08/17/2002 12:00AM

Veteran Grey Memo tries something new


DEL MAR, Calif. - In 37 starts, Grey Memo has won six stakes and more than $1.3 million. It would seem by now that he has tried everything racing could offer.

Just this year, the 5-year-old Grey Memo has won major races in Dubai - the $1 million Godolphin Mile on March 23 - and Southern California - the $250,000 San Diego Handicap on Aug. 4.

With those credentials, Grey Memo should qualify as a leading contender for the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Sunday, but instead he will be a longshot.

One reason for that is because Grey Memo has never raced at

1 1/4 miles.

Grey Memo won over 1 1/8 miles in the 2000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-breds at Hollywood Park, and is a confirmed closer. But trainer Warren Stute still is only guessing what to expect on Sunday.

"It's hard to tell," Stute said.

Some of Stute's doubt centers around the opponents Grey Memo will face. The Pacific Classic is expected to draw a large field, including top 3-year-olds War Emblem and Came Home and leading older horses Milwaukee Brew and Sky Jack.

"It will be a tough race," Stute said.

On Saturday, Grey Memo worked a mile in 1:43.20.

"It was an easy mile," Stute said. "He went pretty easy, and that's good."

Race set-up should help Grey Memo in the Pacific Classic. With Sky Jack and War Emblem in the field, there should be an honest pace, which would help closers such as Grey Memo, who will be ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye.

In the San Diego, over 1 1/16 miles, Grey Memo chased a realistic pace and made up 10 lengths in the final quarter-mile to win by three lengths.

As of Saturday, a field of 11 was likely for the Pacific Classic, the richest race of this meeting. The other probables include Arbiter, Bonus Pack, Momentum, Oh Take, Pleasantly Perfect, and Speedy Pick.

Sick juveniles out of Best Pal

A rash of illnesses among 2-year-olds may limit the field for Wednesday's $150,000 Best Pal Stakes, the first of four graded stakes this week.

Trainers at Del Mar have reported some 2-year-olds have runny noses and are not in serious training.

Trainer Bob Baffert said maiden winner Friendly Mike is out of training, but he has six other 2-year-olds nominated for the Best Pal, run over 6 1/2 furlongs. On Saturday, Baffert listed Bull Market, Icecoldbeeratreds, and Vindication as probable for the Best Pal, but said that Chief Planner and Martinblestme are doubtful. Icecoldbeeratreds won the Graduation Stakes for California-breds here on July 31.

Saturday's program features the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks over 1 1/8 miles on turf. Sunday's undercard includes the $150,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap, a sprint for fillies and mares.

Baffert, Eddie D. team up

Baffert and Delahoussaye each had two winners on Friday, and they combined to win an $83,020 allowance race with the 5-year-old Stormy Jack.

Later, Delahoussaye won the restricted Relaunch Stakes on Dell Place ($30.60) for trainer Tom Proctor. Baffert's first winner of the day came with Servaline, who won a maiden race for 2-year-old California-breds under jockey Mike Smith.

"I got two great rides in a row - Smith and Eddie D," Baffert said.

Servaline ($21.80) was purchased for $2 million at the 2001 Keeneland July yearling sale by Brushwood Stable. A California-bred by Storm Cat, Servaline was making her third start on Friday.

Stormy Jack won his fifth race at Del Mar in six starts here in the allowance race. Fifth at the quarter pole, Stormy Jack rallied between horses to win by a head over Radiata, finishing six furlongs in 1:09.48.

"He looked like he had no shot," Baffert said.

Dell Place may step up

Relaunch winner Dell Place will be considered for the $300,000 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 8, according to Hap Proctor, trainer Tom Proctor's brother.

In the Relaunch, Delahoussaye waited to the quarter pole before asking Dell Place, who accelerated through the stretch to win by three lengths over Ridley.

Dell Place finished a mile on turf in 1:35.57. Owned by Glen Hill Farm, Dell Place has won 3 of 8 starts.

Hollywood renovates turf

Hollywood Park has renovated its turf course, resodding the one-mile course and adjusting the base to improve draining.

The project began at the conclusion of the spring-summer meeting on July 21 and was finished two weeks sooner than a similar project undertaken in the 1990's.

The course was resodded with Bermuda grass. The base was aerated and sand was added to improve drainage. The inside of the course was resodded in 1995, and the other portion of the course in 1996.