08/30/2002 11:00PM

Spill ruins Delahoussaye's weekend


DEL MAR, Calif. - Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye is scheduled to return Monday after being thrown in a spill in Friday's sixth race.

Delahoussaye spent Friday night at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla where he underwent X-rays that proved negative. Because he did not receive attention until later in the evening, he was kept overnight, according to jockey agent Scotty McClellan. McClellan booked mounts for Delahoussaye over the weekend, while Delahoussaye's regular agent, Ray Kravagna, was traveling.

In Friday's sixth race, Delahoussaye was aboard Seeingisbelieving when the 3-year-old fractured his right front cannon bone and fell on the backstretch of a turf race. Delahoussaye was thrown to the ground and was taken from the track via ambulance. Seeingisbelieving, trained by Mike Machowsky, was euthanized.

Delahoussaye, 50, complained of pain in his neck, left hip, and a foot. "He was just sore," McClellan said.

The spill disrupted an otherwise successful meeting for Delahoussaye, who through Friday was tied for sixth in the standings with 19 wins. He has won four races worth $100,000 or more, including the $400,000 Ramona Handicap on July 27 with Affluent.

Netherland takes Piedra Foundation

Delahoussaye missed the ride on Printemps in the $75,625 Piedra Foundation Handicap, a race won by Netherland, who led throughout.

The first three finishers in the field of five were imports from South America.

Printemps, who was ridden by David Flores, finished second, three lengths ahead of Se Me Acabo.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Netherland set relatively modest fractions - 22.96 and 46.35 seconds - and held off a determined rally from Printemps to win by three-quarters of a length. Netherland finished a mile in 1:36.78.

The restricted stakes was the first victory in the United States for Netherland, who won the 2001 Argentina Oaks and finished second in the 2001 Argentina Derby.

Trained by Bob Baffert, she lost her first five starts in this country but was second in the Iowa Distaff at Prairie Meadows in July.

Earlier on Friday, Smith avoided injury when his mount in the third race, St. Eulalia, broke down on the first turn of a mile race for $20,000 claimers. St. Eulalia had to be euthanized.

'Lil Sister' finds her metier

Last summer at Del Mar, Lil Sister Stich could not win a $10,000 claimer on the main track. On Monday, she starts as a contender in the $125,000 Solana Beach Handicap, run over

1 1/16 miles on turf for statebred fillies and mares.

The difference has been a switch in surfaces.

Since the change, Lil Sister Stich, a 5-year-old has won 4 of 8 starts, including the California Cup Distaff Starter Handicap at Oak Tree and the Golden Poppy Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

"They put her on the turf and it turned around," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "It's amazing."

Lil Sister Stich drew the rail in the Solana Beach Handicap, Monday's third race. The race drew 12 entries, but only 10 will start. Defending champion Top of Our Game and Super High, the winner of the Flawlessly Stakes at Hollywood Park in July, are both owned by Harris Ranch and will be coupled in the betting.

Other contenders include Castling and Smokin' Charlotte, the first two finishers of the Valkyr Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 19, and Warren's Whistle, who finished second in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap on Aug. 25 and won the restricted Fantastic Girl Stakes on Aug. 3.

The presence of Castling and Super High should ensure a fast pace. Even though Lil Sister Stich drew the rail and has shown speed, O'Neill is hoping that she can be rated off the pace. Last year, she led throughout in the Golden Poppy, but won from a stalking position in the California Cup. She has had two starts this summer, finishing second in a sprint at Hollywood Park and eighth here against open company in an allowance race on Aug. 1.

"She was a bad bleeder and needed the time," O'Neill said. "She's a little better if she's chasing something."

Crafty C.T. won't go in B.C. Sprint

Crafty C.T. won his first race since March in a $66,170 allowance race on Friday, but the victory did little to convince trainer Howard Zucker to consider the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.

Crafty C.T. led throughout six furlongs, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over Ecstatic. Racing on the wrong lead through the stretch, Crafty C.T. was timed in 1:09.59 and gave Zucker his first winner of the meeting.

"I don't think we'll go to Chicago," Zucker said after leaving the winner's circle. "If we'd gone in 1:07, I think we might have considered it. I thought he might be a little short because he missed a week when we got down here. Then, he had another quarter crack."

A 4-year-old, Crafty C.T. won the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita in March 2001. Since then, he has managed two wins in seven starts, and third-place finishes earlier this year in the Metropolitan Mile Handicap at Belmont Park and Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder.

"For every race he's won, he's had a quarter crack," Zucker said. "There is no sense in predicting when his next race will be."

Stevens back at it

Jockey Gary Stevens returned to riding after a one-month absence on Friday, finishing second on two mounts. After Irish Muldoon finished second in the fifth, he picked up National Park in the sixth race after jockey Kent Desormeaux complained of dizziness after he was struck in the head by Modernist while galloping out after the fifth race.

Stevens will ride Nuclear Debate in the $1 million Atto Mile at Woodbine on Sept. 8, a key prep to the Breeders' Cup Mile.

On Saturday, Stevens will ride Relaunch Stakes winner Dell Place in the $300,000 Del Mar Derby. Run over 1 1/8 miles on turf, the race will feature Golden Arrow, Inesperado, Johar, Mountain Rage, Mr. Mellon, Rock Opera, and True Phenomenon.

Mr. Mellon is the only shipper expected for the race. He won the Grade 2 Arlington Classic in June.