04/24/2002 11:00PM

Suances must reverse his fortunes

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Darrell Vienna couldn't believe his luck when he was able to purchase Suances for client Jed Cohen of Red Baron's Barn.

He can't believe his luck since then either; little has gone right for Suances.

Vienna hopes that will change Saturday, when Suances runs as one of four entrants in the $250,000 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile at Bay Meadows.

Joining him in the Grade 2 turf race are The Tin Man, Sarafan, and Decarchy.

After starting his career in Spain, he went to France and won his stakes debut, the Grade 3 Prix de Gulche at Longchamp in May 2000, when Vienna purchased him.

"I buy a lot of horses in Europe, but very rarely is one of that quality available," Vienna said. Before coming to the United States, Suances ran once more in France, winning the Grade 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.

Vienna brought Suances to his barn in Southern California and prepared him for his American debut in the American Derby at Arlington Park one month later.

That's when his luck changed.

"The day before the race, he was put in the receiving barn," Vienna said. "The gate panel was covered with corrugated metal, and he kicked right through it." When Suances retracted his right hind foot, he severed the ligament in the front of the ankle.

The injury was severe and nagging, and bringing Suances back was slow. Suances did not race at all in 2001 and finally made his comeback last month on March 24 in the Explosive Bid Handicap at the Fair Grounds. The race was a disaster, a 10th-place finish, although only five lengths behind winner Sarafan, one of Saturday's rivals.

"He drew outside in New Orleans," Vienna said. "I underestimated the deepness of the turf to the outside, and he ran outside most of the way."

"I had a very high level of confidence about this horse, and it's been shaken somewhat, but this is not the kind of horse you duck challenges with."

Saturday's challengers come in with solid credentials.

With the exception of the Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 24 when he was eased, Sarafan has recorded triple-digit Beyers in his past seven starts. He grabbed the lead late in the Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 2 only to be edged by Decarchy in the final strides. He rebounded from that defeat to win the Exclusive Bid Handicap at the Fair Grounds on March 24.

Morning-line favorite Decarchy has won his only two starts this year, the Tanforan Handicap at Golden Gate Fields and the Kilroe Mile in a four-way photo. The Tin Man makes his stakes debut after three straight allowance victories.

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