04/08/2004 12:00AM

Vienna appeals rejection of DQ claim

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Darrell Vienna has launched an appeal of the stewards' actions in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park last Saturday, arguing that the stewards were in error when they did not disqualify runner-up Wild Spirit for causing interference to the Vienna-trained Star Parade, who finished third.

A date for the appeal hearing has not been set, according to Bob Cohee, the manager of the Arkansas Racing Commission.

Vienna's case does not involve race winner Azeri, but focuses on a bumping incident that occurred between Wild Spirit and Star Parade in early stretch.

Turning for home, Wild Spirit drifted out and significantly bumped Star Parade. The two were essentially fighting for second at the time, since Azeri led by 2 1/2 lengths.

Azeri won the Apple Blossom by 1 1/2 lengths over Wild Spirit, who finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Star Parade. The stewards at Oaklawn Park conducted an inquiry, but did not change the order of finish.

"I haven't seen any basis for their decision," Vienna said.

Jockey John McKee, who rode Star Parade, filed an objection against Wild Spirit, who was ridden by Jerry Bailey. The stewards disallowed the objection.

If the commission rules in the favor of Vienna and Gary Tanaka, who owns Star Parade, the order of finish would be reversed. At stake is the $50,000 difference between second and third.

Cohee said the commission could hear the case in Little Rock, Ark., later this month. He said it is customary for commissioners to issue a decision at the end of a hearing, either upholding the stewards' decision or making a change.

Star Parade, 5, won the Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park last fall and the Santa Maria Handicap at Santa Anita in February. The Apple Blossom Handicap was her second consecutive loss, preceded by a runner-up finish to Adoration in the Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita on March 14.

"She's none worse for the wear," Vienna said.

Vienna said Star Parade will be pointed for the $250,000 Vanity Handicap over 1 1/8 miles at Hollywood Park on May 9.

The Vanity is expected to draw Adoration, who won the Breeders' Cup Distaff last fall.

Thursday at Hollywood Park, Adoration worked five furlongs in 1:00.80.

One mare who is not expected to start in the Vanity is Bare Necessities, who finished second to Star Parade in the Santa Maria Handicap.

Bare Necessities will make her next start in the $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne on April 24, a race she won last year. Trained by Wally Dollase, Bare Necessities worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 on Thursday at Hollywood Park.

St Averil, Rock Hard Ten hit Derby bumps

The Kentucky Derby participation of St Averil and Rock Hard Ten is uncertain.

St Averil, who finished sixth as the favorite in the Santa Anita Derby last Saturday, was scheduled to undergo precautionary X-rays on Thursday. Trainer Rafael Becerra said he was concerned about the condition of St Averil's feet.

"We have the chance to do it, and I want to be on the safe side," Becerra said. "I think he'll be okay."

St Averil won the Santa Catalina Stakes in January and was second to Preachinatthebar in the San Felipe Stakes last month.

Trainer Jason Orman is resigned to missing the Kentucky Derby with Rock Hard Ten because of Rock Hard Ten's lack of graded stakes earnings, the tiebreaker used to determine the 20-horse field.

Rock Hard Ten has $90,000 in graded stakes earnings, which currently leaves him out of the top 20. Rock Hard Ten finished second in the Santa Anita Derby, but was disqualified and placed third for causing interference in the stretch. The disqualification cost Rock Hard Ten a vital $60,000 in purse earnings.

Thursday, Orman said Rock Hard Ten would wait for the Preakness Stakes on May 15 if he does not gain a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

"If it looks bad, we'd wait for the Preakness," he said.

Rock Hard Ten was making just his third career start in the Santa Anita Derby, having previously won a maiden race and an allowance race at Santa Anita.

"For the long run, it might be better not to run in the Kentucky Derby," he said. "That race takes a lot out of horses. But it's so wide-open, I think he would have a chance."

Rock Hard Ten was scheduled to leave for Kentucky on Friday.

Echo Eddie may start in Aegon Turf Sprint

Echo Eddie, a winner of 10 of 29 starts and $1,044,354, may make his 2004 debut in the $100,000 Aegon Turf Sprint over five furlongs at Churchill Downs on April 30, Vienna said.

Echo Eddie has not started since finishing second in the Big Jag Handicap at Bay Meadows last September. Owned by David Milch, Echo Eddie, 7, finished second in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint in Dubai in 2002.

Thursday, Echo Eddie worked six furlongs in 1:12, the fastest of 11 recorded works at the distance.

Top riders gone Derby prepping

The presence of major Kentucky Derby preps throughout the nation Saturday has led five of the 10 leading jockeys at Santa Anita to travel out of town.

Victor Espinoza, who through Wednesday led the standings with 79 wins, will be gone, along with Alex Solis (2nd), Mike Smith (5th), David Flores (7th), and Javier Santiago (8th).

Tyler Baze (3rd), Corey Nakatani (4th), Kent Desormeaux (6th), and Jose Valdivia, Jr., (10th) will ride at Santa Anita on Saturday. Martin Pedroza (9th) is currently injured.