11/20/2008 12:00AM

Rosales barn working a split shift


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Richard Rosales ducked out of Hollywood Park at 7:15 a.m. on Thursday morning. For most people, the start of the workday was still an hour or two away. Rosales was already between jobs.

He arrived at Hollywood Park before dawn, oversaw the early training of his 15-horse stable, and then left. Rosales teaches a class of second-graders in nearby Gardena, Calif. His wife, Elena Reilly, directed the stable for the rest of the day.

Rosales, 46, admits it is an unconventional mom-and-pop team.

"I'm there in the morning and my wife and I train," he said. "It works with the breaks we have at school a couple of times a year. My wife is quite a horsewoman. She's been real instrumental in what we've done with the barn."

So far this year, Rosales has recorded 6 wins from 61 starters. Rosales will be after his seventh winner on Saturday when the 2-year-old Captain Kali starts in a maiden race over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park.

Owned by Magenta Racing, Captain Kali finished fourth after a slow start in his debut at Hollywood Park on Nov. 1, finishing 5 1/2 lengths behind Mr. Rod.

"I don't know if he would have beaten that horse, but he could have been closer," Rosales said.

At the recommendation of jockey Alex Solis, Captain Kali will wear blinkers for his second start.

Rosales said that Captain Kali was bought privately last spring in Florida after failing to sell at a 2-year-old sale. The colt caught Rosales's attention because he is by the Florida-based stallion Untuttable, by Unbridled. Untuttable is the sire of Chop House George, a 3-year-old trained by Rosales who was fifth in the San Felipe Stakes last spring. Chop House George has not started since April and is nearing a comeback. Rosales is unsure whether Chop House George deserves to run in stakes next year.

"I don't know what he'll be - whether he'll run in the Strub series or a high-priced claimer," Rosales said.

At that point, Rosales cut short a telephone conversation. It was late on Thursday morning and it was time to get back to class.

"The bell just rang," he said.

Johnny Eves needs slump-ending race

Johnny Eves began 2008 in the best form of his career. He had won his first stakes in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, 2007, giving trainer Jay Robbins hopes that the 4-year-old gelding could become a multiple stakes winner this year.

Robbins is still waiting. Johnny Eves has lost all seven of his starts this year, a streak that Robbins and owner Sharon Hilliard hope will end in Saturday's $100,000 Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park.

There is reason for hope. Johnny Eves finished second in the California Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Oct. 5, his best performance since a nose loss in the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes in January.

The Cal Cup was the third race for Johnny Eves since he returned in late July from a three-month layoff.

"He was more like himself," Robbins said.

Since the California Cup, Johnny Eves has had several promising workouts, including a half-mile in 46.80 seconds under jockey Garrett Gomez at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

"Garrett thought he worked really well," Robbins said. "Garrett said he was on the muscle but not overdoing it."

Race strategy could be in Johnny Eves's favor on Saturday. The six-furlong Underwood has two quick runners in Bob Black Jack and Wiredfortwotwenty that could help Johnny Eves, who Robbins expects will be tracking the early leaders.

Dates issued for '09

Golden Gate Fields will be the hub of racing in Northern California in 2009 after the California Horse Racing Board issued racing dates at its monthly meeting on Tuesday.

The closing of Bay Meadows, in San Mateo, in August, has changed the Northern California calendar.

Golden Gate Fields will host two lengthy meetings, from Dec. 26, 2008 to June 14, 2009, and a fall meeting from next Oct. 21 to Dec. 13. In addition, the track will run two shorter meetings during the summer and fall - Aug. 12-23 and Sept. 9-Oct. 4. Racetrack profits from those two short meeting will be dedicated to improvements at Pleasanton, which will eventually pick up some of the Bay Meadows dates.

The Northern California fair circuit includes racing at Stockton (June 18-28), Pleasanton (July 1-19), possibly Vallejo (July 22-26), Santa Rosa (July 29-Aug. 9), Ferndale (Aug. 13-23), Sacramento (Aug. 26-Sept. 7) and Fresno (Oct. 7-18). The week at Vallejo not been finalized, and could revert to Pleasanton or Santa Rosa.

The Southern California calendar next year includes a fall meeting at Hollywood Park from Nov. 11 to Dec. 21. Track officials have not committed to conducting the meeting, and have told the racing board that it will provide a six-month notice if it does not intend to race. The Bay Meadows Land Co., the track's owner, has indicated a desire to develop the property eventually.

The Southern California calendar starts at Santa Anita, Dec. 26, 2008 to April 19, 2009, and continues at Hollywood Park (April 22-July 19), Del Mar (July 22-Sept. 9), the Los Angeles County Fair at Fairplex (Sept. 10-Sept. 28), and the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting (Sept. 30-Nov. 8).

Ventana won't be held back

Expect Ventana to be near the front in Sunday's $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes for 2-year-olds over seven furlongs. The strategy of racing the colt from off the pace did not work in the Jack Goodman Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 18.

Ventana was fourth in the six-furlong Goodman Stakes, never threatening race winner Backbackbackgone.

"We took him off of it, and he didn't like that," trainer Bob Baffert said. "He's more of a speed horse. He wants to be up front."

Ventana beat maidens convincingly in his debut at Belmont Park in September, but has lost his last two starts. He was 10th in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 4 after a poor start.

In the Prevue, Ventana has five rivals, including Azul Leon and Backbackbackgone, who are seeking their third stakes wins.