10/24/2007 11:00PM

Second tier could provide Morvich hero

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Since the summer of 2006, Becrux, Get Funky, and McCann's Mojave have shown moments of brilliance, winning major stakes across the continent. Those accomplishments have earned them prominent roles in Saturday's $100,000 Morvich Handicap at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

But there are three others among the field of 11 without a major stakes win in North America that could prove to be equally important in the Grade 3 Morvich, run over about

6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course. The Australian import Cateclipse, the turf specialist Night Chapter, and the versatile Heatseeker are each capable of winning the race.

Becrux, sixth in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on Sept. 16, is the 121-pound starting topweight, seeking his first graded stakes win since the 2006 Woodbine Mile. A 5-year-old gelding trained by Neil Drysdale, Becrux has raced primarily in turf races at a mile in the last year and will be a factor from off the pace.

Cateclipse is another late-runner. A 6-year-old Australian-bred gelding now trained by John Sadler, Cateclipse has not started since finishing seventh in a Group 1 stakes in Australia in April. Last fall, he won two handicaps and a Group 3 race in Australia.

Get Funky, also trained by Sadler, will make his first appearance in a turf sprint since winning an allowance race last March. The winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in 2006, Get Funky finished fourth in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile on Oct. 7.

McCann's Mojave, the winner of the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park in January, will be making his first start since finishing eighth in the Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields in June. McCann's Mojave won the 2004 Sensational Star Handicap on the hillside turf course.

Night Chapter, who will carry 120 pounds, will attract significant support. A 6-year-old trained by Bobby Frankel, Night Chapter has won three consecutive stakes, including the restricted Blue Jay Way Stakes here on Sept. 30 in his first start since February.

Trainer Jeff Mullins will start Relato Del Gato, a 6-year-old who was beaten a nose by Double Action in the restricted Pirate's Bounty Handicap at Del Mar on Sept. 5. Relato Del Gato is winless in seven starts on turf and will be making his turf stakes debut on Saturday.

"It's hard to place a horse like this," Mullins said. "It's the only logical spot until we get to Hollywood Park."

Valenzuela meets with stewards

Patrick Valenzuela has not completed the application process to regain a jockey's license, according to a California Horse Racing Board spokesman, delaying the 45-year-old jockey's attempt at a comeback from an 11-month absence from a rib injury and knee surgery.

Valenzuela met briefly with Santa Anita stewards on Wednesday, but was not granted a license. According to the racing board, Valenzuela will be required to sign an agreement for a conditional license as he has done in recent years, and prove that he weighs 125 pounds or less. One provision of the conditional license is for random drug testing. Valenzuela has a history of substance abuse problems.

On Thursday, Valenzuela said he weighed "124 and change." According a racing board rule, no jockey may apply for a license who weighs more than 125 pounds.

* Santa Anita will offer a radically different race schedule on Saturday to accommodate the simulcast of the Breeders' Cup from Monmouth Park. The first live race will be run at 9:15 a.m., but the second race not until 2:55 p.m., the gap filled by the Breeders' Cup races. The seven-race program at Santa Anita has a final post of 5:25 p.m.