06/15/2006 11:00PM

Tanaka buys filly Rising Cross


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Rising Cross, the runner-up in the English Oaks on June 2, has been bought by owner Gary Tanaka, the filly's English trainer, John Best, said Friday.

Rising Cross could be sent to the United States to race, although Best said plans for the filly beyond a scheduled start in Sunday's Italian Oaks had not been finalized. There have been discussions about running Rising Cross in the $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 2, but Best warned that she would not make the trip if the ground is firm.

Invitations to the American Oaks will be issued by Hollywood Park management on Sunday.

Best said plans would be finalized next week after the Italian Oaks.

"I don't know if it would be 50-50," Best said of Rising Cross's chance of running in the American Oaks.

The American Oaks is expected to draw an international field. The candidates include Foxysox, the winner of three stakes on this circuit earlier this year, and the Japanese stakes winner Asahi Rising. Trainer Julio Canani has not announced whether Attima, an easy winner of the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 4, will start in the American Oaks or wait for the Del Mar meeting.

Hollywood Park's turf course has been firm throughout the meeting. The track replaced its turf course last fall after the grass failed to take root when the course was resodded last summer. Since racing resumed on the turf course in April, the course, a Bermuda grass known as GN-1, has produced quick times, including a world record of 1:00.26 for 5 1/2 furlongs on May 15.

O'Neill tries to maintain business as usual

Leading trainer Doug O'Neill said Friday that he will not curtail his number of runners over the next month while his starters are required to be held in a detention barn for 24 hours before they run.

O'Neill's starters have been placed in a detention barn since Wednesday after he had a horse test in excess of the permitted level of bicarbonates, or total carbon dioxide, last month at Hollywood Park.

The detention barn period will run through July 13. For a 15-day period beginning on July 14, O'Neill's stable will be subject to surveillance from the California Horse Racing Board.

A high level of bicarbonates or carbon dioxide is attributed to the presence of alkalyzing agents, which are administered to horses in mixtures known as milkshakes, which are believed to give horses more stamina. O'Neill steadfastly denies administering a milkshake to the tested horse, Wisdom Cat, who finished last in an allowance race on May 27.

"It's like coming home and getting a citation for a DUI and not having had a drink," O'Neill said. "I don't know how it happened. I sincerely don't. I'm not focusing on that. I'm focusing on my top barn."

On Wednesday and Thursday, O'Neill was winless with nine starters, including two second-place finishers. Through Thursday, he led all trainers at this meeting with 19 wins, one more than Jeff Mullins and five more than Mike Harrington.

O'Neill said that the conditions of the detention barn have been disruptive for some horses.

"We've had a few that didn't eat," he said. "I'm hoping that the number that don't eat and get nervous will be low. Other than that, it shouldn't affect the number" of starters.

O'Neill said that because the detention barn is under the same roof as the holding barn, where horses that arrive from Santa Anita are kept on race day, there is considerably more activity than what would occur in a normal stable.

"The whole morning there is something going on," O'Neill said. "It's chaos over there. That's awkward."

During the detention period, the stable will have runners in two of Hollywood Park's most lucrative races - Cambiocorsa in the $750,000 CashCall Mile on July 1 and Lava Man in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 8.

O'Neill said that Lava Man emerged from his win in the $300,000 Charles Whittingham Handicap on June 10 in good order.

Pure as Gold changes hands for $100K

The O'Neill-trained Pure as Gold, the winner of the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita in April, was claimed for $100,000 from an optional claimer on Wednesday. New trainer Jack Carava said Pure as Gold will be considered for sprint stakes at Del Mar or possibly a route race on turf. Pure as Gold, a 4-year-old gelding, was claimed on behalf of La Canada Stable.

"It's not often you can claim a Grade 3 stakes winner for $100,000," Carava said.

Carava said he had been watching Pure as Gold for considerable time and had tried to claim him in the past "for a little cheaper" only to miss out when multiple claims were submitted and his was not chosen in a random draw.

"I'm not positive what I'll do with him," Carava said. "I'll probably wait for Del Mar. If he's good enough, we'll run him in a sprint. I might try him a mile. That's definitely a possibility."

House of Fortune back in training

House of Fortune, the seven-time stakes winner who is just shy of $1 million in career earnings, has resumed training after a bout with colic earlier this year, trainer Ron McAnally said.

House of Fortune "is back to herself," McAnally said. She has not raced since winning the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28, a victory that ended a 10-race losing streak. Owned by Arnold Zetcher, House of Fortune has won 8 of 22 starts and $989,185.

In February, she was hospitalized at the Chino Valley Equine Hospital in Chino, Calif., to undergo colic surgery.

McAnally said he is optimistic that House of Fortune, 5, can return to racing, possibly by the end of the Del Mar meeting in September.

"She's galloping again," McAnally said. "If she doesn't make it back, we'll breed her next season."