02/28/2005 12:00AM

Saint Liam tries to buck history


ARCADIA, Calif. - Saint Liam, the winner of the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park last month, has been assigned top weight of 122 pounds for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap and will try to become the first invader since Broad Brush in 1987 to win Santa Anita's signature race.

Saint Liam, based in Florida and trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., is scheduled to arrive at Santa Anita on Thursday. He will bring a growing reputation as a top handicap horse, a status emphasized by his Donn Handicap score.

Awaiting Saint Liam in the Santa Anita Handicap, to be run over 1 1/4 miles, are nine locally based runners - Lundy's Liability, 120; Rock Hard Ten, 119; Imperialism and Truly a Judge, 117; Congrats and Supah Blitz, 115; Borrego and Island Fashion, 113; and Grand Reward, 112.

California-based runners have dominated the Big Cap since the Maryland-based Broad Brush defeated locally based Ferdinand 18 years ago.

Saint Liam worked six furlongs in 1:12 on Saturday at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida. Edgar Prado, who has the mount in the Big Cap, was aboard for the workout.

"Our horse is doing really good," Dutrow said. "Prado said he worked super. He's really happy with him. That's good enough for me."

The Big Cap might have lost a starter on Monday. Musique Toujours, the upset winner of the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 29, is nursing a quarter crack in his left front foot and is doubtful, trainer John Sadler said.

Sadler had hoped to work Musique Toujours on Sunday or Monday.

"He's popped a quarter crack and was not able to work," Sadler said. "He'll probably miss the race."

While Saint Liam will be favored, there will be support for Rock Hard Ten, the winner of the Strub Stakes on Feb. 5, and Lundy's Liability, the winner of the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 6.

Lundy's Liability worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 on Sunday at Hollywood Park. Trainer Bobby Frankel has expressed doubt that Lundy's Liability is ready for the Big Cap, citing an interrupted training schedule because of rain.

"I hope he got enough out of it," Frankel said of the workout.

Frankel was left scrambling for a rider over the weekend after jockey David Flores was injured in a spill on Saturday. Patrick Valenzuela is expected to ride Lundy's Liability.