01/13/2004 12:00AM

She's back on the right track

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ARCADIA, Calif. - When she seeks redemption Monday in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes, the 3-year-old filly House of Fortune will race seven furlongs over a track she likes. That was not the case Dec. 21 in the Hollywood Starlet when House of Fortune finished a distant third. Trainer Ron McAnally believes he knows why she ran poorly. Before the Starlet, House of Fortune vanned from Santa Anita to Hollywood Park for a seven-furlong work that did not go well. Under Alex Solis, the filly switched leads back and forth, and was uncomfortable. But in her subsequent work at Santa Anita, she zipped a half-mile in 46.60 seconds.

When she returned to Hollywood three days later for the Starlet, House of Fortune pulled hard on Solis, never relaxed, and lost by more than seven lengths. "I don't think she handles Hollywood," McAnally said.

won two Cal-bred stakes at Santa Anita during the Oak Tree meet, and is expected to be one of the Santa Ynez favorites.

McAnally will be busy Monday. He starts two derby winners in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at 1 1/4 miles - Hollywood Derby winner Sweet Return and Del Mar Derby Fairly Ransom. McAnally said both colts are training well, but recognizes they are moving up in class. "They're facing older horses now. That separates the men from the boys. It's a big change, from 3-year-olds to 4-year-olds."

No Big Cap for Candy Ride

The unbeaten Candy Ride will not make the Santa Anita Handicap. "He's just galloping; he hasn't breezed yet," McAnally said Tuesday. "He's feeling good and acting good. We'll get him ready first, then look for a race."

Candy Ride, 6 for 6, has not raced since Aug. 24 at Del Mar, where he won the Pacific Classic by 3 1/4 lengths over Medaglia d'Oro and earned a 123 Beyer Figure.

Whoopi Cat needs a race

Whoopi Cat could have been a star 2-year-old filly last summer. But her second career win Aug. 11 in the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga took its toll. Racing on a muddy track, she bruised both front feet, popped an abscess in both, and was done for the year. "After that, it was just a question of time," trainer Patrick Biancone said.

Five months later, time's up. Whoopi Cat returns Monday at Santa Anita in the Santa Ynez. "It's not going to be an easy race, and she will need the race," Biancone said. "She has not run in a long time, and she has to give everybody weight, but you have to come back somewhere."

Beyond fillies Whoopi Cat and Salty Romance, Biancone will be a factor in the 3-year-old colt division this spring. Unbeaten Lion Heart resumes serious training later this month and returns March 6 in the San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita. The San Felipe Stakes a week later, on March 13, is the backup plan.

Pomeroy will have his first comeback breeze soon. He's pointing for the Rebel and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

Fogelsonger targets Friday return

Jockey Ryan Fogelsonger will begin working horses Thursday and resume riding Friday for the first time in a month. Fogelsonger tore a muscle in his right shoulder in a spill Dec. 12 at Hollywood Park. According to Fogelsonger's agent, Michelle Barsotti, he was scheduled for an examination Wednesday, and doctors were expected to clear him to ride. The 2002 champion apprentice and finalist for champion apprentice in 2003, Fogelsonger moved to California in September and made an immediate impact. He began riding the final few days of the Del Mar season, and at the time he was injured had ridden 48 winners from 320 mounts (15 percent) in Southern California.

Halfbridled tightens up

Halfbridled is picking up the tempo. The 3-year-old filly worked six furlongs Tuesday in a 1:12.40 in a work that trainer Richard Mandella said would "turn the screw a little." Halfbridled is aiming for a Feb. 15 return in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes.

Mandella said Spellbinder would miss the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes on Saturday after popping a quarter. The trainer said a patch would be applied Wednesday, but several days of missed training would preclude Spellbinder from running in the Santa Catalina. Spellbinder ran the best race of his five-start career Dec. 29, winning a maiden race by three-quarters of a length. Action This Day also will skip the Santa Catalina.

Twice as Bad to miss Santa Catalina

The California debut of Twice as Bad has been temporarily delayed. Runner-up Dec. 13 in the What a Pleasure Stakes at Calder, the colt arrived at trainer Vladimir Cerin's barn on Friday "a little worn out from shipping," according to Cerin. Twice as Bad originally was to run Saturday in the Santa Catalina. Twice as Bad was purchased by Mercedes Stable after the What a Pleasure, where he finished a head in front of Grade 1 winner Silver Wagon.

* Island Fashion, expected to be the overwhelming favorite Sunday in the Grade 2 El Encino Stakes, worked an easy half-mile Tuesday in 49.80. "I always train her easy, she likes that," said trainer Marcelo Polanco. Island Fashion won the seven-furlong La Brea Stakes by six lengths and will have few rivals Sunday as she stretches out to a 1 1/16 miles.