05/05/2004 12:00AM

'Red' returns on short rest


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Two weeks after Continental Red finished second against California-breds in the Khaled Stakes, the veteran gelding returns in Saturday's $350,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Even though the break is shorter than the typical gap between races for the modern Thoroughbred, trainer Ian Jory can find no reason to pass the Murray.

"It's really not that tough of a race," he said. "He's doing great and I don't have anything else for him."

Last year, Continental Red finished sixth of eight in the Murray, which was won by Storming Home, with Denon and Ballingarry second and third, respectively.

Storming Home has since been sent to stud in England, Denon is being prepared for a comeback this summer, and Ballingarry returns in the Murray trying to end a three-race losing streak.

The other starters are Gassan Royal, Gene de Campeao, Rhythm Mad, Right Proof, and Runaway Dancer. Gassan Royal and Right Proof are making their stakes debuts in the Murray, but the other three entrants finished behind Meteor Storm in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap over about 1 3/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita on April 18.

Rhythm Mad finished second by 1 1/4 lengths, a performance that may make him the favorite in the Jim Murray, which is run over 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Trained by Bruce Headley, Rhythm Mad worked a half-mile in 48 seconds.

Gassan Royal will be well-backed. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Gassan Royal has not been worse than second in eight starts.

The Murray is missing the three horses who won the four major turf stakes at Santa Anita run over 1 1/4 miles or farther.

Sweet Return, who won the San Marcos Stakes in January, finished second in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs last Saturday.

Puerto Banus, who won the San Luis Obispo Handicap in February, is recovering from an illness contracted in late March. Meteor Storm, who won the San Luis Rey and San Juan Capistrano handicaps, is bound for the Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park in June.

Continental Red has not won since the Quicken Tree Stakes here last summer. Owned by Sharon and Wes Fitzpatrick, Continental Red, 8, is winless in four starts this year, including a last-place finish in the San Luis Rey Handicap on March 20 when he lost all chance when he nearly fell at the start.

In the Khaled, Continental Red stalked pacesetter Black Bart throughout the 1 1/8 miles on turf and missed catching the front-runner by a half-length.

"I was probably a work short in that last race when I look back on it," Jory said. "I had given him an extra week after he fell down at the start. I thought he had it but he didn't have that zing in him."

Total Impact, Hombre Rapido seek to repeat

The Jim Murray Handicap is the top race on a program that includes two $150,000 stakes on dirt - the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap over 1 1/16 miles and the Los Angeles Times Handicap over six furlongs.

Both races feature their respective defending champions.

Total Impact, who won the 2003 Mervyn LeRoy, is winless in five starts since that race. He was second to Dynever in the San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita on April 3.

Trained by Laura de Seroux, Total Impact drew the outside post in the LeRoy, which has eight entrants. Olmodavor, unraced since finishing fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 6, is the 121-pound highweight.

Hombre Rapido, the winner of the 2003 Los Angeles Times Handicap, is one of 11 entrants in Saturday's race. He has not started since winning that race. He shares top weight of 119 pounds with Marino Marini, who has placed in three graded stakes for sprinters in the last five months.

Lundy's Liability joins Frankel's barn

Lundy's Liability, who won the $2 million UAE Derby at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai on March 27, has joined trainer Bobby Frankel's stable.

The 4-year-old Lundy's Liability is co-owned by TNT Stud, who campaign Leroidesanimaux, the winner of the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park last Saturday.

Lundy's Liability was bred in Brazil and has already raced on two continents. Lundy's Liability began his career in South Africa with trainer Michael de Kock where he won a Group 3 over about seven furlongs on turf.

Lundy's Liability won the UAE Derby after two losses at Nad Al Sheba. De Kock trained Lundy's Liability in Dubai.

Frankel has no immediate races in mind for Lundy's Liability, but said the colt will remain in Southern California.

Lundy's Liability, who has won 3 of 5 starts and $1,253,930, was eligible for the UAE Derby because of the late breeding season in the Southern Hemisphere.

Shoemaker next target for Tsigane

Tsigane, sixth in the $2 million Golden Shaheen over six furlongs in Dubai in March, is being pointed for the $350,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile on turf on May 31, trainer Julio Canani said.

Tsigane won the Daytona Handicap over about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf at Santa Anita in February, his first stakes win in the United States. Tsigane raced in France last year.

Canani said Tsigane rebounded quickly from the trip to Dubai. "He didn't lose any weight," he said.

The Shoemaker is the top mile race of the summer in California. Other top candidates include Leroidesanimaux, who won the Inglewood Handicap in course-record time last Saturday; and Singletary, the winner of the San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap at Bay Meadows last month.

Ky. Oaks also-rans considering Hollywood Oaks

Some of the California-based fillies that finished unplaced behind Ashado in the Kentucky Oaks on April 30 may resurface in the $175,000 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks on June 12.

Hollywood Story (5th), A.P. Adventure (6th), House of Fortune (8th), and Silent Sighs (10th) have emerged from the race in good condition, their respective trainers said.

None of the trainers has made commitments for upcoming starts, but the Hollywood Oaks over 1 1/16 miles is likely to draw a few of the Kentucky Oaks starters.

Silent Sighs had trouble with the slick Churchill Downs surface, Canani said.

"She couldn't get a hold of the track," Canani said. "She'll walk for a few days and we'll go back to the track. She lost a little bit of weight, that's understandable."