chewed up. We decided to take the distance and run early.

"He also won the La Jolla here two years ago going a mile and a sixteenth, so we think that if he's going to get a mile and an eighth anywhere, it's here."

Singletary, working around orange cones - known as dogs - was timed in 1:15 with exercise rider David Meah aboard. He was going easily while holding off the plucky 3-year-old filly Tivadare, who broke off behind Singletary and was credited with a faster time, 1:14.60.

"That was what we wanted him to do. I didn't want him go out there in 1:13," Chatlos said.

Singletary was fourth as the favorite in the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile on May 30 at Hollywood Park. He was close to a hot pace set by Special Ring, tactics Chatlos did not approve of.

"The thing that aggravated me in the Shoemaker is that he was right on Special Ring's heels in 1:09 and change," Chatlos said. "We want to take him back just a bit and have him finish, which is what we were teaching him all last year."

In addition to Singletary, who will be ridden by David Flores, the Eddie Read is expected to include A to the Z (Garrett Gomez the rider), Castledale (Rene Douglas), Fast and Furious (Victor Espinoza), Fourty Niners Son (Corey Nakatani), Sweet Return (Alex Solis), and either Qsar or Three Valleys from trainer Bobby Frankel's barn.

Castledale was assigned top weight of 121 pounds, one more than Singletary and Sweet Return.

A to the Z and Fourty Niners Son also worked on the turf at Del Mar on Monday. A to the Z breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40, which was the fastest time of four at the distance. Forty Niners Son breezed six furlongs in 1:15.60.

River's Prayer will await Sorrento

The 2-year-old filly River's Prayer, who would have been an overwhelming favorite in the $125,000 California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Stakes on Friday, will miss the race after spiking a fever, trainer Paula Capestro said Monday.

River's Prayer won the first two starts of her career, including the Cinderella Stakes, then was second in the Landaluce Stakes, all at Hollywood Park.

"She got sick and we had to treat her with antibiotics," Capestro said. "It was a viral infection, not bacterial. She's over it, but the timing was bad."

Capestro said River's Prayer would be pointed to the Grade 3, $150,000 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 6.

A.P. Warrior may go to Best Pal

After Sunday's seventh race at Hollywood Park, it became clearer why A.P. Warrior was purchased for $1.3 million as a yearling last September at Keeneland.

Making his career debut, A.P. Warrior ($15.80) won a maiden special weight race over 5 1/2 furlongs by four lengths, finishing in a sharp 1:03.97.

A.P. Warrior may return in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 14, said trainer Eoin Harty. A.P. Warrior is owned by Stan Fulton.

"He would look like a candidate," Harty said of the Best Pal. "I won't do anything without talking to the boss."

Pedersen says good-bye

With a little more attention than he would have preferred, state steward Pete Pedersen retired on Sunday. Midway through the program at Hollywood, his lifelong involvement in racing was the subject of a brief winner's circle ceremony.

"I have been lucky for over 50 years to witness the triumph of the human spirit and the triumph of the equine spirit," Pedersen said during a brief speech. "It's been very fun to be part of the racing family."

Pedersen, 85, received the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2002 for his service to racing. A steward in California since 1955, Pedersen was based at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita in recent years. He officiated every Breeders' Cup held in California.

Pedersen was informed by the California Horse Racing Board earlier this year that his contract was not being renewed after the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting ended on Sunday. He was hoping to preside over the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting this fall before retiring.

Alternate selections back soon

A new rule allowing bettors to use alternate selections in multi-race bets, such as the pick six, will not be enacted for Wednesday's opening day at Del Mar, but could be in use as soon as next Wednesday, according to director of mutuels Bill Navarro.

Navarro said that the tote company, Scientific Games, continues to conduct software tests on the technology. He said some recent tests resulted in glitches.

Officials with Scientific Games told the California Horse Racing Board's parimutuel committee in April that the ability to use alternate selections would be in place by opening day.

California bettors used alternate selections from the mid-1990's until October 2002 on bets such as the pick six and place pick all. In order to designate an alternate in the event that an original selection is a late scratch, bettors must use bet cards. Without an alternate selection, bettors whose original selection is scratched are given the favorite.

The alternate provision was withdrawn from the betting menu after the scandal surrounding the Breeders' Cup pick six at Arlington Park in 2002.

Summer crowds excite Smith

Jockey Mike Smith has ridden at both Del Mar and Saratoga during his Hall of Fame career. One of the things Smith said he enjoys about competing at a resort track is the feedback from the crowd, which dwarfs what riders compete in front of the rest of the year.

"Imagine what it would be like for a basketball player to compete in front of just a handful of people," Smith said, referring to the sparse crowds at more urban tracks. "It's not exciting. At Del Mar, the stands are jammed from the top of the stretch to the clubhouse turn. It's a neat feeling."

Smith said Del Mar and Saratoga are like "apples and oranges."

"Del Mar is more laid-back," he said. "At Saratoga, people in the paddock are in a suit and tie. Here, they're on the beach."

* Del Mar is expecting approximately 40,000 for Wednesday's program. Last year, there was an ontrack crowd of 39,346 for opening day, a drop of 3 percent from a record of 40,682 in 2003.

* Training on the main track at Del Mar was curtailed Monday morning because a portion of the rail near the three-sixteenths pole was struck by the renovation equipment during a training break.

* Sunday's pick six at Hollywood Park returned $301,598 to one ticketholder. According to track officials, the ticket was purchased at Los Alamitos. The winners of the pick six races were Sabalucious ($10.60), Rush Country ($3.60), A.P. Warrior ($15.80), Proud Tower Too ($16.60), Always First ($11.60), and Shirley Jean ($8.40).

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen

At a glance

RACING SCHEDULE: 43 days. Wednesday through Sept. 7. Dark Tuesdays.

POST TIMES: 2 p.m., Pacific; 4 p.m. July 22, 29 and Aug. 5 and 12; 3:30 p.m., Aug. 19, 26 and Sept. 2; 1 p.m. Aug. 21.

LOCATION: West of Interstate 5 at Via de la Valle, 20 miles north of downtown San Diego.

ADMISSION (includes program): General $5, Clubhouse $8. Reserved seats: $5 weekdays, $8 Fridays and weekends, $12 opening day and Aug. 22.

PARKING: General $5, Valet $20.

PHONE: (858) 755-1141

INTERNET: http://www.delmarracing.com

Stakes schedule

Wed.,July 20Oceanside Stakes3YO1 mile (T)$100,000
Fri.,July 22CTBA Stakes2YO F*5 1/2 furlongs125,000
Sat.,July 23John C. Mabee Handicap (G1)F&M, 3YO & Up1 1/8 miles (T)400,000
Sat.,July 23Fleet Treat Stakes3YO F*7 furlongs100,000
Sun.,July 24San Diego Handicap (G2)3YO & Up1 1/16 miles250,000
Sun.,July 24Eddie Read Handicap (G1)3YO & Up1 1/8 miles (T)400,000
Wed.,July 27Graduation Stakes2YO*5 1/2 furlongs125,000
Sat.,July 30San Clemente Handicap (G2)3YO F1 mile (T)150,000
Sun.,July 31Bing Crosby Handicap (G1)3YO & Up6 furlongs300,000
Sat.,Aug. 6Sorrento Stakes (G3)2YO F6 1/2 furlongs150,000
Sun.,Aug. 7Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (G2)F&M, 3YO & Up1 1/16 miles300,000
Fri.,Aug. 12Real Good Deal Stakes3YO*7 furlongs100,000
Sat.,Aug. 13La Jolla Handicap (G2)3YO1 1/16 miles (T)150,000
Sun.,Aug. 14Best Pal Stakes (G2)2YO6 1/2 furlongs150,000
Fri.,Aug. 19Rancho Bernardo Handicap (G3)F&M, 3YO & Up6 1/2 furlongs150,000
Sat.,Aug. 20Del Mar Oaks (G1)3YO F1 1/8 miles (T)300,000
Sun.,Aug. 21Pacific Classic (G1)3YO & Up1 1/4 miles1,000,000
Sun.,Aug. 21Pat O'Brien B.C. Handicap (G2)3YO & Up7 furlongs300,000
Sat.,Aug. 27Del Mar Debutante (G1)2YO F7 furlongs250,000
Sun.,Aug. 28Del Mar Handicap (G2)3YO & Up1 3/8 miles (T)250,000
Wed.,Aug. 31Generous Portion Stakes2YO F*6 furlongs100,000
Fri.,Sept. 2Torrey Pines Stakes3YO FOne Mile100,000
Sat.,Sept. 3El Cajon Stakes3YOOne Mile100,000
Sat.,Sept. 3Palomar B.C. Handicap (G2)F&M, 3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)200,000
Sun.,Sept. 4Solana Beach HandicapF&M, 3YO & Up*1 mile (T)125,000
Sun.,Sept. 4Del Mar B.C. Handicap (G2)3YO & Up1 mile (T) 350,000
Mon.,Sept. 5I'm Smokin Stakes2YO*6 furlongs100,000
Mon.,Sept. 5Del Mar Derby (G2)3YO1 1/8 miles (T)400,000
Wed.,Sept. 7Del Mar Futurity (G2)2YO7 furlongs250,000