06/12/2007 11:00PM

Time to Get Even suddenly has suitors


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Over a span of seven weeks, in consecutive starts, Time to Get Even went from winning a maiden race to his first graded stakes win. The sudden rise of the 3-year-old has left trainer Walther Solis and the partnership that owns the colt in an enviable position.

Solis says the phone rings occasionally with offers to buy Time to Get Even, who cost a grand total of $5,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale. Solis insists that Murrietta Racing Stable and its partners and are not interested in selling.

"They want to have fun with him," Solis said. "They're enjoying it. They're new people in the business."

Time to Get Even won the Grade 3 Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes on May 20, giving Solis, 45, his first stakes win.

How far Time to Get Even can progress in the 3-year-old division will be revealed in coming weeks. He returns in Sunday's $100,000 Affirmed Handicap for 3-year-olds, which is run at 1 1/16 miles and will be the colt's first start around two turns. The Affirmed could lead to a start in the Grade 2 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes on July 14, a race expected to draw Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago.

Time to Get Even will be tested in the Affirmed, and Solis insists that the colt will be prepared.

"The way he came back from his last race tells me he's ready," Solis said. "It concerns me a little bit, going a route against those horses."

The Affirmed may have only four starters. Aside from Time to Get Even, the probable runners are Albertus Maximus, Awesome Gambler, and Cobalt Blue.

Time to Get Even finished second in a maiden race at Santa Anita in his career debut on March 23. He returned to win a maiden race at 6o1/2 furlongs on April 11, and won the seven-furlong Laz Barrera by a neck at 7-1, giving jockey David Flores his 3,000th career win.

"After the maiden race, he came back with a little bit of tender shins," Solis said. "He came back better after the Laz. He hasn't missed a day of training."

Solis has trained horses since 2004, having previously worked as a racing manager at Golden Eagle Farm and as an assistant trainer to Caesar Dominguez. In the Affirmed, Dominguez starts Awesome Gambler, the winner of the Alydar Stakes here in May.

"I've been on my own for three years," Solis said. "But I don't count 2004. I had only three horses."

Today, Solis has 25 horses. "I've got a couple of promising 2-year-olds," he said. One of them is Reel Prime, who starts in Saturday's fourth race.

For Solis, the Hollywood Park meeting has not been without sadness. Solis trained the maiden Royal Change, who broke down badly on the turn of a maiden claiming race on May 17, causing a three-horse spill. Royal Change was euthanized. No other horses and none of the jockeys were badly injured.

Three days later, Solis had the biggest win of his career in the Barrera, with an inexpensive colt who has turned out to be a bargain.

"You don't have to spend a lot of money to find a good horse," he said. "You hope you will get lucky. It was my time to get lucky."

Vienna resigns from CHRB post

Trainer Darrell Vienna resigned a consultancy position as a legal adviser to the California Horse Racing Board last month, and said on Wednesday that he did so after fulfilling his goals in the position.

Vienna was hired as a consultant in the spring of 2006. He left the position in May after overseeing a seminar for stewards at UC-Davis, which reviewed testing procedures.

"I never envisioned working more than a year and a half," said Vienna, 60. "I thought if I did the job right, I'd be done in 18 months and maybe a year. That's what I said from the start."

Vienna was to be paid $345,000 over three years, but said the sum he received was considerably less over a one-year period because he did not bill the racing board for some of the hours that he worked, he said.

Vienna said the most significant project that he worked on was an overhaul of the hearing system for class 1, 2, and 3 medication violations. Vienna has proposed a radically different system that would require the racing board to employ a steward with a legal background to act as a prosecutor in medical violation cases. Another steward with a legal background would act as a judge in any potential hearing. The stewards who oversee racing on a daily basis would act as a jury and hear testimony from the prosecuting stewards, and, in most cases, counsel for the accused.

Currently, track stewards hear cases and can issue a ruling. They hear testimony from racing board investigators, and in some cases, from assistant district attorneys who argue cases on behalf of the racing board. The track stewards hearing the case are also employed by the racing board.

In some situations, cases go directly to an administrative law judge who can make a penalty recommendation to the racing board, or request that a case be dismissed.

"People don't trust the system because the system has faults," Vienna said of the current structure. "People don't feel they get a fair hearing."

Vienna said the proposed system would provide the racing board with staffers who are well versed in law and racing matters.

"The biggest legacy of my work would be if that's implemented," Vienna said.

Runaway Dancer heads Round Table

Runaway Dancer, the winner of 7 of 37 starts and $682,801, is the 120-pound topweight in Saturday's $75,000 Round Table Handicap at 1o3/4 miles on turf. The Round Table is a new addition to the Hollywood Park stakes schedule.

Runaway Dancer was fifth in the Grade 2 Jim Murray Handicap here on May 12, his sixth consecutive loss. An 8-year-old gelding, Runaway Dancer won the restricted Escondido Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on turf at Del Mar last summer.

The Round Table Handicap drew nine entrants, including Running Free, the winner of the Quicken Tree Stakes for California-breds at 1 1/2 miles on turf on May 25.