11/22/2005 1:00AM

Will Private World race or rest?


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Last weekend's Hollywood Prevue and Moccasin stakes were prep races for next month's big Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds at Hollywood Park, the Futurity and the Starlet. Your Tent or Mine, who won the Prevue, is on target for the Futurity, but Moccasin winner Private World's status for the Starlet is a little more questionable, at least at this early stage.

Bob Hess Jr., who trains the unbeaten Private World, very much wants to bring his filly back in the Starlet on Dec. 18. But he acknowledged that Private World's hard-fought victory last Sunday in the Moccasin was the most taxing of her three races, and wants to watch her closely over the next few weeks to see how she rebounds.

"She had a pretty good foundation going into that race, so I'm inclined to come back in the Starlet, then give her a breather, but I want to keep an open mind," Hess said. "I don't want to force the situation. She did have to run pretty hard. That was probably her toughest race, though she did eat well Sunday night."

Private World held off True Xena despite taking a solid bump from that rival just before the wire.

"She is tough," Hess said. "Her hole card is her heart. We will try to come back in the Starlet, but she will be our ultimate guide."

Your Tent or Mine is now 2 for 2 following his victory in last Saturday's Prevue. As he did in his debut, Your Tent or Mine showed a great deal of maturity, sitting behind horses, then splitting rivals.

"For a horse making his second start, I thought he showed a high level of professionalism," said his trainer, Neil Drysdale. "He relaxes well. So far, so good."

Your Tent or Mine was purchased as a 2-year-old in training earlier this year by bloodstock agent Shawn Dugan, Drysdale's wife, on behalf of owner Anthony Speelman.

"He was bought with the intention of being a 3-year-old," Drysdale said. "He has got good length and a lot of quality. He's built like a middle-distance horse, not a sprinter."

Other candidates for the Futurity and Starlet should emerge from this weekend's stakes, the Real Quiet on Saturday and the Sharp Cat on Sunday. Both are at 1 1/16 miles.

San Rafael next on Stevie Wonderboy's agenda

Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Stevie Wonderboy is being pointed for the $150,000 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 14, the first of three races that trainer Doug O'Neill is considering before an intended run at the Kentucky Derby.

The San Rafael Stakes over a mile will be Stevie Wonderboy's first start since a victory in the BC Juvenile at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.

"The spacing is perfect," O'Neill said.

O'Neill is planning on starting Stevie Wonderboy in the $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 4 and the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby over 1 1/8 miles on April 8.

Stevie Wonderboy is currently galloping and jogging at Hollywood Park and will have his first workout since the BC Juvenile in early December, O'Neill said.

"He's galloping a mile and a half and then jogging the next day two miles," he said. "With this game plan, his first official work will be the first week of December."

O'Neill said he wanted a race at seven-eighths of a mile in January but there are no such stakes at Santa Anita during that month. Allowance races for 3-year-olds are a rarity at that time of year.

The $150,000 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs on Feb. 12 is later in the meeting than O'Neill would prefer. "You can't get everything you want," O'Neill said.

Owned by Merv Griffin, Stevie Wonderboy has won 3 of 5 starts and $1,028,940.

Roundup on the riders

Corey Nakatani, who checked in at 124 pounds one day last week, took off his mounts again on Sunday. He will be gone this week to ride in Japan.

Nakatani's reported weight the past week has been well above the weight at which he was announced in recent years.

Jockey weight has been a hot topic here lately. Several weeks ago, responding to a weight contretemps at New York Racing Association tracks, California Horse Racing Board member Richard Shapiro advocated having jockeys weigh out publicly before a race. There also has been more scrutiny of local clerks of scale.

Patrick Valenzuela took off his final two mounts on Sunday after injuring his shoulder while pulling up Maximum Heat in the seventh race.

Rene Douglas missed Sunday's card, citing the flu.

Alex Solis is riding in Saudi Arabia on Friday, will be at Aqueduct Saturday, and back at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

Octavio Vergara has also gone to Saudi Arabia, but will remain there for several months under contract.

Freddy Fong Jr. has had his apprentice allowance extended by Hollywood Park's stewards because of an injury during Del Mar. He will get the apprentice weight break through Dec. 12.

Atkinson experiences winning feeling

A win in an otherwise mundane maiden claimer was the highlight of jockey Paul Atkinson's weekend.

Atkinson won Saturday's sixth race aboard Knight's Copy ($3.40) for trainer Jeff Mullins. For Atkinson, the race marked his first victory since he was involved in a frightening spill in the California Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Oct. 6.

In the stretch of that race, Atkinson was unseated from his mount. Atkinson was hospitalized after that race but was not seriously injured.

"I feel fortunate that nothing was broken," he said. "I only missed a week and a half."

A 20-year veteran, Atkinson, 36, has won 16 races this year. He does not ride many races, but is popular as a workout rider in the mornings.

In recent weeks, Atkinson has kept a close eye on the management changes that have occurred in the Jockeys' Guild. The guild's board of directors voted to fire former chief executive Wayne Gertmenian last week. Atkinson is not a member of that board but has made his voice heard on matters involving riders. He spoke before the California Horse Racing Board earlier this year.

"I'm more behind the scenes," he said. "I'm not on the board of directors or the senate, but I try to do my part. I care a lot about the guild. I owe it to the younger jockeys to do my part."

Watch Over Me to bask in Sunshine

Watch Over Me, who returned from a 51-week layoff to win an allowance race on Sunday, will be pointed to the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28, according to trainer Mike Machowsky.

In the interim, though, Watch Over Me might come back in Hollywood Park's Grade 3, $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes on Dec. 3. The Underwood and the Sunshine Millions Sprint are at six furlongs, the same distance at which he won on Sunday.

"That would be back awful quick, but he likes this track," Machowsky said of running Watch Over Me in the Underwood. "Then he would have plenty of time until the Sunshine Millions."

* Hollywood Park will not have live racing on Wednesdays the rest of the meet, but will be open those days for simulcast wagering. Regular admission prices still apply.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen