10/05/2003 11:00PM

Ten Most Wanted's Classic hopes rising

Ten Most Wanted prepares for his first start against older horses, in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - With victories in the Travers Stakes and Super Derby in his last two starts, Ten Most Wanted is among the hottest horses in the country. He is readying for his first start against older horses, in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 25 at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, and on Monday at Hollywood Park he began serious final preparations for that race with a sharp, half-mile workout.

Ten Most Wanted went four furlongs under exercise rider Bruno Delgadillo in 47.80 seconds, the third-best time of 24 at the distance. It was his first drill since the Super Derby.

"A couple more, and he'll be ready to roll," said Aimee Dollase, top assistant to her father, trainer Wally Dollase.

Ten Most Wanted's regular rider is Pat Day, who also has been the regular rider for the top older horse Perfect Drift. On Monday, Aimee Dollase said that Day "gave us the call" for the Classic.

Murray Johnson, who trains Perfect Drift, was unable to return a phone message on Monday seeking comment on who would ride Perfect Drift in the Classic, assuming he is still Breeders' Cup-bound.

Ten Most Wanted has a chance to wrest the 3-year-old title from Empire Maker and Funny Cide. Ten Most Wanted was unable to beat Empire Maker in three starts this year, but a Classic win would buff his r?sum? with a triumph against older horses. Funny Cide will face older horses next month, in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

Ten Most Wanted is "maturing at the right time," Aimee Dollase said.

Medaglia d'Oro, who could be the Classic favorite now that Mineshaft has defected, worked seven furlongs in 1:28.60 on Sunday morning. Like Ten Most Wanted, Medaglia d'Oro is based at Hollywood Park.

Humberto Ascanio, who is overseeing Medaglia d'Oro for his boss, trainer Bobby Frankel, described Medaglia d'Oro's work as "slow, but good."

In addition to Medaglia d'Oro and Ten Most Wanted, the West Coast has two other top contenders for the Classic in Congaree and Pleasantly Perfect. Bob Baffert, who trains Congaree, wanted to work Congaree just before the first race at Santa Anita on Wednesday. "The track's a little deeper in the afternoon. He'll get more out of it," Baffert said.

Pleasantly Perfect, who won the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap on Saturday for the second straight year, emerged from the race in good condition, according to his trainer, Richard Mandella. Pleasantly Perfect earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 105.