04/05/2007 11:00PM

Worldly shows stakes potential


ARCADIA, Calif. - After a few anxious moments in the paddock, Worldly made a successful U.S. debut in Friday's first race at Santa Anita. The victory left trainer Ben Cecil hopeful that the colt can win a turf stakes.

Worldly "froze up" when jockey Victor Espinoza climbed aboard in the paddock, Cecil said. After Espinoza dismounted and then remounted Worldly in a tunnel that leads to the racetrack, the 3-year-old gelding displayed no further erratic behavior.

Worldly ($7.60) ran 1o1/8 miles on turf in 1:49.20, rallying from last of five to outfinish 3-5 favorite Silent Soul in a $55,000 allowance race. The race was Worldly's first start since finishing ninth in a handicap at Newmarket, England, last September. He bled badly in that race, according to Cecil. The trainer said he feels the bleeding incident affected Worldly in the paddock before Friday's race.

"He's quite a nervous horse," Cecil said. "But he bled the last time he was at the races."

Owned by Christopher Wright, Worldly will be considered for two turf stakes at Hollywood Park this spring - the $100,000 Will Rogers Stakes over a mile on May 19 or the $150,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/8 miles.

"He's got a lot of ability, there's no doubt," Cecil said. "I think there is a lot of improvement to come."

Conveyor's Angel retired

Grade 2 turf winner Conveyor's Angel fractured a knee March 25 in the Santa Ana Handicap here and has been retired, trainer Chris Paasch said Friday. A 5-year-old mare by Conveyor, Conveyor's Angel won 5 races and $337,858 from 25 starts and emerged this winter as one of the leading turf mares in California. She won an overnight stakes Jan. 24 but was disqualified, scored a 22-1 upset in the Grade 2 Buena Vista on Feb. 19, then finished second to Citronnade in her last start.

Paasch said that Conveyor's Angel, owned by Charles Cono, is booked to Stormy Atlantic and will be sold this fall at Keeneland. Cono plans to disperse his bloodstock holdings and concentrate on racing stock.

Tiz Elemental earns shot at Melair

Tiz Elemental is bound for the $200,000 Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 29 after scoring her first victory against winners in a six-furlong optional claimer at Santa Anita on Thursday.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Tiz Elemental stalked a quick pace, moved to the front in early stretch and drew off to win by 6 3/4 lengths, finishing in 1:09.39. She earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

"That was a freaky performance," trainer Carla Gaines said.

Owned by breeder Warren Williamson, Tiz Elemental has won 2 of 4 starts and $117,680. A California-bred 3-year-old filly, Tiz Elemental finished second by a nose in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks over six furlongs on Jan. 27, but was only sixth in the China Doll Stakes over a mile on turf on March 3.

"I'm not sure what happened in the China Doll," Gaines said.

The Melair Stakes is run over 1o1/16 miles on a synthetic surface. It is part of the California Gold Rush program for statebreds. The race will be Tiz Elemental's first start at the distance.

"I'm definitely going to try that," Gaines said. "That's how high I am on her. She should be able to run further."

Espinoza was second in the jockey standings through Thursday with 71 wins, 10 behind Garrett Gomez. In the next few weeks, Gomez is riding primarily at Keeneland, but he will ride at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Espinoza will ride mainly at Santa Anita until the meeting ends on April 22, but will travel out of town for stakes races over the next two Saturdays.

De Seroux's successor scores

Trainer Jeff Ford saddled his first winner with his first starter on Thursday when World Asunder won an allowance race on the hillside turf course.

Ford, 38, took over trainer Laura de Seroux's stable at San Luis Rey Downs in San Diego County in late March after de Seroux announced her retirement.

World Asunder was also de Seroux's final winner in Southern California when he won a maiden race last month.

Ford admitted to feeling a little pressure with the heavily favored World Asunder.

"We were 4-5," he said. "It was great to win with this horse."

Ford said he has 16 horses in training and spent the last few weeks organizing the barn.

"We're getting the help situated," he said. "Now, hopefully we can do some groundwork and get some horses in the barn."

Great Hunter breezes for Blue Grass

Great Hunter, a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby, worked six furlongs in 1:14.20 at Hollywood Park on Friday, preparing for his second start of 2007 in the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland next Saturday.

The winner of the Robert Lewis Stakes on March 3 in his first start since a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November, Great Hunter's workout time equaled the sixth-fastest of 14 recorded times at the distance.

Trainer Doug O'Neill said Great Hunter ran the first furlong in 12.80 seconds.

"He gradually picked it up from there," O'Neill said. "He finished fantastic."

Easy breeze for Bordonaro

Bordonaro, the winner of the Grade 1 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Stakes last fall, breezed a half-mile in 50.60 seconds at Santa Anita on Friday and will make his next start in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park next Friday.

Bordonaro was held out of Saturday's Potrero Grande BC Handicap after he drew the rail, which discouraged trainer Bill Spawr.

Former trainer Rappa dies

Former trainer Frank Rappa died on April 1 after an illness, according to Santa Anita's publicity department. He was 75.

Rappa trained such runners as First Advance and Bedouin, but retired from training to open the Italian restaurant Napoli in Covina, Calif. The restaurant's walls were filled with racing memorabilia, a subject of stories that Rappa often shared with his customers.

Rappa sold Napoli in 1998 and moved to Henderson, Nev., where he lived at the time of his death. A memorial service will be held in Nevada.

- additional reporting by Brad Free