01/03/2006 12:00AM

Resplendency goes to backup plan

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Six-year-old Badge of Silver earned another year on the track on Sunday by winning the San Gabriel Handicap in his turf debut.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Good thing for trainer Bob Baffert he had a Plan B with Resplendency. He was going to run her in last week's Monrovia Handicap if it came off the turf, but the morning of the race, it still looked as though the race would remain on grass, so Baffert went ahead and worked Resplendency. Later that morning, the race was moved to the dirt.

Baffert wasn't bothered by the change, because he always had Thursday's $75,000 Kalookan Queen Handicap in the back of his mind. Like the Monrovia, the Kalookan Queen is at 6 1/2 furlongs, though on dirt. Because the Monrovia was moved to the main track, Santa Anita essentially will be running two dirt sprint stakes for older fillies and mares within five days of one another. Resplendency should be favored as she seeks her third straight victory.

"I wasn't going to run her in the Monrovia if it stayed on the grass," Baffert said Tuesday morning. "I don't want to change courses with her. And I wasn't sure I wanted to run her on the dirt on a sloppy track, because I wasn't sure how that track was going to be."

The Kalookan Queen is the second race on the card, keeping its seven-horse field out of the pick six, which has a carryover of $137,596.24. Among those facing Resplendency are Freakin Streakin, who was second to Resplendency in the Pine Tree Lane Stakes at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, and the comebacking Royally Chosen, who has not raced in 49 weeks.

"We freshened her up," said Bruce Headley, who trains Royally Chosen and also trained Kalookan Queen. "She's worked well. She's an old pro."

Freakin Streakin is "doing good," according to trainer Julio Canani. "But I don't know if I can beat Baffert."

Double the pleasure for Mandella

Trainer Richard Mandella said he will have a pair of runners in both the Grade 2, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap for older horses on Saturday and the $75,000 San Miguel Stakes for 3-year-olds on Sunday.

Spellbinder, who was a close third in the Native Diver Handicap last month at Hollywood Park, and Turnbolt, who would be making his first start around two turns, will represent Mandella in the 1 1/16-mile San Pasqual.

Others expected for the San Pasqual, which will likely have a small field, are Buckland Manor and Melanyhasthepapers. Bully Hayes, the Native Diver runner-up, will run if his trainer, Headley, is satisfied with the condition of the track. Baffert said both Chips Are Down and Sort It Out would await the Grade 2, $200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes on Jan. 14, which is exclusively for 4-year-olds.

In the San Miguel, Mandella said he will send out One Union, who has not raced since finishing fourth in the Del Mar Futurity, and Peace Chant, who captured his debut at Hollywood Park last month. Mandella said Victor Espinoza had his choice as to which colt to ride, but had yet to decide.

Others expected for the six-furlong San Miguel are Bengal Lore, Bound to Be M V P, Corazondelcampeon, Sailors Sunset, The Pharoah, and Too Much Bling.

The other two stakes this weekend are the Grade 3, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday, and the Grade 2, $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap for female turf runners on Sunday.

Sabitini, the Hollywood Starlet third-place finisher, would be favored in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel if she goes. Others pointing for the race are Horse B With You, I Can See, Itty Bitty Pretty, and Sweet Fourty.

The San Gorgonio, at 1 1/8 miles, is expected to lure Barancella, Bond Deal, Dream's, Flip Flop, Halo Ola, Movie Star, Royal Copenhagen, Star Parade, and Ticker Tape.

Badge of Silver earns gold

Badge of Silver earned the gold when winning the San Gabriel Handicap in his turf debut on Sunday. The 6-year-old also earned another year on the track. His trainer, Bobby Frankel, said on Tuesday Badge of Silver would remain in training and point to the $5 million Dubai Duty Free, a grass race at 1 1/8 miles in Dubai in March.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who own Badge of Silver, won last year's Dubai World Cup on dirt with Roses in May.

Choctaw Nation, who was seventh in the San Gabriel under Espinoza, will "probably get another try on the grass," said his trainer, Jeff Mullins.

"He was climbing a little early, but Victor said he then leveled off nice," Mullins said. "There just wasn't any pace in the race."

What's new, 'Pussycat'?

Pussycat Doll, who won last week's La Brea Stakes, will "need a good month before she runs again," said Baffert, her trainer. "She's a really big filly. You've got to be careful with her."

If Baffert sticks to that plan, Pussycat Doll would miss the second leg of the La Canada Series, the Grade 2, $150,000 El Encino Stakes on Jan. 15.

"It's amazing how she's turned around," Baffert said of Pussycat Doll, who is by Real Quiet and out of Hookedonthefeelin, both of whom Baffert trained. "She looks like her sire and moves like her mother," Baffert said.

Three shoes enough for With Distinction

The sloppy track at Santa Anita on Monday sucked the left front shoe right off of With Distinction, but even with three shoes, he persevered to outlast Jungle Prince and Jet West in a driving three-horse finish in the Grade 3, $112,100 El Conejo Handicap.

With Distinction ($11), who was racing between horses under Javier Santiago, beat favored Jungle Prince by a head, with Jet West, who rallied on the outside, another nose back in third in the field of 10. Kent Desormeaux, who rode Jet West, claimed foul against With Distinction, alleging that Santiago's whip hit Jet West in the stretch run, but the stewards said replays could not substantiate the claim.

Slew's Prince darted to the lead on the sloppy surface and sped the first quarter in 21.02 seconds. He was up by four lengths after a half-mile in 43.67 seconds, but was beginning to tire as With Distinction, Jungle Prince, and Jet West closed in. They were three abreast at the wire, with With Distinction hitting the finish in 1:02.44 for the 5 1/2 furlongs.

With Distinction, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, did not appear to have been nicked by his shoe coming off. None of the nails were still in the foot, either.

"It's a little unsettling, to put a mud caulk on and then have nothing, but it doesn't look like it took away any of his foot," said a relieved Lukas.

With Distinction, 5, is owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis. The El Conejo was his first stakes victory, but he placed in stakes at Pimlico, Turfway Park, and Churchill Downs in 2005.

Lukas said he believes a little more distance than the 5 1/2 furlongs of the El Conejo will aid With Distinction.

"I think he'll like it a little better at 6 1/2 furlongs, seven, or a mile," Lukas said. "He's improving. He's a Storm Cat, so he's had a few attitude issues."

With Distinction was rambunctious in the saddling paddock Monday.

"He'll put up with you for a little while, but then he wants to kick and play," Lukas said.

* Espinoza and Corey Nakatani took off their mounts on a rainy, blustery Monday. Three of Espinoza's scheduled mounts won, including With Distinction.

* Earlier Monday, Objective ($9.80) won the Hill Rise Stakes, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds that was moved from turf to dirt because of the heavy rain. Garrett Gomez rode Objective to a 4 1/4-length victory in 1:35.18. Tom Roberts trains Objective for owner Jim McIngvale.