05/29/2003 11:00PM

Redattore belongs among the best

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PHOENIX - Who are the best horses in the country? Surely on almost anyone's list are Medaglia d'Oro, Mineshaft, and Azeri - as well as perhaps Congaree and Funny Cide.

But just last week, an 8-year-old gelding showed why he might belong on that list, too. Redattore, who won the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood, has now rattled off three straight one-mile turf wins for trainer Richard Mandella.

But it's not Redattore's turf exploits that place him among the best horses in the country. It's that he is a Grade 1 winner on turf and a Grade 2 winner on dirt. Very few horses can do that.

Last year, Redattore showed he could run with some good ones going a middle distance on the dirt. In February 2002 Redattore won the Grade 2 San Antonio on the Santa Anita main track at 11-1. He failed to win in four subsequent starts last year and was sent to the sidelines following a third in the Grade 1 Eddie Read at Del Mar in July. He has come back smoking, winning a Santa Anita allowance and the Grade 2 Kilroe Mile there before his Shoemaker score.

Maybe he can't beat Medaglia d'Oro or Mineshaft going 1 1/8 to

1 1/4 miles on the dirt. But let's turn the question around: Can any of the top dirt horses beat Redattore from a mile to 1 1/4 miles on the turf?

His Shoemaker was a thing of beauty. As usual, rider Alex Solis could put him anywhere, and in this case it was off the hip of the pacesetting Special Ring. Redattore just galloped along, moved when Solis asked, and did what was needed.

Mandella was so giddy after the Shoemaker Mile that he said he might wheel Redattore back in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on the dirt next month. Redattore could win that race. Then you could see him in the Eddie Read and the Arlington Million. He could win those races, too. In fact, he won the Eddie Read in 2001 and then ran third in the Million. The only race you're probably not going to see him win is the Breeders' Cup Mile. That's because he is a Brazil-bred and is not BC nominated, and would require a hefty supplement to run.

Redattore has quietly become one of the best horses in the country on turf, and he has shown the ability to beat good horses on dirt. It's high time he got his due.

Blazonry looks on his way

Lost in all the hullabaloo over the Shoemaker Mile and the Gamely Handicap last weekend was the emergence of a 3-year-old star for trainer Kathy Walsh. Blazonry just blasted home to easily win the Grade 2 Lazaro Barrera at Hollywood by 2 1/2 lengths under Mike Smith.

A son of Hennessy, Blazonry began his career in England. In his first start in the United States, in a one-mile allowance at Santa Anita April 2, he closed strongly and finished third, beaten just a neck by stakes-caliber McCann's Mojave. He earned a 100 Beyer Figure.

Dropped back to the seven-furlong Barrera, Blazonry bided his time early then rallied to win, with Smith basically gearing him down in the final 50 yards. Considering he ran so well going a mile, added ground should be no problem for Blazonry, meaning the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at 1 1/16 miles June 22 could be ripe for his plucking. A good show there could send him on to the Grade 2 Swaps at 1 1/8 miles July 13.