11/20/2003 1:00AM

The Tin Man pulls out of Turf Cup

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The Tin Man, fourth in the Breeders' Cup Turf last month, was not entered for Saturday's $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup after he was found to have suffered an ankle injury Thursday, trainer Richard Mandella said.

The Tin Man was expected to be a strong favorite in the Grade 1 Turf Cup.

Mandella said The Tin Man "wrenched an ankle" but X-rays showed no damage.

"It's a little tender," Mandella said. "It's just a little setback."

Mandella also said The Tin Man is unlikely to start during the Hollywood Park meeting and will be pointed for the San Marcos Stakes in January at Santa Anita.

In January, The Tin Man was second in the San Marcos Stakes, losing by a head to stablemate Johar, who finished in a dead heat with High Chaparral in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Mandella on Thursday said he wanted to wait a few more days to assess The Tin Man's condition.

Owned by Ralph and Aury Todd, The Tin Man, 5, has won 7 of 18 starts and $1,074,460. He has won three stakes, including the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita in October 2002.

Adoration doubtful for Matriarch

Adoration, the upset winner of the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff on Oct. 25, is doubtful for the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes on Nov. 30 after working six furlongs in 1:18 on turf Thursday at Hollywood Park.

Trainer David Hofmans spoke with jockey Patrick Valenzuela after the workout, and neither was pleased with the way Adoration handled the surface.

"This is the one time we can say it wasn't a perfect work," Hofmans said.

Adoration worked at 10 a.m. on a foggy morning, and Valenzuela said the turf was wet.

"She wasn't as keen on the turf as she was on the dirt," he said.

Adoration is expected to be pointed for the $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on the main track Dec. 7.

The Matriarch will be run over a mile on turf for the first time this year and is likely to have more entrants than the maximum of 14 that can start. The probables include Acago, Belleski, Chopinina, Dancal, Dedication, Dress to Thrill, Etoile Montante, Garden in the Rain, Heat Haze, Island Fashion, Magic Mission, Maiden Tower, Mer de Corail, Miss Terrible, and Musical Chimes.

The Matriarch is the co-feature Nov. 30 with the $500,000 Hollywood Derby.

Sweet Return preps for Hollywood Derby

Sweet Return, a winner of a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar and the runner-up in the Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita last month, is among the candidates for the Hollywood Derby.

The distance for the derby has been extended by a furlong to 1 1/4 miles this year.

Sweet Return worked seven furlongs on turf Thursday in 1:32.40 under Julie Krone, who will have the mount in the derby, according to trainer Ron McAnally. McAnally is concerned about Sweet Return handling the Hollywood Derby distance. In the Oak Tree Derby, over 1 1/8 miles on turf, Sweet Return rallied through the stretch under Gary Stevens to finish a nose behind Devious Boy.

"I've told Julie she will have to finesse him," McAnally said. "Last time out, Gary had him back without fighting him and he only got beat a nose."

Powell's first starter set for Turf Cup

Trainer Leonard Powell is starting his career at the top this weekend. When Labirinto runs in Saturday's $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, he will be Powell's first starter.

"It can only get worse from here," he joked earlier this week.

A native of France, Powell, 27, has spent the last two years working in California. He previously worked with stables in France, England, Australia, and Singapore, and also spent three years in college in France.

In the last year, Powell has worked as an assistant to trainer Bill Currin and currently trains two horses. He has also worked as a correspondent for the French racing newspaper Paris-Turf.

Labirinto finished second by a neck in the Grade 3 Carleton Burke Handicap at Santa Anita on Oct. 24. Labirinto won stakes in Spain and Sweden in late summer and two stakes at provincial tracks in France in late spring.

Powell said Labirinto was raced throughout Europe to avoid soft turf.

Rings and Things not ready for Starlet

An easy maiden win by Rings and Things in Wednesday's first race will not necessarily translate into a start in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 21, trainer Patrick Biancone said.

Rings and Things was making her second career start and won by four lengths in the relatively slow time of 1:46.32 over 1 1/16 miles. She stalked the pace to the final turn, took the lead in early stretch, and won without significant urging by jockey Mike Smith. "She's extremely green," Biancone said. "She's a real stayer."

Biancone is more interested in having Rings and Things ready for the top 3-year-old filly stakes of the winter and spring, such as the Kentucky Oaks. He has not ruled out the Starlet.

Quero Quero back after five months

Quero Quero, the upset winner of the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 7, will make her first start in more than five months in Sunday's $70,000 Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Trainer Paulo Lobo had hoped to start Quero Quero in the $750,000 American Oaks in July, but an ankle injury forced the filly to the sidelines.

The Kenis Stakes is the top race at Hollywood Park Sunday.