03/21/2002 12:00AM

Sprint ideal for Werblin


ARCADIA, Calif. - Werblin is off the Triple Crown trail, a decision that may land him in the winner's circle of a stakes for the first time at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Werblin will be favored in the $75,000 San Pedro Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs, a race he is expected to dominate. On opening day of this meeting, Dec. 26, Werblin won a six-furlong allowance race by a convincing 1 1/2 lengths. He was subsequently beaten in two of the meeting's top races for 3-year-olds.

On both occasions, Werblin finished third behind Came Home, losing by four lengths in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs on Feb. 2 and by three lengths in the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes over a mile on March 2.

Werblin led to the top of the stretch in the San Rafael, a performance that did not discourage trainer Eduardo Inda.

"He just got beat in the last jump for second," Inda said. "He came out of it real good. The winner of the race, Came Home, may be the best 3-year-old on the grounds going a mile."

There is no such competition in the San Pedro. The race drew five entrants, including stakes winners Roman Dancer (Sunny Slope Stakes last October) and Shuffling Kid (Grade 3 Baldwin Stakes on Feb. 24).

Inda considers the race an opportunity to boost Werblin's confidence. Werblin can lead or he can stalk the pace if Roman Dancer or Saturday Hero show speed.

"I really like what I see," Inda said. "I don't think the distance will be a problem."

Pedroza a red-hot rider

Martin Pedroza approaches the richest race his career this weekend in the midst of an outstanding week.

Saturday, Pedroza rides Men's Exclusive in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Stakes at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai, the world's richest race for sprinters. The mount comes three days after Pedroza won four consecutive races at Santa Anita, and was narrowly beaten with his other two mounts.

Pedroza, 36, won the first four races on Wednesday - on Solar Bee ($9), J Vivendi ($5.80), Tara Nina ($14.60), and Big Bad Juan ($8.40).

Tara Nina and Big Bad Juan are trained by Jack Carava, who through Wednesday was fourth in the trainers standings with 16 winners, 15 behind Bob Baffert.

Later in the card, Pedroza finished second by a nose in the sixth race and third in the eighth race by a half-length.

The four-timer was not the best day of Pedroza's career in terms of winners. On Oct. 31, 1992, Pedroza rode six consecutive winners during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

Pedroza worked Men's Exclusive at Hollywood Park before the 9-year-old left for Dubai. After the final race on Wednesday, Pedroza was confident of Men's Exclusive's chances.

"When I worked the horse, I liked him," he said. "I think he'll win."

Jockeys heading out of town

Pedroza is one of 10 Southern California riders who are traveling this weekend to ride major races and will miss one or both weekend programs.

Mike Smith and Eddie Delahoussaye are at Turfway Park on Saturday for the Spiral Stakes, but will return on Sunday.

Leading rider Alex Solis along with Victor Espinoza, Corey Nakatani, and David Flores have mounts at Santa Anita on Saturday, but will be at Fair Grounds on Sunday for the Explosive Bid Handicap.

Pedroza, Patrick Valenzuela, Jose Valdivia, and Gary Stevens have mounts on the Dubai World Cup program. They will not ride on Sunday in California because of travel arrangements.

The absence of those riders has left Kent Desormeaux, Laffit Pincay, and Chris McCarron as the only members of the top 10 who are staying in town.

Through Wednesday, Solis led all riders with 59 winners, but was closely pursued by Desormeaux (53) and Pincay (49).

More tests on Siphonic

Siphonic, the beaten favorite in the San Felipe Stakes last Sunday, underwent a full battery of diagnostic tests on Thursday, trainer David Hofmans said.

The tests were conducted in an effort to explain Siphonic's six-length loss to Medaglia d'Oro.

"We've done everything," Hofmans said. "It's too important."

Hofmans said Siphonic did not bleed in the San Felipe Stakes. The loss was his second of the year, coming two months after a runner-up finish in the Santa Catalina Stakes.

Last year, Siphonic was considered one of the top 2-year-olds in the nation, winning the Breeders' Futurity and Hollywood Futurity and finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Filly good enough to beat males

Hollywood Honey was scratched from a two-furlong race for 2-year-old maiden fillies on Wednesday when she was stuck on the also-eligible list. Thursday, she got her chance, and handily beat a field of males.

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Hollywood Honey ($2.80) won by 3 1/2 lengths over another filly, 89-1 Little Bit Western. Despite being bumped at the start, Hollywood Honey quickly pulled clear of the others. She finished two furlongs in 21.43 seconds.

Viva El Gato, sent off at 35-1, finished third in the field of 10.

Hollywood Honey was purchased last August for $55,000 by a partnership at the Del Mar yearling sale. She is trained by Wesley Ward.

* Patrick Valenzuela has dropped an appeal of a five-day suspension he was given on March 2 for careless riding on March 1. The suspension begins Sunday and continues through next Saturday.