04/29/2005 12:00AM

Two wins better than none

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Doug O'Neill ended an 0-for-15 drought with two winners Thursday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A day like Thursday arrived about four days too late for trainer Doug O'Neill.

After going 0 for 15 during the first four days of the Hollywood Park meeting, including an 0-for-10 record on last Sunday's $1.3 million California Gold Rush Day, O'Neill broke out of his mini-slump with two winners on Thursday.

The stable won with Smokin' Vigor ($9.80) in the third race and Impressive Flight ($8.60) in the sixth race.

O'Neill could only laugh at his lack of success on Gold Rush Day. The same thing happened at the 2004 spring-summer meeting. O'Neill was winless on that program as part of a 1-for-17 start to the meeting. He finished the meet with 32 wins.

"I had so many people out on Gold Rush Day," he said. "That's the day you want to shine. There were a couple of horses we ran because the purse was there. After Gold Rush, we huddled up and wondered what happened."

Without finding a clear reason for his lack of success, O'Neill wondered if a change in his late morning training schedule was a cause.

Earlier this year at Santa Anita, O'Neill schooled his horses in the paddock on the way back to the stables from the racetrack. At Hollywood Park, horses are not schooled during training hours but are walked over from the barns during late morning.

O'Neill said Thursday's two winners were not schooled in the paddock.

"Maybe I had overschooled," he said. "I didn't school those two horses. Now I'm just going to run. They can save their energy for the race.

"The game will drive you nuts. It's so clear after the fact."

O'Neill had favorites on Gold Rush Day with Thor's Echo, who finished fourth in the Snow Chief Stakes, and Cee's Irish, who was second in the Melair Stakes.

Thor's Echo, who won the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park last month, will be pointed for the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on July 1.

O'Neill wants to give Thor's Echo a campaign similar to what Excessivepleasure had during his 3-year-old season in 2003. Trained by O'Neill, Excessivepleasure won the Iowa and Indiana derbies.

"We would like to mimic that if we can," O'Neill said of Excessivepleasure's schedule. "[Thor's Echo] has got a similar style. He's got speed and stamina, which is a good combination."

Cee's Irish may return in the $175,000 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks over 1 1/16 miles on June 12. She won the WinStar Sunland Park Oaks last month.

"I would love to give her at least a month before she resurfaces," O'Neill said.

Milady an option for Andujar

Andujar will make her stakes debut this summer after thumping four rivals in an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles on Thursday.

Trained by Julio Canani, Andujar stalked pacesetter Ran for the Dough for the first half-mile and pulled away under jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. to win by 10 1/2 lengths in 1:42.17.

The race marked the 4-year-old Andujar's debut on dirt, which will be her new home surface, Canani said.

"That's why they sent her from Europe, to run her on the dirt. I didn't get a chance to run her on dirt at Santa Anita," he said.

The $200,000 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 4 may be on Andujar's calendar. "I've got to give her six weeks because I ran her twice in a month," Canani said.

Microchip ID plan proceeding

The California Horse Racing Board is proceeding with a plan to use microchips implanted in a horse's neck as an additional means of identification.

The board's medication committee is expected to take up the issue in coming weeks and will present a plan to the board in June.

Launching the program is at least several months away.

The microchip would be implanted in a horse's neck with a device that resembles a syringe. The microchips has been described by CHRB equine medical director Dr. Ron Jensen as being "about the size of a grain of rice."

Currently, horses are identified primarily through a lip tattoo but also through markings. The move to a microchip system would offer better security for horses being moved in and out of stable areas.

CHRB executive director Ingrid Fermin said at Thursday's board meeting that she has distributed an 11-point proposal to racetracks and horsemen's organizations on suggested plans for identifying horses that are transported in and out of racetracks.

The plan calls for additional staff, and specified shipping locations and hours.

Pico Central resumes training

Pico Central, who finished fourth in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint in Dubai in March, has resumed light training at Hollywood Park, trainer Paulo Lobo said.

Lobo said Pico Central is tack-walking and should resume more serious exercise soon. He said the main goal for 2005 is the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 1.