02/06/2003 1:00AM

Redattore's trip north is canceled


ARCADIA, Calif. - The stakes races in northern California can wait for Redattore, who returns from a six-month break in a $70,000 allowance race at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Trainer Richard Mandella considered sending the 8-year-old Redattore to Golden Gate Fields for Saturday's Tanforan Handicap, but has opted to stay home for an easier spot. Mandella had a simple reason: Redattore developed a low-grade pneumonia when he was sent to Emerald Downs in August for the Longacres Mile, and his trainer is reluctant to ship.

"I don't want to get him sick again," Mandella said.

The winner of the 2001 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar and the

2002 San Antonio Handicap here, Redattore is a prospect for middle-distance races on turf and dirt, provided he returns to his past form. In his last start, Redattore was third behind Sarafan and Beat Hollow in the Eddie Read Handicap last July.

"I'm excited to get him in and see how he goes," Mandella said. "I think he's ready."

Mandella said Redattore could return in the $400,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on March 1 with a strong performance on Thursday.

The allowance race has drawn six entrants, including February Storm, who was third in the Exceller Handicap here on Jan. 25, and Okawango, the winner of the Group 1 Grand Criterium in France in 2000 who will be making his U.S. debut.

Trained by Mandella, the 5-year-old Okawango is winless in seven starts since the Grand Criterium, a span that includes a fourth in the 2001 French Derby. He and Redattore will be an uncoupled entry.

"We've spent some time with him," Mandella said. "We turned him out for awhile. He's kind of a funny-minded horse. It's hard to predict how he'll do. He's not a great workhorse. He might run well anyway."

Paasch plans move to Kentucky

Trainer Christopher Paasch on Thursday said he is relocating his operation to the Lexington, Ky., area in early March and will be based at a training center located on property formerly owned by 505 Farms.

The training center has been purchased by a group of investors and is currently being expanded to include more than 200 stalls, Paasch said. He said he and his wife, Bonnie, an assistant trainer, will use the training center as a base and start horses at Churchill Downs, Keeneland, and Turfway Park. "This is hard to walk away from," Paasch said.

He said he plans to take 20 horses from California to Kentucky and will have a stable of 35 horses. He said he intends to return to California this summer with 15 to 20 horses for the Del Mar meeting.

Oak Tree, Fairplex agree on dates

Officials from the Oak Tree Racing Association and the Los Angeles County Fair have reached a verbal agreement on the terms of a day of concurrent racing at the two venues in September.

The agreement was approved by the Oak Tree board of directors on Wednesday but must also be approved by the Los Angeles County fair board and the California Horse Racing Board at its meeting on

Feb. 21. In addition, legislation is needed in coming months to allow for an expansion of racing.

"I don't think there will be any opposition to the legislation," said Sherwood Chillingworth, the executive director of Oak Tree. "It's revenue-positive for the state."

Oak Tree wants to start its fall meeting at Santa Anita on Sunday, Sept. 28, which is scheduled as the closing day of the Los Angeles County Fair meeting at Fairplex Park in Pomona. Oak Tree would like to add Sept. 28 to its meeting to conduct four preps for the Breeders' Cup on that Sunday.

County fair officials will ask to extend their meeting by a day, and finish on Sept. 29, as partial compensation for competition on Sept. 28.

The agreement includes terms of a cash settlement if Fairplex Park suffers a downturn in business on Sept. 28.

"What we're trying to do in an overall manner is to make sure that Pomona suffers no hurt as a result of the overlap," Chillingworth said.

Trainers press track over surface

The racetrack committee of the California Thoroughbred Trainers met Wednesday for recommendations regarding the Hollywood Park racing surface, which has been criticized in the past year for inconsistency.

The committee - Humberto Ascanio (an assistant to Bobby Frankel), Simon Bray, Ron Ellis, Doug O'Neill, John Shirreffs, and Danny Velasquez - met with jockeys Kent Desormeaux and David Flores.

The Hollywood Park racetrack differs from the one at Santa Anita, and includes artificial fibers designed to absorb water. The course was criticized for being too hard last summer and for being too deep and slow at other times of the year.

As a result, some owners and trainers have limited their involvement at Hollywood Park or declined to race there, staying at Santa Anita even during the warm spring and summer months when temperatures can reach 100 degrees at Santa Anita.

"We want to encourage them to improve the surface," said CTT executive director Ed Halpern. "There were a number of things mentioned that could be done to help.

"They were just general thoughts. One of the people in the group said when they water it's an 'A' track and when they don't it's an 'F' track. We understand they are putting in the effort, going to other tracks and doing the best they can. We want to help if we can.

"It would be interesting if it was as simple as adding more water."

- Fairplex Park has scheduled training races for Feb. 17 and March 9, continuing a program that began last month.