01/22/2003 12:00AM

Rider switch for Composure


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday his leading 3-year-old filly Composure will have a new rider when she makes her first start of the season Feb. 9 in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita. The question is, who? Mike Smith was Composure's regular rider the latter part of 2002 when she won the Oak Leaf Stakes, then finished second in both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Hollywood Starlet. Baffert declined to say who would ride Composure in the Las Virgenes. "I'll know this weekend," he said.

Composure has won 2 of 6 starts and earned $431,300 for owners Bob and Beverly Lewis. When she returns in the Las Virgenes, she will face the Craig Dollase-trained Elloluv, who beat Composure by four lengths in the Starlet and returned Monday with a 2 1/2-length win in seven-furlong Santa Ynez Stakes. Another filly who could show up in the Las Virgenes is Puxa Saco, the 6-5 favorite in the Santa Ynez who was compromised by bizarre strategy. A late-runner, she made a premature move to challenge for the lead into the turn, then flattened out and finished fourth. According to trainer Jenine Sahadi, Puxa Saco came out of the race in good order and could be considered for the Las Virgenes.

Solis lands plum assignment on Affluent

Grade 1 winner Affluent will run for the first time since Dec. 1, carrying highweight of 119 pounds Saturday in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap, a seven-furlong race in which she and Sightseek will attract most of the support. Affluent's surprise participation in the Santa Monica caused reshuffling of jockey assignments. Eddie Delahoussaye was Affluent's regular rider from mid-2001 through mid-2002, when she won five graded stakes at a variety of surfaces and distance. Affluent, trained by Ron McAnally, has won routes on turf and dirt, and also scored a Grade 1 win in a seven-furlong sprint.

Delahoussaye's retirement left a vacancy on Affluent, who has won seven races and more than $1.3 million from 19 starts. The plum riding assignment goes to Alex Solis. The Santa Monica field is taking shape like this: Affluent, Solis, 119; Sightseek, Jerry Bailey, 115; Kitty on the Track, Laffit Pincay Jr., 113; Medalha Milagrosa, no rider, 113; Whoopddoo, no rider, 112; Secret of Mecca, Julie Krone, 110; and Reiene Des Neiges, no rider, 108.

Secret of Mecca entered the Sunshine Millions Distaff the same day as the Santa Monica, but stewards are expected to waive a rule that prevents horses from entering two races that are scheduled for the same day.

Disturbingthepeace will go in Palos Verdes

Although comebacker Disturbingthepeace was entered in the Sunshine Millions Sprint on Saturday, trainer Darrell Vienna said Wednesday the gelding would instead face Kona Gold on Sunday in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap at six furlongs. Vienna and owners David and Rita Milch will be represented in the Sunshine Millions Sprint by Echo Eddie.

"I've got two chances of winning a race this way," Vienna said, "and two chances to lose." Disturbingthepeace is owned by the Milches and Herrick Racing, and Vienna said the gelding will benefit by delaying the comeback an additional day. "We were a little tight getting him ready; it gives me another day."

Disturbingthepeace has not raced since finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Sprint over an Arlington surface that Vienna said he did not like. Before the Breeders' Cup, Disturbingthepeace emerged as the top sprinter in California by winning three graded stakes. The throne has been reclaimed by Kona Gold, who will seek his second win of the meet in the Palos Verdes.

Kona Gold was assigned 124 pounds for the six-furlong Palos Verdes. The expected field: Kona Gold, 124; Disturbingthepeace, 120; D'wildcat, 120; Avanzado, 116; Radiata, 115; Hombre Rapido, 114; and Mellow Fellow, 114.

Robledo okay after pulling up in last

Robledo, who was pulled up and vanned off the track Saturday after trying to run in the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes, showed no ill effects galloping Wednesday morning. Trainer Vladimir Cerin said the improving 3-year-old got banged around at the start, and hit himself in both tendons. "[Julie Krone] said he was grunting all the way the way around, then by the time she pulled him up, he was fine," Cerin said.

Cerin said he gave Robledo two days off, galloped him Wednesday, and planned to work him later in the week. Robledo could be wheeled right back in a stakes race next weekend at Turf Paradise.

* The shippers who arrived Tuesday were Forbidden Apple, Stormy Roman, and Miesque's Approval for the $750,000 Sunshine Millions Turf; Ivanavinalot and Elegant Designer for the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks; and Smok'n Frolic for the Sunshine Millions Distaff. Three other Sunshine Millions shippers arrived earlier - Lucky Molar (Turf); and Svea Dahl and Ms Brookski (Distaff).

* There will be only one change to the Santa Anita wagering menu for Sunshine Millions Day - an additional pick four covering the four local Sunshine Million races (2-5) to be run at Santa Anita. A second pick four will be positioned in its standard placement on the wagering menu - the last four races (6-10).

* Summer Wind Dancer, who finished a dull third at 9-5 in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes on Jan. 5, has been turned out two months with a minor injury. Trainer Jenine Sahadi said the injury to the 3-year-old filly was detected by a nuclear scan, and she expected Summer Wind Dancer to return in top shape.

* Belmont Stakes winner Sarava posted his second three-furlong workout on the comeback trail this week, and his new trainer Bob Baffert expected the 4-year-old to race during the meet. "He's really coming around. He should be back within 60 days the way he's going," Baffert said.