01/14/2003 1:00AM

Workout hints Adoration ready to give big effort


ARCADIA, Calif. - Adoration is due for some luck Sunday in the Grade 2 El Encino Stakes for 4-year-old fillies. Winner of the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks last summer, Adoration's form tailed off in fall and she was stopped cold trying to rally in a Dec. 31 turf sprint comeback in which she finished ninth. Sunday, Adoration stretches out to two turns and returns to dirt. If her Tuesday morning team work was an accurate gauge, Adoration will be a major contender in the 1 1/16-mile El Encino.

Pat Valenzuela worked Adoration at 6:30 a.m. for trainer David Hofmans. Adoration broke three lengths behind her workmate, engaged the workmate at the three-sixteenths, then edged clear to get five furlongs in 59.60 seconds. "She needs to be ridden patiently, and I wanted Pat to see that," Hofmans said. "That's why I had him work her behind another horse. It was a good work."

Adoration, 3 for 10 with earnings of $283,106, faces an El Encino field expected to include La Brea stakes winner Got Koko, Bare Necessities, Bella Bellucci, Glia, Ile De France, and Ms. Louisett.

Hofmans may shoot high with maiden winner

Hofmans is considering bumping Nation Wide News up in class for the Grade 3 Santa Catalina Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday. Nation Wide News would be stretching out to two turns after a dead-heat sprint win Dec. 26 against maidens that earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 84. Nation Wide News drilled six furlongs Monday in 1:11, almost two seconds faster than the next-fastest work (1:12.80).

"He's a big, strong, aggressive horse," Hofmans explained, adding "there's no other race available for him at the moment and this race looks like it's coming up light."

The Santa Catalina is the meet's first two-turn dirt stakes for 3-year-olds, and is expected to include 2-for-2 Scrimshaw, Hollywood Futurity third-place finisher Domestic Dispute, and Our Bobby V, who has won his last two starts by five or more lengths. According to trainer Bill Spawr, Our Bobby V worked a half-mile Tuesday in 45.60. Clockers credited him with five furlongs in 57.40.

Our Bobby V earned Beyer Speed Figures of 95 and 93 in his last two starts, winning both sprints on the lead. His running style and built-like-a-sprinter appearance suggest two turns is a major hurdle. Spawr is aware of the challenge, but said: "He's bred to run that far, he acts like he'll run that far, and he has the temperament to run that far." Others possible for the Santa Catalina are D's Bertrando, Granny's Car, Robledo, and Storm Gulch.

Elloluv shortens up for Santa Ynez

Hollywood Starlet winner Elloluv makes her 3-year-old debut Monday in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes at seven furlongs.

"Her schedule has been mapped out," trainer Craig Dollase explained regarding the decision to shorten Elloluv to a sprint. "She's coming into this race really well, this is kind of a starting point."

Elloluv will have a final breeze Friday. Another filly shortening to one turn in the Santa Ynez is Watching You, distant fourth behind Elloluv in the Starlet.

"She had a bad start, and it screwed her up," trainer Warren Stute said, adding "it wasn't really a fair test for her. I'm kind of throwing that race out."

Watching You worked five furlongs Tuesday in 59 seconds. The Santa Ynez field is also expected to include No Love Song and Puxa Saco.

Above Perfection's future uncertain

Graded stakes winner Above Perfection faces an uncertain future after bleeding and finishing last as the 4-5 favorite in a Cal-bred stakes Jan. 3. Trainer Mike Smith did not elaborate on plans for the 5-year-old Above Perfection, who won 7 of 9 for trainer Darrell Vienna before being purchased at auction for $610,000.

"One of the reasons [Classic Star Stable] bought her was for a broodmare, and the only thing that would make her more valuable now would be a Grade 1," Smith said.

Above Perfection is not expected to run in the Grade 1, seven-furlong Santa Monica on Jan. 25.

* Trainer Warren Stute said no rider has been named for Grey Memo, a top contender for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park. Grey Memo would have been ridden by Gary Stevens, but the jockey remains tied up filming "Seabiscuit."

* David Hofmans has taken over training of six Golden Eagle Farm horses, including Nationwide News and two other winners previously trained by Bob Baffert and Bill Spawr. Nationwide News debuted for Baffert in May, was sidelined, and joined Hofmans for his fall-winter campaign. Wild and Wise won the 2001 Sham Stakes for Baffert, then went 1 of 2 last winter for Spawr. Heavenly Search, who won 3 of 4 for Spawr, is now trained by Hofmans.

* Ministers Wild Cat is the latest hype horse to join the list of promising 3-year-olds. He earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure winning a maiden race by 7 1/2 lengths last Saturday.