09/23/2003 11:00PM

Yankee Gentleman eased in work

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Yankee Gentleman, a stakes winner at Del Mar earlier this month and a hopeful for the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 25, failed to finish a six-furlong workout at Santa Anita on Wednesday after jockey Julie Krone felt the colt was not traveling well.

Yankee Gentleman was four furlongs into a six-furlong workout when he was eased. The workout was considered important for his preparation for the Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap on Oct. 5.

After the abandoned workout, trainer John Shirreffs reported that Yankee Gentleman "cooled out well," but said that he wanted to wait a day or two to make a more thorough diagnosis.

Owner Marty Wygod, who attended the workout, said blood tests would be done to ensure that Yankee Gentleman was not developing an illness.

"So far we can't see anything," Wygod said. "This was his big work. He was going to come back in six days with a light work.

"He didn't finish just right so she pulled him up," Wygod said of Krone. "She did the right thing. She just eased him out of it."

By Storm Cat, Yankee Gentleman has not started since winning the Pirate's Bounty Handicap at Del Mar on Sept. 6. He won by five lengths, finishing six furlongs in 1:07.90.

A start in the Ancient Title is considered vital for Yankee Gentleman to gain the necessary qualifying points to ensure a berth in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.

Big test for Tarlow in Oak Leaf

On Sunday, the opening day of the Oak Tree meeting, Shirreffs starts Tarlow in the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles.

The Grade 1 Oak Leaf marks the stakes debut of Tarlow, who beat maidens in her career debut Aug. 16. Ideally, Shirreffs would have preferred to start Tarlow in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 30, but the filly missed the race because of illness.

"She got a temperature for three days and we missed some training," Shirreffs said. "If we could have run there we'd feel much better about the race coming up."

Shirreffs admits that winning the Oak Leaf Stakes will be difficult because of the presence of the unbeaten Halfbridled, who won the Del Mar Debutante by five lengths.

"If Halfbridled is the filly everyone thinks she is, everyone is running for second or third," he said.

A placing may be enough for Shirreffs and owners Jerry and Ann Moss to consider the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies for Tarlow. By Stormin Fever, the filly has already showed she can overcome adversity. In her maiden race, over six furlongs, Tarlow stumbled badly at the start and rallied from 12 lengths off the pace to win by three-quarters of a length.

On Wednesday, Tarlow worked a half-mile in 48.80 seconds.

'Luck' targets Oak Tree Mile

Designed for Luck ended a stakes drought of nearly three years with a victory in the Live the Dream Handicap at Del Mar on Sept. 10. Now trainer Vladimir Cerin is debating whether to try another race before the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Mile.

Plagued by injuries in recent seasons, Designed for Luck has made only six starts since the end of 2000, a season in which he won the Ascot Handicap at Bay Meadows and finished first in the Hollywood Derby only to be demoted to fifth for causing interference.

Wednesday, Designed for Luck breezed a half-mile in 47.80 seconds. A decision on whether the 6-year-old Designed for Luck starts in the $300,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 5 will be made closer to the race, Cerin said.

One concern is whether Designed for Luck has done enough to ensure a berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile in the event the race is oversubscribed.

"We're going to point for the Oak Tree Mile," Cerin said. "I don't know that it would be too much for him. He's just jumping out of his skin."

Four BC preps opening day

Sunday's opening day includes four major stakes, all preps for the Breeders' Cup.

Azeri, the reigning Horse of the Year, starts in the $300,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap, trying to win her 12th consecutive start. She carries 128 pounds in a field expected to include Adoration, Elloluv, Got Koko, Royally Chosen, and Tropical Blossom.

The day's richest race is the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles on turf, which will be the American debut of Musical Chimes, one of the top 3-year-old fillies in France.

Earlier this year, Musical Chimes won the French 1000 Guineas and finished third in the French Oaks. She was 10th of 12 in the Group 2 Prix d'Astarte against older fillies and mares at Deauville, France, Aug. 3.

The Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon will be her final start for trainer Andre Fabre before she joins Neil Drysdale.

Her likely opponents in the Yellow Ribbon include Tates Creek, the winner of the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap earlier this year, as well as Cassis, Crazy Ensign, Esmay, Magic Mission, and Red Rioja.

- Brancusi, last of 16 in the Kentucky Derby in May, worked seven furlongs in 1:29.20 on turf on Wednesday, preparing for a start in one of two races over 1 1/8 miles on Oct. 4 - the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap on dirt or the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby on turf.

- Joey Franco, the winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap over a mile on Sept. 1, worked six furlongs in 1:15.60 on turf Wednesday. Trained by Darrell Vienna, he is being considered for the Goodwood or two races on Oct. 5 - the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile or the Ancient Title.

- Odds On, one of Bob Baffert's top 2-year-olds, worked seven furlongs in 1:26.60. A six-length winner of a maiden race over six furlongs on Sept. 6, Odds On is scheduled to make his next start in the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 5.