05/23/2002 11:00PM

Ward makes rare trip out West


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The last time trainer John Ward had a starter in California, Beautiful Pleasure finished 10th in the 1997 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Hollywood Park.

Two years later, Beautiful Pleasure earned an Eclipse Award as outstanding older filly or mare following a campaign that included a win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Gulfstream Park.

"She had a chance to redeem herself," Ward said.

This weekend, Ward returns to Hollywood Park with Snow Dance, who will start for owner John Oxley in Monday's $500,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Oxley owned Beautiful Pleasure and Monarchos, whom Ward trained to win the 2001 Kentucky Derby.

The two men are hoping that Snow Dance will continue that success against a world-class field in the Grade 1 Gamely.

The 4-year-old Snow Dance faces Grade 1 winners Astra and Starine and four other stakes winners - Crazy Ensign, Old Money, Verruma, and Voodoo Dancer.

Snow Dance is expected to set the pace in the Gamely, which is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

On April 11 at Keeneland, Snow Dance was second by a head under Pat Day in the Grade 3 Jenny Wiley Stakes. Craig Perret rides in the Gamely.

"She doesn't have to be in front, but I think as far as being in California goes, it will be advantageous for her," Ward said. "When Pat rode her, he got her to relax near the lead. With Craig, she's been a little closer. She just goes along and does her job well."

In the last year, Snow Dance has won stakes at Saratoga, Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, and Gulfstream Park. In addition, she was third in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland last October, her only start in a Grade 1.

Ward said opportunities are scarce for top-class turf fillies in the Midwest.

"Everything was a Grade 3 and we were giving away so much weight," Ward said. "We had to bite the bullet. It's time to test her in a Grade 1 stakes. We're looking at the Diana at Saratoga and I thought this was good timing."

Should Snow Dance run well, Ward is considering more trips to California.

"As far as we're concerned, this could lead to other things," Ward said. "We'll see if we want to do more in the future."

Redattore late switch to Shoemaker

Redattore, the winner of the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita in February, joined the field for Monday's $500,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile after a flight scheduled to take him to New York for Monday's Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park was cancelled due to mechanical problems on Thursday.

"He spent three hours at the airport before the flight got cancelled for mechanical reasons," trainer Richard Mandella said. "I don't know if I want to put him through that again since the Shoemaker is here.

"I wanted to run there," he said of the Met Mile. "It's $750,000. This race is $500,000. But if the plane cancelled again, or if it made too many stops, it might add up to too much."

Mandella has two of the 10 entrants in the Shoemaker, which is run on turf and annually offers tips on who to follow in the build-up to the Breeders' Cup Mile. He also starts The Tin Man, who finished third in the four-runner San Francisco Mile Handicap at Bay Meadows on April 27.

"I think he's this good, but I don't put out any guarantees," Mandella wisecracked. "My thinking doesn't come with a back-up. It's free."

Innit returns in allowance

Innit, who won the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap last summer, makes her 4-year-old debut in a $62,000 allowance race on Sunday. Trained by Ron McAnally, Innit has not started since finishing seventh in the Del Mar Oaks last August.

The field of five fillies and mares includes Terna, a Group 1 winner from Argentina who makes her U.S. debut for owner Gary Tanaka and trainer Pico Perdomo.