02/10/2006 1:00AM

Too Much Bling takes on new faces


ARCADIA, Calif. - Too Much Bling, the flashy winner of the San Miguel Stakes last month, will be tested when he tries for his second stakes win in Sunday's $150,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita.

Most of Too Much Bling's rivals from the six-furlong San Miguel are not starting in the seven-furlong San Vicente and have been replaced by a new group of challengers.

The newcomers include Changing Weather, the runner-up in the Sunshine Millions Dash on Jan. 28; Totally Gone, who beat maidens in his debut on Dec. 31; and Sinister Minister, who was recently acquired by a partnership and turned over to trainer Bob Baffert.

Baffert, who trains , could have the winning exacta in the Grade 2 race for 3-year-olds.

Baffert on Friday praised Sinister Minister, who was purchased after winning a $62,500 claiming race for maidens on Jan. 20. "He'll get a quality check," Baffert said. "The way he runs, he fits."

will be part of the pace along with Bound to Be MVP, who was third in the San Miguel, and Totally Gone. Too Much Bling is a stalker who could get an ideal trip.

Too Much Bling has won 2 of 6 starts. He won his maiden by 19 1/2 lengths at Thistledown last July before being transferred to Baffert.

After losing three consecutive stakes, beginning with a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga last August, Too Much Bling won his Southern California debut in the San Miguel.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, he broke from the outside in a field of 11. After running in fifth on the backstretch, Too Much Blink quickly jumped into the race, Gomez said.

"I moved on him just before we came off the turn, and he went from five off the lead to three in front," Gomez said. "He showed me a nice turn of foot, so that was encouraging."

Too Much Bling won the San Miguel by four lengths.

If Too Much Bling repeats that rally, he must hold off . Second in the Grade 2 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park last September, Changing Weather is searching for his first stakes win. But his trainer, Eoin Harty, fears Too Much Bling.

"I think Too Much Bling is a good horse," he said. "I'm coming back in two weeks, which I hate to do, but we'll take a look. I'm entering to run right now."