09/08/2002 11:00PM

Zanapour set to move forward


DEL MAR, Calif. - It has taken longer than expected, but Zanapour has developed into a stakes-caliber turf miler this year for trainer Julio Canani.

Two wins in allowance races at Del Mar earlier this summer make Zanapour the likely favorite in Wednesday's $75,000 Live the Dream Handicap. The program also includes the $70,000 California Equine Retirement Foundation Handicap for fillies and mares over six furlongs. Both races are part of the undercard on a closing day program highlighted by the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity.

The 5-year-old Zanapour was stakes-placed in France last year, and has won 2 of 7 starts since joining Canani's stable last winter. In his most recent start, he rallied from last on the turn to win a five-runner allowance race over a mile on turf by a length.

"He got in trouble twice at Hollywood," Canani said. "His last two races were awesome."

A victory could lead to a start in a more lucrative race later this year.

First, Zanapour must beat five others. Kachamandi, who makes his fifth start in the seven-week Del Mar meeting, drew the rail. Trained by Barry Abrams, Kachamandi won the restricted Brubaker Handicap on Aug. 23, but was only 10th in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf on Sept. 1.

The pace is likely to be set by Stormy Jack, who won a division of the Oceanside Stakes on turf in 2001 and was an impressive winner over six furlongs on Aug. 16.

Stormy Jack will be closely followed by D'wildcat, a graded stakes winner on dirt. D'wildcat is making his second start on turf. He finished third behind Zanapour on Aug. 19.

In the CERF Handicap, Palmarola will be heavily favored in her first start in three months.

Trainer Richard Mandella said the distance is not ideal, but said that the 5-year-old Palmarola is over the foot problems that have kept her sidelined since June.

"She's had to work through some problems but she's in good shape now," he said. "Hopefully, she's better."

Palmarola drew the outside in a modest field of six. Castling, the winner of the Valkyr Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 19, and Ayanna, the winner of two stakes last year as a 2-year-old, are likely to set the pace.

Palmarola was a Group 3 stakes winner over 1 1/4 miles in Argentina last year, and has one win in three starts in this country.

"I'd prefer the race to be a mile," Mandella said. "I think she's better at two turns, but she's quick as can be. She's pretty sharp. I think she'll run real well."