04/07/2005 11:00PM

Rock Hard Ten back from brief vacation


ARCADIA, Calif. - Spring break has ended for Rock Hard Ten, the top older horse of the Santa Anita meeting.

Friday, Rock Hard Ten worked three furlongs in 39.80 seconds, which trainer Richard Mandella said was more of a gallop than a breeze.

"It was an open gallop," Mandella said. "It wasn't a real work. He was getting a little bored."

The workout was Rock Hard Ten's first since winning the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 5. Mandella is uncertain where Rock Hard Ten will resurface, but the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 30 or the $250,000 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park June 18 are being considered.

"Those races are possibilities," said Mandella.

Owned by Ernie Moody and Madeleine Paulson, Rock Hard Ten has won three stakes since joining Mandella's stable last fall. Rock Hard Ten, 4, won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 and the Grade 2 Strub Stakes on Feb. 5 before the Santa Anita Handicap.

Mandella declined to send Rock Hard Ten to the Middle East for the $6 million Dubai World Cup last month, saying he wanted to give the colt more time to grow and mature. Mandella estimates that Rock Hard Ten has added 75 pounds since the Big Cap win.

Court snaps skid with big win: No. 3,000

Jockey Jon Court won the 3,000th race of his career aboard Brite Lorelei in Thursday's eighth race, ending a frustrating two weeks for the rider.

Court, 44, was winless with 13 mounts over the preceding 12 days. He finished first aboard Flying General on March 25, but was taken down by a disqualification that resulted in a three-day suspension.

"I felt good to get it behind me," Court said of his 3,000th win. "It is a milestone, and I think it alleviates some of the pressure."

The victory arrived on the 25-year anniversary of Court's first winner, which came at Centennial Park in Colorado.

Thursday's win came about a year after Court made the successful transition from racing in Florida and Kentucky to California. Through Thursday, Court was sixth in the Santa Anita standings with 35 wins.

By far Court's biggest mount in the past year has been the turf miler Leroidesanimaux, who won the Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park in November and the Kilroe Mile here last month.

Meet's final week heavy on turf stakes

After Sunday, there is one week remaining at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, which concludes April 18 with a flurry of activity on the turf course.

Four turf stakes will be run from April 16-18, led by the $250,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap at about 1 3/4 miles on turf on April 16. Stanley Park, the upset winner of the San Luis Rey Handicap on March 27, is a top contender.

The program also includes the $100,000 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The top race on April 17 is the $200,000 Santa Barbara Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on turf for fillies and mares. Megahertz, who won the Santa Ana Handicap last month, will try for an unprecedented third consecutive victory in what is considered the championship race of the meet for fillies and mares on turf. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Megahertz, 6, races for Michael Bello.

The feature race on the final day is the $100,000 San Simeon Handicap at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course.

Sore from spill, Baze says he'll ride Saturday

Tyler Baze, who is tied with Patrick Valenzuela for the lead in the jockey standings with 54 wins, was off his mounts for the second consecutive day on Friday.

Baze was unseated during a morning workout Thursday and complained of body soreness. Friday, he was relaxing in a Jacuzzi at lunchtime and said he had every intention of returning for Saturday's Santa Anita Derby program. Baze is booked on three mounts for Sunday's nine-race card.

"I definitely will ride tomorrow," he said Friday. "I didn't break anything. [My horse] stepped on me pretty good."

Lack of entries sinks Santa Lucia

The $75,000 Santa Lucia Handicap, scheduled for Sunday, was canceled Friday because of insufficient entries.

The Santa Lucia drew only four entrants from 15 nominations. Three nominees - Dream of Summer, House of Fortune, and Star Parade - were entered in Saturday's $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

The race was restricted to fillies and mares who had not won a stakes at a mile or farther this year. Trainer Bruce Headley was hoping to run Ramatuelle, who is unbeaten in five starts. Festival, the winner of the Dahlia Handicap at Hollywood Park last December, was also entered.