12/31/2003 12:00AM

Siphonizer out until summer

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Siphonizer, one of the top 2-year-olds in California in 2003, has been turned out for a month, effectively ending his chances of starting in the spring classics.

Siphonizer will spend 30 days at owner B. Wayne Hughes's farm in Malibu, Calif., recovering from a recent operation to correct a breathing problem, trainer Richard Mandella said.

Siphonizer has not started since finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, and underwent the surgery shortly after the race. The colt was under observation for six weeks before the decision was reached to give him a month off.

"He'll be back in the summer," Mandella said.

Mandella said the throat surgery included a laser treatment to trim the epiglottis, a procedure that will improve the colt's breathing.

Purchased for $275,000 as a yearling, Siphonizer has won 2 of 5 starts and $197,400. His best performance was a half-length win in the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 10, which was followed by a fourth in the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 5.

Siphonizer is part of a strong group of 3-year-olds trained by Mandella, including Action This Day and Minister Eric, the first two finishers in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and Spellbinder, the winner of a maiden race at Santa Anita on Monday.

Action This Day, a top contender for the Eclipse Award as outstanding 2-year-old of 2003, remains on schedule for his 2004 debut in the $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 17.

Minister Eric has returned to galloping following surgery to have a bone chip removed from his left knee after the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

"I don't have a schedule," Mandella said of Minister Eric. "We're not going to force him."

Spellbinder has yet to start in a stakes. He won his maiden in his fifth start on Monday, catching 7-5 favorite Wimbledon in the final furlong to win the one-mile race by three-quarters of a length.

Spellbinder stalked the pace early, was passed by Wimbledon in early stretch, and then rallied to win.

"He showed a lot of courage," Mandella said.

Spellbinder started in two sprints in early summer and was rested until the fall.

"He trained early like one of the best ones," Mandella said. "We changed equipment on him. We put an inside blinker on him. Coming for home he was always trying to lug in."

Mandella said Spellbinder is likely to return in an allowance race later this month.

Solis off to a sizzling start

Alex Solis rides many of Mandella's top horses, including Minister Eric; Johar, the winner of the BC Turf; and Pleasantly Perfect, the winner of the BC Classic.

Saturday, Solis rides for Mandella in the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

Olmodavor is the starting highweight at 118 pounds in the Grade 2 race. Congaree was asssigned top weight of 125 pounds, but will pass the race, trainer Bob Baffert said. The Mandella-trained Redattore is listed at 123 pounds, but will not start, having won the San Gabriel Handicap last Sunday.

Redattore was one of three stakes winners for Solis in the first four days of the meeting. The others were Greek Sun in Monday's Hill Rise Stakes and Don'tsellmeshort in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes on Dec. 26.

Through Monday, Solis was the leading rider with seven wins, two more than Victor Espinoza, Tyler Baze, and Mike Smith. He has been helped by the absences of Patrick Valenzuela, out because of suspension, and Julie Krone, who is injured.

"This is the start I was hoping for," Solis said.

Solis rode Olmodavor to victory in the Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park last month, the colt's first stakes win. Last fall, Olmodavor was second in the Strub Stakes to Medaglia d'Oro and second in the New Orleans Handicap to Mineshaft, the top candidate for 2003 Horse of the Year.

"He's faced some of the best horses," Solis said. "I think he's better this year than last year."

In the Native Diver, Olmodavor rallied from fifth to finish a half-length in front of Nose the Trade, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Bobby Frankel. Nose the Trade led by three lengths in the stretch of the Native Diver after disputing the lead throughout.

Nose the Trade returns in the San Pasqual along with Grey Memo, Hot Market, Star Cross, and Total Impact.

Hot Market is using the race as a prep for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic for California-breds and Florida-breds at Santa Anita on Jan. 24, but only if the 5-year-old can rebound from two disappointing races.

After finishing third in the 2003 San Pasqual, Hot Market was sidelined by injury. Since returning, Hot Market has finished sixth in the California Cup Classic and fifth in the On Trust Handicap. The performances have left trainer Craig Lewis uncertain what to expect.

"Every time he's come back, he's needed a few races," Lewis said. "He's not shown any soreness. He's an eager, aggressive horse in training."

Sunday's top race is the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. The candidates include A.P. Adventure, Penny's Fortune, Salty Romance, Stellar Jayne, Super GI, and Wildwood Flower. Salty Romance won the $250,000 Delta Princess Stakes last month at Delta Downs in her stakes debut.

Passinetti begins comeback

, the winner of the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap last April, resumed galloping on Wednesday as he continues his return from injury.

Trained by Ben Cecil, Passinetti, 8, has not started since winning the San Juan Capistrano. He was found to have suffered a suspensory injury shortly after winning the marathon turf race at about 1 3/4 miles.

"There was some heat there so we stopped on him," Cecil said. "So far, he looks great."

Cecil is hopeful that Passinetti will have a prep race before the San Juan Capistrano, possibly an allowance race in late March or the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on April 3.

Last year, Passinetti finished a close fourth in the Arcadia. The San Juan Capistrano is on April 18, the closing day of the meeting.

"We could go in the same race as we did last year - if we get that far," Cecil said.