07/23/2004 12:00AM

Southern Image to miss another


DEL MAR, Calif. - Southern Image, the winner of the Santa Anita Handicap and Pimlico Special earlier this year, will miss the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 22 because of the lingering effects of a quarter crack.

Trainer Mike Machowsky said Friday that he has abandoned any hope for a start in the Pacific Classic, fearing that Southern Image could suffer damage to the foot while training.

"He's not going to make it," he said. "He's just tack-walking."

Southern Image has not started since finishing second in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 12. In late June, Machowsky said Southern Image was out of training after showing evidence of soreness in his left front foot. An abscess surfaced in the foot in early July.

The injury has cost Southern Image starts in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10, the $250,000 San Diego Handicap on Aug. 1, and now the Pacific Classic.

Machowsky does not know when Southern Image will run. He said he is optimistic that Southern Image can still make the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park in October.

"We've got plenty of time for later in the year," Machowsky said. "When he's good, he'll go. That quarter isn't getting any better."

A winner of 6 of 8 starts, Southern Image has won four stakes in his career. Last winter, he won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes and the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic for California-breds and Florida-breds.

Machowsky said he had hoped to run Southern Image in the Pacific Classic to test him against Pleasantly Perfect, the winner of the 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic and $6 million Dubai World Cup in March.

Unraced since Dubai, Pleasantly Perfect is expected to start in the $250,000 San Diego Handicap as a prep to the Pacific Classic. Friday, Pleasantly Perfect worked a mile in 1:37.80. Trainer Richard Mandella said Pleasantly Perfect would have a blowout next week for the San Diego, which is run over 1 1/16 miles.

Beau's Town back for title defense

Beau's Town, the Louisiana-based sprinter, ran arguably the best race of his career when he pulled a 5-1 upset in the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap last summer.

Although Beau's Town set a track record at Lone Star Park in May, he has failed to replicate the 2003 Bing Crosby performance this year, leaving questions about his chances when he attempts to defend his title in the $250,000 Grade 1 race over six furlongs Sunday.

Owner David Hulkewicz acknowledges that the critics have a point in questioning Beau's Town's current form, but insists that Beau's Town has worked brilliantly for Sunday's race.

After the 2003 Bing Crosby, Beau's Town was given a break before finishing eighth in the Grade 3 Phoenix Breeders' Cup Stakes at Keeneland in early October. He emerged from that race with a bone chip in an ankle.

"It was a flake. It was minor," Hulkewicz said.

But it was enough to keep Beau's Town from starting in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.

This year, Beau's Town has one win in three starts.

Trained by Cole Norman, Beau's Town failed to defend his title in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park in April, finishing fifth behind Shake You Down. The loss was a disappointment, Hulkewicz said.

"The game plan at the start of the year was to bring him back more slowly," Hulkewicz said. "He came up a little more flat than what we wanted."

In his following race, Beau's Town zipped six furlongs in a record 1:07.89 in the Ford Express Stakes at Lone Star Park on May 8.

The performance made him a 5-2 favorite in the Aristides Handicap over six furlongs at Churchill Downs on June 19. Beau's Town led to the eighth pole of that race and finished second, 3 1/2 lengths behind Champali. The form of that race was flattered when Champali returned to win the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder this month.

"He got hooked every step of the way on a dull track," Hulkewicz said of the Aristides.

Since then, Hulkewicz has been impressed with Beau's Town's workouts. He traveled 200 miles from his home in Plano, Texas, last weekend to watch Beau's Town work a half-mile in 46.80 seconds, the quickest of 81 recorded works at the distance.

"I thought it was a Beau's Town type of work," Hulkewicz said. "He did it in hand."

In Sunday's race, Beau's Town has drawn post 4. He will wear blinkers for the third consecutive race and is expected to show speed.

"He needs to be in the race early," Hulkewicz said. "He doesn't have to be on the lead."

The goal for Beau's Town is the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Hulkewicz wants to take every advantage of the home track at Lone Star Park.

"We took a long time getting him back," Hulkewicz said. "With the Breeders' Cup at Lone Star, we didn't want to peak too early."

Sunday's race will be a clear indication of where Beau's Town ranks among the nation's sprinters.

Ruis gets two-week extension

Apprentice jockey Mick Ruis, who won two races in the first two days of the Del Mar meeting, has had his apprentice allowance extended for 14 days, through Aug. 29.

Ruis requested an extension from the Del Mar stewards because of time missed because of injury.

At the Hollywood Park meeting that ended last Sunday, Ruis finished fifth in the standings with 36 winners. He won the riding title at Turf Paradise earlier this year.