05/13/2003 12:00AM

The Tin Man, turf course don't mesh


ARCADIA, Calif. - The Tin Man will not race at Hollywood Park again anytime soon. Favored at 9-5 in the $400,000 Jim Murray Handicap last Saturday, The Tin Man finished seventh and came out of the race with a bruise in his heel.

"I'm not knocking the course, but last year we ran him there a couple times and he may not have cared for it," trainer Richard Mandella said. "Even when he won the American [last July], Mike [Smith] said he didn't feel like himself."

Mandella said The Tin Man's bruise was "not a big deal, he was just a little tender."

While the next start for The Tin Man is undetermined, the Mandella-trained Redattore is gearing toward the Shoemaker Mile on May 26. He worked a mile in 1:39.80 on Monday. Mandella trainees Pleasantly Perfect and Kudos are scheduled for the Grade 2 Californian on June 14, while Palmorola is expected to point for the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap July 13. She finished last in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs with an excuse - she was in heat.

"I've had mares run good that way, but the day before the race she had a look in her eye I've never seen," Mandella said. "I think she thought she was in Kentucky to find a boyfriend."

Offer to buy Buddy Gil rejected

A pending sale of Santa Anita Derby winner Buddy Gil is off, and the gelding is expected to race for his current owners when he returns this fall during the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita. Buddy Gil is in Kentucky recovering from arthroscopic surgery for removal of an ankle chip and a bone spur on his knee.

"We had a substantial offer from a prominent owner that we declined," part-owner Scott Guenther said. "We're having too much fun."

After being transferred to trainer Jeff Mullins, Buddy Gil won three graded stakes during the winter meet at Santa Anita, then finished a troubled sixth in the Kentucky Derby. Buddy Gil races for a partnership that includes Guenther, Charlie Johnson, Donnie McFadden, Tom Schriber, and Roger Seversen.

Men's Exclusive may be retired

Men's Exclusive faces an uncertain future after bleeding from the lungs and finishing last in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap on Saturday. Men's Exclusive was trying to become the first 10-year-old to win a Hollywood Park stakes, but failed to reach contention. Trainer Wesley Ward said the gelding's bleeding was severe - "5 out of 5" - and that he would meet this week with owner Gene Reed to determine the gelding's future. Ward did not rule out retirement.

"I don't know what triggered the bleeding; he's only done that one time before, at Saratoga," Ward said. "So we need to get his lungs healed up. Physically, his legs look great."

Men's Exclusive has won 11 races and more than $1.4 million from 45 starts.

Kona Gold back in training

Another veteran sprinter, 9-year-old Kona Gold, took his first serious step on the comeback trail by working three furlongs Tuesday at Santa Anita. Trainer Bruce Headley's daughter, Karen, worked Kona Gold at 8 a.m., getting three furlongs in 36.20 seconds.

After a third-place finish behind Bluesthestandard on March 29 in the Portero Grande Handicap, Kona Gold was given a one-month freshening at Headley's home in Arcadia before returning to the track. His Tuesday work was his first work back.

Kona Gold, 14 for 29 lifetime, is aiming for the Grade 2 Bing Crosby Handicap - a race he has won twice - on July 26 at Del Mar.

Sunday Break will return to turf

It is back to grass for Sunday Break, fourth-place finisher in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap last Saturday. Sunday Break made a threatening move passing the quarter pole before flattening out.

Jockey Gary Stevens told trainer Neil Drysdale that Sunday Break was not handling the dirt well, "so we will probably go back to grass with him," Drysdale said.

Sunday Break finished third his only previous turf start, April 6 in the Arcadia Handicap. As for dazzling Jim Murray winner Storming Home, Drysdale said he came out of the race in good order. Drysdale is looking at the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap on June 14 for Storming Home's next race.

Drysdale's 3-year-old turf filly Major Idea will have a new rider when she starts Saturday in the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes. Victor Espinoza has ridden Major Idea in eight of her nine starts, including two stakes wins, but Espinoza will ride lightly raced Makeup Artist on Saturday. Corey Nakatani has picked up the mount on Major Idea.

Makeup Artist, trained by John Shirreffs, finished second April 13 in the Providencia Stakes, won by Star Vega.

Little Malvern will make her U.S. debut in the Senorita under jockey Mike Smith. Others expected for the Senorita include Bartok's Blithe, Rutters Renegade, and Shapes and Shadows.