06/27/2004 11:00PM

Southern Image out of Gold Cup

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Southern Image, one of the nation's top older horses, will miss the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10 because of a tender left front foot, trainer Mike Machowsky said on Sunday.

Southern Image was scheduled to have a workout on Sunday but Machowsky canceled it when the 4-year-old colt appeared to be favoring the foot before he went to the track.

"He was a touch off on it," Machowsky said. "Our normal routine is to walk for 10 minutes before a workout. I had him jogged up and down the road, and we didn't want to take any chances.

"I've always said that if there were any signs of anything negative, we wouldn't run. He gave me that today."

Machowsky said no X-rays were scheduled this week for Southern Image. He said that he thought an abscess could be forming. "At this point, I don't see any reason to take an X-ray," he said. "We'll soak it. Maybe something will pop out.

"We're out of the Gold Cup."

Southern Image has risen to prominence since the start of the Santa Anita winter meeting last December. He won four consecutive stakes from late December to mid-May - the Grade 1 Malibu, the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic, the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap and the Grade 1 Pimlico Special - before finishing second by a nose to 62-1 Colonial Colony in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 12.

Southern Image has won 6 of 8 starts and $1,843,750. Earlier this summer, Machowsky said he intended to start Southern Image in the Hollywood Gold Cup and the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 22.

"He's done plenty this year already, so we'll manage him the right way," Machowsky said.

The $750,000 Gold Cup is run over 1 1/4 miles. The top candidates in what may be a short field are Even the Score, Olmodavor, Total Impact, and the Texas shipper Yessirgeneralsir.

Rider needed for Lovely Rafaela

Lovely Rafaela won the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 5, the top local prep for Saturday's $750,000 American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Despite the win, trainer Paulo Lobo has yet to find a rider for the Oaks, which may draw 14 runners.

Victor Espinoza rode Lovely Rafaela in the Honeymoon, but has switched for the American Oaks to Misty Heights, an Irish invader trained by Dermot Weld.

Consequently, Lobo said he is no hurry to assign a rider, holding out in case a top jockey becomes available though a late defection.

"I'm going to wait until Wednesday," Lobo said, referring to the day entries will be taken for the American Oaks.

Lovely Rafaela worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 on dirt on Saturday. She customarily works on dirt between starts.

"She's 100 percent ready," Lobo said. "She worked very well."

The fillies invited to the Grade 1 American Oaks made their last starts in Australia, France, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand, and at Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, and Hollywood Park in this country.

The American Oaks will be a competitive betting race. Mambo Slew, who has won three turf stakes, including the Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park on June 13, will be well backed. She won the Miesque Stakes over a mile on turf here last November.

Lovely Rafaela will be a medium-priced longshot. She was 16-1 when she won the Honeymoon.

Over the weekend, House of Fortune was withdrawn from the American Oaks, leaving a place for French Lady, who recently joined trainer Neil Drysdale's stable. House of Fortune is expected to continue racing on dirt.

French Lady was second in the AJC Oaks in Australia on April 14, and then finished 11th in a 12-runner handicap against males at Eagle Farm, Australia, on June 5. Drysdale said French Lady emerged from the race with a bruised foot, which has since improved.

Trainer Bobby Frankel holds invitations for Eternal Melody and Miss Vegas. He is hoping for another defection from the field that could result in a berth going to Sagitta Ra, who was third in the Honeymoon.

Frankel has Miss Vegas and Sagitta Ra nominated for the $100,000 Flawlessly Stakes over a mile on turf on Saturday.

Another berth could become available if Kalatuna, from France, is not shipped.

Speightstown staying east

Speightstown, the winner of three consecutive sprint stakes - in Florida, Kentucky, and New York - will not be sent to Hollywood Park for Saturday's $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap, trainer Todd Pletcher said on Sunday.

The winner of the True North Handicap at Belmont Park on June 5, Speightstown will be pointed for the $200,000 Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 14. "I felt he needs more time," Pletcher said.

Pletcher had three other top sprinters nominated for the Grade 1 Triple Bend - Alke, Strong Hope, and Lion Tamer - but said they will be pointed for stakes on the East Coast.

The defection of his quartet leaves Ghostzapper the potential starting highweight at 120 pounds. Trained by Frankel, Ghostzapper has not started since winning the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park last September.

Frankel on Sunday said that he has not committed Ghostzapper to the Triple Bend.

Other probable starters for the seven-furlong Triple Bend include Hasty Kris, Kela, Lifestyle, Reba's Gold, Smile n Wildcat, and Taste of Paradise.

There are seven stakes at Hollywood Park from Saturday through Monday, ranging in value from the $750,000 American Oaks down to the $75,000 Robert Kerlan Handicap, a turf sprint, on Monday.

Saturday's program begins at noon and includes a guaranteed pick six pool of $1 million. Aside from the Flawlessly, the card features the $100,000 Royal Heroine Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile on turf.

Valenzuela works Rock Hard Ten

Rock Hard Ten, second to Smarty Jones in the Preakness Stakes and fifth in the Belmont, worked five furlongs in 1:00 on Sunday, preparing for a possible start in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on July 10.

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela was aboard Rock Hard Ten. Valenzuela returns from a 30-day suspension on Thursday.

Valenzuela was given a four-month suspension by the California Horse Racing Board on May 18 for failing to submit to a mandatory drug test in January, but was given credit for three months served earlier this year.

Boston Comon euthanized

Boston Common, who won the Grade 3 El Conejo Handicap over 5 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita in January, was euthanized after injuring his right foreleg in a turf sprint for $62,500 claimers on Sunday.

Trained by Jeff Mullins for Richard Englander, Boston Common, 5, won 12 of 33 starts and $608,917.

Boston Common won three other stakes, including the 2002 Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park. He was claimed from Sunday's race by trainer Leonard Duncan.

Duncan said Boston Common had a condylar fracture to his right foreleg and could not be saved.

American Oaks field

HORSEJOCKEYLAST RACE
Boulevardofdreams Gary Grylls 6th allowance race, New Zealand
Dance in the MoodYutaka Take 4th Japanese Oaks, Japan
Eternal MelodyAlex Solis3rd Mint Julep Handicap, Churchill Downs
French Ladyno rider11th, Williams Handicap, Australia
Hollywood StoryPatrick Valenzuela 3rd Hollywood Oaks, Hollywood Park.
Kalatunano rider2nd, Prix de Royaumont, France
Lovely Rafaela no rider 1st, Honeymoon Handicap, Hollywood Park
Mambo Slew Mike Smith1st Sands Point Stakes, Belmont Park
Miss Vegas Javier Santiago1st, Senorita Stakes, Hollywood Park
Misty Heights Victor Espinoza 1st McCalmont Stakes, Ireland
Steel PrincessTyler Baze10th French Oaks, France
Ticker TapeKent Desormeaux4th, Honeymoon Handicap, Hollywood Park
Western HemisphereDavid Flores2nd Honeymoon Handicap, Hollywood Park
Western RansomRyan Fogelsonger 2nd Regret Stakes, Churchill Downs