04/28/2003 11:00PM

Smith seeking better luck aboard Bayou the Moon

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The newest Hall of Fame jockey has two scores to settle Thursday at Hollywood Park. Mike Smith rides Bayou the Moon in a three-other-than turf allowance, Smith's first turf race since Prized Friend jumped the rail in a stakes race last Saturday. The seventh-race feature on Thursday also is the second race back for Bayou the Moon, whose unlucky April 16 trip under Smith resulted in a third-place finish.

"[Smith] was pretty frustrated after the race, he thought he should have won," trainer Richard Mandella said. Bayou the Moon got stopped cold at the three-eighths pole, was shuffled back, then re-rallied for third at odds of 9-1. Thursday, the 5-year-old Bayou the Moon faces Royal Gem and four others in the 1 3/16-mile turf race.

The allowance feature is the richest race on a surprisingly competitive Thursday card. While the midweek racing programs often fall short on quantity, 75 horses entered the eight races on Thursday. In addition to Bayou the Moon and Royal Gem in race 7, there are several other sharp horses on the card.

The 8-year-old pro Islander (16 for 39 lifetime) bids for his third straight win in race 2, a 5 1/2-furlong turf race for two-other-than, optional $80,000 claimers. In race 4, an apparently strong field of 2-year-old maidens races 4 1/2 furlongs. Trainer Caesar Dominguez may have the likeliest winner in Delivering Speed. The 2-year-old Delivering Speed, sired by Unbridled's Song, has been firing bullets in morning workouts and looks ready to go under David Nuesch.

West gets closer to incentive bonus

Trainer Ted H. West likes used horses, but not used cars. West would rather drive off the lot in a brand-new Mercedes CLK 500. West, whose Budroyale and Bluesthestandard won graded stakes after being claimed for $50,000 by owner Jeffrey Sengara, may get his wish.

Sengara has promised West a new Mercedes if Bluesthestandard surpasses $1 million in career earnings. The 6-year-old Bluesthestandard is almost halfway there. A four-length win last Saturday by Bluesthestandard in the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star was the gelding's fourth straight since being claimed Dec. 31, and increased his career earnings to $490,410. Of that total, $315,200 was earned in four starts since Sengara claimed him. Bluesthestandard acts like he is ready for more.

"He comes out of his races amazing," West said Tuesday. "I don't think he's showing everything he's got. I don't know what level he's going to stop at."

Bluesthestandard was due back at Santa Anita on Tuesday, and West expects the former $10,000 claimer to return to Texas for the $300,000 Lone Star Handicap on May 26. Martin Pedroza will ride him again.

After that, West and Sengara have allowed themselves to dream. Bluesthestandard, 14 for 21, would require a $360,000 supplement to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic, a race in which Budroyale finished second for West and Sengara in 1999. "That's a long way away, but if we get to that stage, Jeff said he would put up the money," West said.

For now, West is aiming Bluesthestandard for rich races. "Jeff said 'If he makes a million, I will buy you a new Mercedes,'" West said. "I was looking at one to buy anyway. But now, I'm holding off."

Pleasantly Perfect preps for Special

Pleasantly Perfect may have had a genuine alibi for his fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 1. Trainer Richard Mandella said a relatively minor foot problem surfaced after the race that caused some separation of the hoof wall.

"It had to be bothering him," he said. "I'm taking that as an excuse,"

Judging from Pleasantly Perfect's recent works, the excuse is valid. Pleasantly Perfect went a sharp mile on Monday at Santa Anita in 1:39.20. "He's coming on fire now; he's really good," Mandella said.

Mandella has named the Grade 1 Pimlico Special on May 16 as Pleasantly Perfect's next start, forsaking the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile Mervyn LeRoy at Hollywood Park. "He doesn't want a mile and a sixteenth anyway, he wants a mile and three-sixteenths."

Pleasantly Perfect will face Mineshaft at Pimlico.

Mandella will start Palmarola on Saturday in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs. He also will run Kudos in the Mervyn LeRoy, and Redattore May 26 in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood.

River God, 4 for 6 lifetime, suffered a splint injury in his most recent race, a win, and will be out until fall. "Thank God when he gets hurt it is things we can fix," Mandella said. "Maybe by the time he is 7 or 8 we will be all right."