09/29/2004 12:00AM

Stevens to fight Italy suspension

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Total Impact is a top contender for Saturday's Goodwood, but the Breeders' Cup is probably not in his future.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Gary Stevens was informed Wednesday that he has lost an appeal of a 20-day suspension issued by Italian stewards for failing to ride an unruly mount at Capannelle racecourse in Rome in May. Stevens vowed to fight the ruling, which may prevent him from riding for the first half of October.

Stevens's appeal was denied on Monday by Italian racing authorities, but the Hall of Fame jockey did not learn of their decision until early Wednesday. The suspension was to begin on Thursday and run through Oct. 19, a span that includes two weekends of lucrative prep races for the Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30 and the California Cup program at Santa Anita on Oct. 16. Stevens was also fined approximately $1,840.

Stevens has the mount on The Cliff's Edge in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Saturday.

Stevens said on Wednesday that he plans to fight the ruling and was seeking legal advice. In addition, Stevens was hoping to enlist the support of France-Galop, the French racing authority.

"There is so much confusion," Stevens said.

On May 30, Stevens refused to ride Sopran Foldan in the Group 3 Premio Tudini after the horse was unruly on the way to the start. Stevens said Sopran Foldan was bleeding from the mouth before the start.

He asked that the horse be scratched, but was replaced by another rider. Sopran Foldan finished 14th of 16.

Later that day, Stevens was informed of the suspension, which he immediately appealed. At the time, Stevens said he was denied an interpreter at a hearing before Italian stewards.

"I thought he was unfit to ride," Stevens said on Wednesday. "My safety was at hand. I felt he shouldn't be running.

"This is like putting me in a car with a broken steering wheel and no brakes and telling me to go play on the freeway."

Stevens rode in France from late March until late August, and made occasional trips to other countries for major stakes.

In most cases, American racing officials have reciprocal agreements with foreign officials to honor suspensions. On Wednesday, the Santa Anita board of stewards said they were waiting for more information before deciding whether to uphold the suspension.

A decision from the stewards was expected on Thursday when entries were scheduled to be drawn in New York for Saturday's program.

"If they uphold the suspension in America, then we do have some issues," Stevens said.

Itineraries unsure for Goodwood cast

The $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap on Saturday is designed as the West Coast's leading prep to the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic. This year, some of the Goodwood probable starters are more likely to appear in the $2 million Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo Race course on Nov. 28.

Total Impact, the winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup, and Lundy's Liability, a stakes winner in South Africa and Dubai, are probable starters for the Goodwood. Both were bred in South America and were not nominated to the Breeders' Cup program. To start in the BC Classic, their owners would have to pay expensive supplemental fees.

The Japan Cup Dirt, run at about 1 5/16 miles, is considered a viable alternative.

"I nominated him this morning," said Bobby Frankel, who trains Lundy's Liability.

Owned by Stud TNT, Lundy's Liability will be making his U.S. debut in the Goodwood, which is run over 1 1/8 miles.

A winner of 3 of 5 starts, Lundy's Liability, who was bred in Brazil, won the $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby last March in his most recent start. In 2003, he won a seven-furlong turf stakes in South Africa. Lundy's Liability has been with Frankel since April.

Total Impact, a 6-year-old Chilean-bred, won his first Grade 1 in the United States in the Hollywood Gold Cup in July. Trained by Laura de Seroux, Total Impact finished third in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 22 behind Pleasantly Perfect.

Total Impact has won $681,180 in eight starts this year.

De Seroux said it would cost $800,000 to supplement Total Impact to the Breeders' Cup Classic.

She described the Japan Cup Dirt as "definitely a maybe" depending on whether Pleasantly Perfect makes the trip. Pleasantly Perfect is the early favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic, a race he won last year at Santa Anita. Trainer Richard Mandella has mentioned the Japan Cup Dirt as a possibility for Pleasantly Perfect, who is being trained up to the BC Classic.

"I won't go all the way to Japan to face Pleasantly Perfect," de Seroux said.

She said the $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 26 may be another autumn goal for Total Impact. "It's not as much money, but we want to try to stay realistic with his spots," she said.

In the Goodwood, Total Impact might be favored against Californian, Gondolieri, Supah Blitz, Touch the Wire, and Truly a Judge. Supah Blitz is a top contender following his win in the one-mile Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 5.

Aside from Pleasantly Perfect, the Goodwood field lacks two major stakes winners from the summer - Choctaw Nation and Even the Score.

Choctaw Nation, who won the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 1, emerged from a fourth-place finish in the Pacific Classic on Aug. 22 with a quarter crack, according to owner Bob Bone.

Even the Score, the winner of the Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park in June, missed Del Mar because of a bruised foot. He has resumed serious training and could have a workout in coming days.

Light Jig gets test in Yellow Ribbon

The Goodwood Handicap is one of six prep races for the Breeders' Cup program that will be run this weekend at Santa Anita.

Saturday's program also includes the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles a turf, a prep for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Frankel starts Light Jig, who won the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park in June, but finished sixth in the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar July 24.

"She was colicky that day," Frankel said.

Frankel is taking a guarded approach to the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon, saying that Light Jig must run well to be considered for the BC Filly and Mare Turf.

Frankel has won three runnings of the Yellow Ribbon, most recently last year with Tates Creek.

There are seven probable starters for the Yellow Ribbon, including Amorama (the winner of the Del Mar Oaks), Good Student, Katdogawn, Noches de Rosa, Notting Hill and Tangle.

There are three graded stakes on Sunday, including two $250,000 races - the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles and the Clement Hirsch Turf Championship over 1 1/4 miles.