02/22/2005 12:00AM

San Felipe new target for Wilko

Benoit & Associates
Uraib and jockey Jon Court, outside, overcome Resplendency and Patrick Valenzuela for victory in the Grade III, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap on Monday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The relentless rainy weather that has pummeled Southern California the past week has interrupted the workout schedule of Wilko and thus will delay his 2005 debut by two weeks, trainer Craig Dollase said on Tuesday.

Wilko, who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile before finishing third in the Hollywood Futurity, was originally scheduled to run in the Grade 2, $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes on March 5. But Dollase said Wilko will now await the Grade 2, $250,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 19. Regardless, he still will have one prep before the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 9.

"Mother Nature has changed our plans," Dollase said. "He missed a work because of the rain. Hopefully I'll be able to breeze him this weekend. It's been frustrating with the weather."

The Santa Catalina is scheduled to mark the 2005 debut of Declan's Moon, last year's champion 2-year-old. Others pointing for the race include Sham Stakes winner Going Wild, and San Rafael Stakes winner Spanish Chestnut. Giacomo, who was third in the Sham, will bypass the Santa Catalina and await the San Felipe, or a race out of town, trainer John Shirreffs said on Tuesday.

Frankel: Rain's a pain

Bobby Frankel said that many of the horses he had planned on running on Santa Anita Handicap Day on March 5 are unlikely to compete because he has not been able to train them properly due to the rainy weather.

Frankel was scheduled to run Lundy's Liability in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap and Leroidesanimaux in the $300,000 Kilroe Mile, both Grade 1 races that day. He also was considering the mare Intercontinental as well as Cajun Beat for the Kilroe Mile. But on Tuesday he said, "None of these horses have been able to train.

"The horses coming in from Florida can't lose," Frankel said, referring to Saint Liam, who is scheduled to ship in for the Big Cap. "They've got an edge. They've been able to train. Saint Liam is the best horse, and he's got a bigger edge on conditioning. I haven't been able to gallop my horses for six or seven days."

Flores to move tack to Japan

Jockey David Flores said Monday that he will ride in Japan from mid-March through April 23.

Flores, 37, said he will receive a salary and a percentage of what his mounts earn. He follows in the path of Kent Desormeaux, who rode in Japan in 2001 and 2003.

"I know Desormeaux did well over there and European riders do well over there, why not me? I'll try a new area," Flores said. "I'm excited for a new experience.

"I'll go over there and give it a try. I've never gone anywhere and stayed there."

Flores has struggled at the Santa Anita meeting. He had 11 wins from 110 mounts through Monday, and is not in the top 10. Last year, he finished the meeting in eighth place in the jockey standings.

Flores said one of his concerns is he will miss a top mount for the Kentucky Derby by being gone during the pivotal prep races.

"That's one thing I'm afraid of, if something comes open," he said.

Flores plans to return to California a few days after the start of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting. "Hopefully, maybe they will remember me," he said with a laugh.

Uraib takes advantage of switch

Trainer Sandy Shulman was not too disappointed when Monday's $150,000 was transferred from turf to dirt because of wet weather.

The switch helped the Shulman-trained Uraib score the most important win of her career.

"It was a little better for us, in fact, because those big turf horses came out," Shulman said.

In a way, the surface change was bittersweet for one of Uraib's owners, Ron Charles, the president of Magna Entertainment's California tracks. Magna is Santa Anita's parent company.

The Buena Vista field was reduced to five starters from an original list of 13 entrants. Had it remained on turf, the larger field would have meant higher handle for Magna. Charles was traveling Monday and did not attend the race.

Uraib, ridden by Jon Court, rallied from last over a sloppy track to win by a nose over Resplendency, the 3-2 favorite. Elusive Diva finished third.

Uraib did not get the lead until the final stride. Resplendency set the pace and led by 1 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole. Resplendency's jockey, Patrick Valenzuela, dropped his whip in the final sixteenth and desperately tried to urge on Resplendency with only the reins in the final strides.

Uraib, racing wide, caught Resplendency at the line, finishing a mile in a quick 1:33.72. The race marked her second stakes win. She won the Hermosa Beach Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf at Hollywood Park last November.

A winner of 5 of 20 starts and $295,164, Uraib will be pointed for the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf on March 20.

Big pool guarantees

Santa Anita will offer two $1 million guaranteed pick six pools in coming weeks - on Santa Anita Handicap Day March 5 and the Santa Anita Derby program on April 9.

Beginning this week, Santa Anita is guaranteeing that the superfecta pool will reach $100,000 on the last race each Friday and the pick four pool will reach $300,000 each Sunday. Those figures have been exceeded on those bets on most instances in recent weeks.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen