03/17/2005 12:00AM

Spanish Chestnut to Turfway

Trainer Jim Cassidy, unhappy with Moscow Burning's most recent workout, said he may withdraw her from Sunday's Santa Ana Handicap.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Like Willie Nelson, trainer Patrick Biancone just can't wait to get on the road again. He has decided not to wait until the April 9 Santa Anita Derby for Spanish Chestnut's next race, so he instead will send his 3-year-old to Turfway Park for the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End Stakes on March 26.

Spanish Chestnut most recently finished third in the Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita on March 5. Earlier this meet, Spanish Chestnut won the San Rafael Stakes.

"He's the kind of horse who needs to run every three weeks," Biancone said Thursday morning at Santa Anita. He said Gary Stevens would travel to Turfway for the mount.

Biancone last weekend was in New Orleans, where Scipion finished sixth in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. He said Scipion would stay home for the Santa Anita Derby, a Grade 1 race worth $750,000.

"If he impresses me in that race, we'll go for the Kentucky Derby," Biancone said. "If not, we will target the Belmont. I don't believe in going to the Derby unless you have a good chance. Too many horses don't survive it. They are never seen again on the track, or they never perform at the same level."

Stevens upset with Jockeys' Guild

Jockey Gary Stevens on Thursday said he would question his long-term commitment to the Jockeys' Guild following a meeting Wednesday between the guild and the Teamsters union in San Diego. A newspaper report of the meeting made the rounds at Santa Anita on Thursday, and caused renewed friction between jockeys and trainers.

"I'm sick of getting lambasted by trainers for things I don't know anything about," Stevens said. "The guild is not telling us anything. I didn't know anything about this meeting. I'm upset our membership is not being informed about goings on, like this meeting with the Teamsters.

"I don't know what to do," Stevens said. "I've been a guild supporter for 25 years."

The news report, published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, included quotes from Jim Hoffa, the general manager of the Teamsters, saying jockeys were "underpaid, work under inhuman conditions, [and] have no insurance coverage."

Hoffa also was quoted as saying jockeys are "almost like slaves or servants that work on these large plantations."

Several trainers found the comments laughable.

"I guess the jockeys want to drive the trucks, and the truck drivers want to ride the horses," Biancone said of the possibilities if the guild joins up with the Teamsters.

Chattahoochee War stuck outside

A full field of 12 3-year-old turf runners, headed by Chattahoochee War, was entered in the $75,000-added Pasadena Stakes, the supporting feature on Saturday's card.

Chattahoochee War has won twice in three starts, including the Hill Rise Stakes here on Jan. 15. He, however, landed the far outside post.

Eastern Sand and Littlebitofzip, who finished second and third in the Hill Rise, are also in the field, as are the well-regarded British import Moth Ball and Sunny Sky, who was third in the Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 27.

There is the possibility of rain on Saturday, which means the race could be run on ground with some give in it.

"It would be tough for me to scratch if it rains. I'll just have to take my chances on soft turf," said Jim Cassidy, the trainer of Moth Ball. "If it gets moved to dirt, I'll scratch. I want to run. I've been sitting on him forever."

Moth Ball was scheduled to run in the Generous, but he flipped when being loaded into the gate and had to be scratched. According to Cassidy, Moth Ball "went over backwards and got cut up" when an assistant starter grabbed his tail while he was in the gate.

Dan Hendricks, the trainer of Littlebitofzip, said he would only run if the race stays on the turf.

"I hope it does. He's ready to go," Hendricks said. "I haven't been able to train him into a race with the rain, or I haven't been able to run him because of the rain. This is the first time I thought everything was right this meet, but it might rain again."

Moscow Burning on the fence

Cassidy, who trains Moscow Burning, said her status for Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap was questionable.

"I'm on the fence. I really didn't like her work at all," said Cassidy, referring to a five-furlong breeze in a slow 1:04 on Wednesday. "I was going to run her in the Santa Ana to set her up for the Santa Barbara, but she might need more time. She's not where I want her. She's not aggressive at all. But I have another 24 hours to decide."

Moscow Burning was fifth as the favorite in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 29. The Grade 2, $200,000 Santa Barbara is on April 17.

Megahertz, who is expected to top the field in the Santa Ana, prepped for the race on Thursday morning with a half-mile drill in 49.80 seconds at Hollywood Park for trainer Bobby Frankel.

Wood watches weather

Steve Wood, Santa Anita's track superintendent, was intently watching the weather forecast for the weekend, dreading another storm.

"We've had 43 inches of rain since Christmas. It's insane. After a while, you lose your mind," said Wood, whose crew has done a remarkable job keeping the track in race shape this meet. "We're almost at four feet - 48 inches. This has been the wettest winter in Santa Anita's history."