01/03/2002 1:00AM

Siphonic set for Santa Catalina


ARCADIA, Calif. - After Siphonic's crisp five-furlong work Wednesday at Hollywood Park, trainer David Hofmans gave the green light for the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes on Jan. 13. "He worked great, he went off real slow, then went [11:40 seconds] the last eighth and galloped out in 1:14." Clockers gave Siphonic 1:01.40, breezing. It was Siphonic's first recorded work since he won the Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 15.

Hofmans is two-deep with 3-year-olds, and his improving colt Definite Edge is penciled in for the 1 1/8-mile Sham Stakes on Feb. 8. The $75,000 Sham is restricted to 3-year-olds who have not won $50,000 at a mile or more. Definite Edge finished second Dec. 29 in a one-other-than allowance won by the improving colt Holdthehelm. Holdthehelm, a 3 1/2-length winner over Definite Edge, earned an 87 Beyer and is under consideration for both the Santa Catalina and Sham.

Excuses for beaten favorites

Bettors may be growing wary of low-odds runners in sprint stakes at Santa Anita. On Jan. 1, Freespool finished seventh as the 4-5 favorite in the El Conejo. Two days later, Jeweled Pirate finished seventh as the even-money favorite in the Survive Stakes. But Freespool and Jeweled Pirate both emerged from their disappointing efforts with valid excuses.

Freespool came out of the El Conejo with a bruised foot. "He was lame on it, I'm sure that had something to with it," trainer Ted H. West said. "Not to take anything away from the winner, but 1:03.05 [the final time] is not too scary; and we were dead at the quarter pole."

Snow Ridge won the El Conejo with a 102 Beyer; Freespool typically runs Beyers in the 105 range.

Jeweled Pirate, who beat only two runners in the Survive on Wednesday, bled in the race. Trainer Ray Bell said "it was a significant amount, enough to make her stop. She was running comfortably to the top of the stretch, then where she normally accelerates at the furlong pole, she decelerated."

Bell will back off on Jeweled Pirate, and return her to grass for her next start. "We'll let those lungs clear up and heal. When they don't heal properly, it becomes a chronic problem. We'll get her right." Bell also speculated that Jeweled Pirate is more comfortable on grass. The 5-for-12 mare will return to turf March 17 for the $100,000 Irish O'Brien Stakes at six and a half furlongs.

Flick, 10, to race again

An old favorite, whose racing career was believed to have ended last spring, has returned to training at age 10. As it turns out, Flick wanted no part of the good life.

"He wasn't happy being retired," owner Judith Carmel said. "He was turned out in a pasture with 20 acres, living a wonderful life, you would think. But he wasn't happy."

Flick has not raced since March 3, when he took an awkward step nearing the wire of a $62,500 claiming race and sustained a suspensory tear. A seven-time winner who earned $487,238 from 47 starts, the latest comeback by Flick will not be his first. The gelding was off from February 1999 to February 2000 with a soft-tissue injury, but returned to race 10 more times, winning once and placing five times.

Carmel has owned Flick throughout his U.S. career, including his 1997 win in the Turf Paradise Mile, and 1998 win in an overnight stakes at Santa Anita. Flick finished sixth in the 1997 Breeders' Cup Mile.

"He's the horse that made me love racing, because he is pure heart," Carmel said.

Flick will be trained by Paul Assinesi.

Bring Home Thegold's sharp Dec. 26 allowance win has earned him a berth in the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes for 4-year-olds on Jan. 12. The lightly raced colt earned a 99 Beyer in the two-other-than allowance, his third win from seven starts. A son of Silver Deputy, Bring Home Thegold is trained by John Shirreffs and owned by Sid and Jenny Craig. According to Shirreffs, now is the time to take a shot in a graded stakes.

"It's an opportunity to run in a limited age group, an opportunity that he won't have later on," Shirreffs said. "And, he's improving."

Others pointing for the 1 1/16-mile San Fernando include Momentum, I Love Silver, and Fancy As.

* Fleetstreet Dancer, among the most promising 3-year-olds last spring, has returned to training. A son of Smart Strike, he has not raced since fracturing a hind leg May 27 in a one-other-than allowance at Hollywood Park. Bell said Fleetstreet Dancer, 2 for 5, should be ready to run in February.

* A memorial service for Quarter Horse jockey Dusty Stimpson, killed early Jan. 1 in a single-car accident, is being planned for Monday. Details were unavailable at press time. Funeral-service arrangements for Stimpson also are pending; he will be buried in Utah.