09/01/2005 11:00PM

Teaming up against Willow O Wisp

Benoit & Associates
Willow O Wisp's La Jolla victory on Aug. 13 was his second consecutive stakes win. He goes for No. 3 in Monday's Del Mar Derby.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Much to his distress, trainer Richard Mandella has become an expert on the 3-year-old multiple stakes winner Willow O Wisp.

The Mandella-trained Osidy was beaten two lengths by Willow O Wisp in the Grade 3 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 26. In the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 13, Mandella's El Roblar was third behind Willow O Wisp.

"I'm sick of him," Mandella said of Willow O Wisp. "I kept thinking he was not that good. He's pretty freaking good."

But Mandella is stubborn. He is starting both El Roblar and Osidy against Willow O Wisp in Monday's $400,000 Del Mar Derby.

Trained by Vladimir Cerin, Willow O Wisp will be seeking his third consecutive stakes win.

Mandella thinks he has an excellent chance to win the derby.

Osidy, who won the Grade 3 Will Rogers Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 28, has not started since the Cinema Handicap, by design.

"He needed to pick up a few pounds," Mandella said. "He needed to fill out. He's a good horse and he's doing great."

El Roblar suffered his first defeat in the La Jolla, his fourth start. The colt was rank until the backstretch of that race and never threatened Willow O Wisp in the stretch.

"He was using himself," Mandella said. "He was a little too much on the muscle. Hopefully, he'll be more professional this time. He lacked experience and it caught up with him."

The Grade 2 Del Mar Derby is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf. The race is expected to draw an oversubscribed field; it has a safety limit of 10.

The other top contenders include Becrux, who won a division of the Oceanside Stakes on July 20; High Limit, who won the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in March; and Tedo, a two-time stakes winner in Italy who is making his U.S. debut.

Razik, 10, wins sixth 2005 race

The 10-year-old-gelding Razik, a California favorite, won his sixth race of the year in Thursday's fourth race for $10,000 claimers.

Showing the determination and speed of a much younger horse, Razik rallied from fifth under Omar Berrio to win by three-quarters of a length, going the six furlongs in 1:10.25. Owned by Sid and Jenny Craig and trained by Bill Spawr, Razik, who was claimed for $20,000 in May, has now won 12 of 41 starts and $190,561. He won seven consecutive sprints for cheap claimers from December 2003 until April 30 this year, before finishing third the day he was claimed by the Craigs.

"He's become my favorite horse," Jenny Craig said in the winner's circle on Thursday. "He gives his all every time and has so much heart."

Bred in Canada by Frank Stronach, Razik began his career in Ireland and later raced in Dubai before arriving in California in the spring of 2002. In Dubai, he finished fourth in the $250,000 Godolphin Mile in 2000.

As an older horse, Razik has been bothered by physical problems; he made only two starts in 2004. Spawr said Razik can be managed.

"He's such a class horse," Spawr said. "We gallop him a lot and don't work him too hard. If any problems start, they've said, 'Retire him.' "

Razik has become a character in the short time he has been with Spawr.

"We feed carrots two or three times a day and I do it myself," Spawr said. "He sees me coming up and he's always hollering at me."

Healthy Addiction gets the lead in nick of time

Healthy Addiction led for one stride of Thursday's $80,775 Adoration Handicap - the last one. Tracking pacesetter Fencelineneighbor for a mile, Healthy Addiction made up two lengths in the final furlong under jockey Victor Espinoza to win by a nose in 1:35.26.

"I didn't know we'd won until the replay," trainer John Sadler said.

The victory marked Healthy Addiction's second consecutive stakes win. She won the Osunitas Handicap on turf on Aug. 10, paying $92.80. She paid $3.80 to win in the Adoration Handicap, which was run on the main track.

Owned by Pamela Ziebarth, Healthy Addiction has won 5 of 13 starts and $238,257.

Sadler said Healthy Addiction is likely to start in a graded stakes in October. She finished sixth in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park in July.

Espinoza gets stay of suspension

Espinoza, the leading rider at Del Mar through Thursday, received a stay of a three-day suspension from a superior court, allowing him to keep riding through the end of the Del Mar meet on Wednesday, according to his agent, Tony Matos.

The suspension was scheduled to cover Monday, Wednesday, and Sept. 28, the opening day of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. Since Espinoza is not expected to ride the Fairplex Park meeting that begins on Friday, the suspension excluded racing at that track.

The California Horse Racing Board denied Espinoza's stay, leading to court action.

Through Thursday, Espinoza had a one-victory edge over Garrett Gomez, 44-43, with Patrick Valenzuela in third-place with 35 wins.

* Jockey Tyler Baze was to resume riding Friday after injuring his foot before Monday's first race, according to his agent, Ivan Puhich. Baze did not ride on Wednesday or Thursday.