04/26/2007 11:00PM

Top Cal-breds absent from Gold Rush


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The 10-race California Gold Rush program at Hollywood Park on Sunday will be without several leading members of the current California-bred class.

Stakes winners such as Bordonaro, Lava Man, McCann's Mojave, Mystical Plan, River's Prayer, and Shaggy Mane are being pointed for graded stakes in California and Kentucky, while Notional, Phar to Win, and Proud Tower Too are recovering from injury.

All of them would have fit well in various stakes on the Gold Rush program.

Then there is Thor's Echo, the 2006 champion sprinter, who could return to California in coming weeks after spending the winter and spring in Dubai.

By top California sire Swiss Yodeler, Thor's Echo won the 2006 Breeders' Cup Sprint for trainer Doug O'Neill and owners Pablo Suarez and Royce Jaime. Thor's Echo was sold to Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Maktoum in January and sent overseas. O'Neill said earlier this week that intermediaries have contacted him about training Thor's Echo.

O'Neill trains Mystical Plan for Paul Reddam. The winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks earlier this year, Mystical Plan will start in Friday's Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. She would have been a heavy favorite in Sunday's Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Reddam admits it will be tough to beat Rags to Riches in the Kentucky Oaks.

"On paper, Rags to Riches is the standout," he said "On Oaks Day, just like on Derby Day, strange things happen."

Two California-breds have won seven-figure races this year - Lava Man and McCann's Mojave. They would have been heavy favorites Sunday. Last year, Lava Man won the Khaled Stakes on Gold Rush Day.

Earlier this year, Lava Man won the Sunshine Millions Turf and Santa Anita Handicap but was last in the Dubai Duty Free in the Middle East in March. He resumed jogging at Hollywood Park earlier this week, but no races have been planned, O'Neill said.

McCann's Mojave, the upset winner of the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulftstream Park in January, is being considered for races at Hollywood Park and Golden Gate Fields, owner Mike Willman said.

McCann's Mojave finished fifth in the Oaklawn Handicap on April 7.

Sunday's B. Thoughtful Stakes for filly and mare sprinters would have been more competitive with River's Prayer, the winner of the Las Cienegas Handicap at Santa Anita this month, or Shaggy Mane, who won the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint in January.

River's Prayer is back in training but is not being pointed for a specific race, trainer Paula Capestro said.

Shaggy Mane will start in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Her long-range goal is the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in October, trainer Don Chatlos said.

"We're thinking Breeders' Cup and we'll have to pick some Breeders' Cup-type races" to try, he said. "If we pick them early in the year and she's not that good, we could pick up some Cal-bred races later this year."

Bordonaro may not have fit as well as some of the others on Gold Rush day. The Gold Rush sprint race for males, the Tiznow Stakes over 7 1/2 furlongs, may be beyond Bordonaro's best distance. Consequently, Bordonaro may start in the six-furlong Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 12. Bordonaro is based at Hollywood Park for the first time in his career this spring.

"He's been going really well here," trainer Bill Spawr said.

The trio of injured horses are expected to make comebacks.

Phar to Win was being pointed for the Khaled Stakes until he was diagnosed with a strained suspensory earlier this week. He won the California Cup Starter Handicap last October.

"He'll need some time off," trainer Ray Bell said. "Fortunately, we caught it very early."

Notional, the winner of two stakes earlier this year, was a Kentucky Derby hopeful until he suffered a condylar fracture of a cannon bone earlier this month.

"It should be a 100 percent recovery," Reddam said. "We are hopeful he will be back in the late fall."

Proud Tower Too, the winner of the 2006 Golden Shaheen, is recovering from a tendon injury.

Corazondelcampeon pulls upset

Corazondelcampeon pulled a front-running upset in an allowance race over 6 1/2 furlongs Thursday, holding off a sustained challenge from Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004.

Corazondelcampeon ($34.60) was timed in 1:16.04, and won by 2 1/2 lengths. Declan's Moon was second throughout but could not close ground in the stretch. The allowance race was Declan's Moon's first start since a fifth-place finish in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields in January.

"He tried today," trainer Ron Ellis said of Declan's Moon. "The other horse got loose. I was proud that he didn't give up."

Corazondelcampeon may start in the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap on July 7, owner Scott Merrell said. Thursday's race was Corazondelcampeon's first start for trainer Julio Canani. He was previously trained by David La Croix.

* Hollywood Park will have an eight-race program Tuesday, which means six days of racing next week. The Friday program is the only one of the spring-summer meeting to be run in the afternoon.