08/16/2006 11:00PM

Spellbinder trying something new in O'Brien


DEL MAR, Calif. - The enigmatic Spellbinder makes his sprint stakes debut in Sunday's $300,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar, a race that has drawn a strong field of eight.

The Pat O'Brien is one of three stakes on Sunday's card, which is highlighted by the $1 million Pacific Classic.

Earlier this year, Spellbinder seemed to be a candidate for the Pacific Classic. A 5-year-old, Spellbinder won the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita in February, suggesting that he would have a significant role in the handicap division. He is winless in four subsequent starts, ranging from a game second to Surf Cat in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park in May to a seventh in the Santa Anita Handicap in March.

In his most recent start, he finished fourth in the Wickerr Handicap on turf on July 29, fading from contention in the final furlong.

Trainer Richard Mandella considered Sunday's Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs for Spellbinder, but stayed at Del Mar for the Pat O'Brien at the request of owner Jerry Moss.

In the Pat O'Brien, Spellbinder faces Siren Lure, the winner of the Triple Bend Handicap last month at Hollywood Park; Pure as Gold, the upset winner of the Bing Crosby Handicap here last month; and Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004.

Mandella hopes that Spellbinder's stamina will help him in the stretch.

"His last race wasn't bad," he said. "Going seven-eighths, he can set back and fire."

Fast Parade sets record

Fast Parade lowered the course record for five furlongs on turf to 54.75 seconds with an emphatic win in Wednesday's $95,545 Green Flash Handicap.

Ridden by Norberto Arroyo, Jr., Fast Parade ($12.20) stalked pacesetter Slew's Prince to the head of the stretch and quickly pulled clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Osidy rallied from sixth to finish second, a head in front of Slew's Prince in the field of eight.

Fast Parade was making his first start for owners Gary and Cecil Barber and his first start since finishing seventh in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland on April 22.

"We gave him a lot of time to recover from going long," Gary Barber said. "He's a pure sprinter."

The Green Flash was Fast Parade's first start on turf. Trainer Peter Miller worked him on the surface Saturday and was pleased with what he saw.

"He worked great on the grass and I thought he might like it," Miller said.

Fast Parade has won 4 of 7 starts and $161,873. He has won sprints on turf and dirt and could run on either surface, Gary Barber said.

"We have multiple options," he said.

Dalicia sidelined with leg injury

Dalicia, a group stakes winner in Germany last year and the fourth-place finisher in the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park in June, faces at least two months on the sidelines after being injured in a paddock accident on Aug. 9, trainer Neil Drysdale said.

Moments before the Osunitas Handicap, Dalicia became agitated and struck a dolly with her left hind foot. She also kicked a small fence on the edge of the paddock, emerging with significant cuts to that foot. The dolly held a large plastic trash can used to clean up after the horses.

Dalicia required surgery to treat the wound, Drysdale said. She has been sent to Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic in Santa Ynez for observation, Drysdale said.

Dalicia has won 3 of 20 starts and $194,272.

E Z Warrior resumes training

E Z Warrior, the unbeaten winner of the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship at Hollywood Park last month, has resumed training after being given a break because of sore shins, trainer Bob Baffert.

Wednesday, E Z Warrior jogged on the main track. Baffert kept E Z Warrior out of the Best Pal Stakes because of the minor injury.

Baffert said he is considering E Z Warrior for the $400,000 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 14.

Great Hunter aims for Futurity

Great Hunter, the runner-up in the Best Pal Stakes last Sunday, is bound for the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 6, trainer Doug O'Neill said. The Del Mar Futurity is the feature race on the closing day of the meeting.

Great Hunter finished three lengths behind Principle Secret in the Grade 2 Best Pal over 6 1/2 furlongs. He also finished second to E Z Warrior in the Hollywood Juvenile.

O'Neill said that Great Hunter will benefit from the seven-furlong distance of the Del Mar Futurity.

"He's just getting a little better and better, and I think he has a style that will work going longer distances," O'Neill said

Cobalt Blue, seventh in the Best Pal, will be out for the rest of the year, O'Neill said. The colt will be rested because of sore hocks.