05/08/2008 11:00PM

Two 3-year-olds restart careers

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Through injury and poor performances, Dixie Chatter and Shore Do did not merit an appearance in the Triple Crown races this fall. But that does not mean they cannot play a role in the 3-year-old division this year.

Dixie Chatter, the winner of the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes last October at Santa Anita, is nearing his 3-year-old debut in the $100,000 Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 18.

Shore Do, non-competitive in such major races as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Santa Anita Derby, won an optional claimer on turf on Thursday, a surface that is likely to be commonplace in his future.

Dixie Chatter was diagnosed with an injury to a hind ankle last fall, after undergoing a nuclear scan test. The Grade 3 Laz Barrera Stakes, at seven furlongs, will be his first start since the Norfolk.

"He looks like he's grown up and filled out," trainer Richard Mandella said. "It looks like time has improved him."

Dixie Chatter worked seven furlongs in 1:25.60 under jockey Richard Migliore at Santa Anita on Friday.

"He's ready to go and I expect a big race," Mandella said. "He's training professionally."

Owned by breeder Herman Sarkowsky, Dixie Chatter has won 2 of 4 starts and $191,400. He was entered for the BC Juvenile at Monmouth Park last October, but did not start because of illness.

The two months of training that Dixie Chatter missed during the winter made the Triple Crown impossible.

"We were too far behind," Mandella said.

Mandella hopes to use the Barrera as a prep to the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on June 15 or the $350,000 Swaps Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on July 12. The Swaps Stakes is also a goal for Colonel John, Bob Black Jack, and Gayego - who finished sixth, 16th, and 17th, respectively, in the Kentucky Derby.

The Barrera field is also expected to include Salute the Sarge, the winner of the San Miguel Stakes in March, and Wind's Legacy, an allowance winner at Hollywood Park last fall.

Shore Do's future is on turf

Shore Do has won 2 of 3 starts on turf, but is winless in five starts on dirt and synthetic tracks. While he has run in several major stakes on the main track - finishing third to Dixie Chatter in the Norfolk, eighth in the BC Juvenile, and seventh in the Santa Anita Derby - his future appears to be on turf.

One goal is the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar on July 16.

"Everyone that has a 3-year-old of this caliber, you look at the opening-day stakes at Del Mar," trainer Brian Koriner said of the Oceanside.

Koriner said that the $150,000 Cinema Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-olds on June 21 "is in the back of my mind" for Shore Do.

In Thursday's race, Shore Do closed from seventh in a field of 10 to win by two lengths, covering the mile on turf in 1:35.47. Ridden by Joe Talamo, Shore Do was in traffic at the quarter-pole, but emerged between horses in early stretch to run down Kilderry.

"Talamo said he was loaded all the way around there," Koriner said. "We put blinkers on him and he was a lot more into the race."

Owned by a partnership, Shore Do has earned $99,720. Thursday's race was his first start since a seventh-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby.

Shore Do has had three trainers in his career - Chuck Peery during most of his 2-year-old campaign, Bobby Frankel over the winter, and Koriner since March. While the immediate goals are more modest than his previous stakes attempts, Koriner says the partnership had every right to be ambitious earlier this spring.

"I don't blame them for what they've done," Koriner said. "He was training good and they said, 'Let's take a shot at the Santa Anita Derby.' He's come back and won his first condition, and they're on track to have a nice horse."

Pistol Pete Afleet switches barns

Koriner lost a horse in the optional claimer when Pistol Pete Afleet was claimed away for $80,000 by owner Stephen Campbell and trainer Jorge Periban.

For Periban, 48, the acquisition brings his stable to 34 horses, the largest it has been in his time in the United States. In his native Mexico City in the late 1990s, Periban said he trained 130 horses at a time.

Periban said Pistol Pete Afleet will return in an allowance race.

Sunday, Periban unveils a 3-year-old filly that he considers to be the best horse in his stable - the first-time starter Bea's Cee in the ninth race, a maiden race at six furlongs for statebreds.

Owned by breeder Stephen Young, Bea's Cee, by Cee's Tizzy, has worked remarkably fast at Hollywood Park in recent weeks, including six furlongs from the gate in 1:11.80 on April 24 and six furlongs in 1:09.80 on May 3. Migliore, who was aboard for the April 24 work, has the mount.

"I've never had a horse work like that," Periban said on Friday morning. "Most of the time, my horses work slow and go the last eighth fast. You never know, but I think I have a good filly."

Two 2-year-olds make a splash

The two juvenile races on Thursday produced notable results. In the second race, Cat Dreamer ($11) ran 4 1/2 furlongs in 50.84, setting a track record. Cat Dreamer is part of Tuesday's Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training in Pomona.

In the last race, Azul Leon won his debut in a maiden special weight race at 4 1/2 furlongs. While the time of 51.40 seconds was not as quick as Cat Dreamer's clocking, Azul Leon ran through the stretch in a style suggesting he could play a role in stakes later this summer. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Azul Leon rallied to get the lead in the final stride, catching an unlucky Cut the Check.

"Those are the ones you get excited about," trainer Doug O'Neill said.

By Lion Heart, Azul Leon is owned by breeder Joseph Lacombe. O'Neill said Azul Leon may return in the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship on July 5 and pass the $75,000 Willard Proctor Stakes on May 25.

"He won't run right back," O'Neill said. "We'll take our time."