06/25/2007 12:00AM

The Tin Man a go for American Cap


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Richard Mandella tried to talk himself out of starting The Tin Man in Saturday's $250,000 American Handicap at Hollywood Park. But after noting the attitude the 9-year-old gelding has displayed in recent training, Mandella gave in.

"It would be a waste of time not to run him," Mandella said on Sunday.

Already a popular horse because of his longevity and success, The Tin Man further endeared himself to knowledgeable racing fans around the world with his victory in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile on May 29. It was a remarkable way to launch a season, coming against a strong field, and it pushed The Tin Man's career record to 13 wins in 28 starts and earnings of $3,365,780.

The Tin Man won the Grade 2 American Handicap last year as an even-money favorite and will be favored to do so again on Saturday. The race is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf, a better distance for The Tin Man than the mile of the Shoemaker. The other probable starters include Becrux, Get Funky, Right Special and Willow O Wisp.

The Tin Man will carry top weight of 123 pounds.

"He's feeling too good," Mandella said. "He's happy and he's in good shape."

Mandella has planned a two-race summer campaign for The Tin Man - the American and the Arlington Million at Arlington Park on Aug. 11. The plan worked to perfection last year as The Tin Man swept the two races.

"I thought of training him up to the Arlington Million, because he's so good off a layoff," Mandella said. "But after this race, I have six weeks to the Million."

The American Handicap is one of four stakes on Saturday's program, which is highlighted by Lava Man's attempt at a record-equaling third consecutive win in the Hollywood Gold Cup.

The $100,000 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over six furlongs will include Another Aleyna, the runner-up in the Cinderella Stakes on May 27. The $75,000 Korbel Handicap for statebred milers, a late addition to the stakes schedule, will feature Epic Power, the winner of the Khaled Stakes on April 29.

Valbenny heads American cast for Oaks

The invitations for the $750,000 American Oaks on July 7 include six stakes winners from the United States and six stakes winners and two stakes-placed runners from other countries.

The American team is led by Valbenny, the winner of the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 9; Rutherienne, the dead-heat winner of the Sands Point Handicap at Belmont Park on June 2; and Panty Raid, the winner of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico last month. Panty Raid has never started on turf. The other domestic invitees are Audacious Chloe, Baroness Thatcher, and Mystic Soul.

The European team includes Alexander Tango, Just Little, Lokaloka, Scatina, Sismix, and Supposition. The biggest international threat may come from the Pacific Rim - the Australian filly Anamato and the Japanese 1000 Guineas winner Robe Decollete.

Anamato, a Group 1 winner in Australia in April, worked a mile at Hollywood in 1:45.20 on Sunday, a slow time that was of little concern to assistant trainer John Cornell. He said the goal was for Anamato to work 14-second furlongs, which equals a mile in 1:52. She will have a stronger workout this weekend.

What is a concern is the toll that the international trip has taken on Anamato; it is the first time she has been outside of Australia. Cornell, an assistant to trainer David Hayes, said the filly "was a little stressed from the trip," but has shown signs of an improved appetite in recent days.

"She wasn't eating that well," he said. "She's starting to pick it up now. She eats half her feed, which is passable."

Cornell was hoping that more activity this week in Hollywood Park's quarantine barn would help Anamato acclimate. Four fillies and mares from Japan are expected to clear quarantine in the middle of the week.

"She's in the barn on her own, and it will help when the Japanese get here and she has a couple of friends," he said.

Wait a While leads CashCall home team

The Japanese will have a strong presence in the $$1 million CashCall Mile on July 6 with the 2007 stakes winner Dia de la Novia and Koiuta as well as Kiss to Heaven, the winner of the 2006 Japanese 1000 Guineas.

They will face a formidable home team led by champion Wait a While, and 2006 California Grade 1 winners Dancing Edie and Price Tag. Other invitations were issued over the weekend to Alexandra Rose, Lady of Venice, My Typhoon, Precious Kitten, Somethinaboutlaura, and Strike Softly.

The 2006 CashCall Mile was won by the Japanese-based Dance in the Mood. That was the year the purse was boosted to $750,000 under a sponsorship program from the CashCall lending company, owned by horse owner Paul Reddam. The CashCall Mile was previously known as the Royal Heroine Stakes.

Reddam is part of the partnership that owns Dancing Edie, the winner of the John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar last summer.

O'Neill fined for carbon dioxide

Leading trainer Doug O'Neill has been fined $3,000 after one of his starters last summer tested in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide. The penalty was part of a stipulated agreement between O'Neill and the California Horse Racing Board. An administrative law judge recommended the penalty, which was adopted by the racing board, according to a statement released by the racing board over the weekend.

The O'Neill-trained Wisdom Cat finished last of eight at 48-1 in an allowance race at Hollywood Park on May 27, 2006, and tested over the permitted level of total carbon dioxide, 37 millimoles per liter of blood. There will be no purse redistribution in the case because Wisdom Cat did not earn purse money.

A high level of bicarbonates, or carbon dioxide, is attributed to the presence of alkalizing agents, sometimes referred to as milkshakes, which are believed to give horses more stamina.

O'Neill has repeatedly stated that neither he nor his staff gave Wisdom Cat a milkshake.