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SANTA ANITA : Lakeway Remains Unbeaten

March 14, 1994|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Owner Mike Rutherford and trainer Gary Jones probably won't come down with the ailment that afflicted Allen Paulson a year ago at this time.

Struck by Derby fever after Eliza won the Santa Anita Oaks last year, Paulson chose to run her against males in the Santa Anita Derby. Although she ran well to be third behind Personal Hope and Union City, the Mt. Livermore filly was never the same. The Oaks was her last victory and she hasn't run since finishing fourth as the 3-10 favorite in the Princess Stakes last June 19 at Hollywood Park.

Perfect in four starts against her own sex after a comfortable victory in the $212,800 Santa Anita Oaks on Sunday, Lakeway will keep running against the girls. The next major target for the best 3-year-old filly in the country is the Kentucky Oaks.

"As far as the (Santa Anita) Derby goes, we'll have to wait and see, but I really don't anticipate her running in that race," Jones said. "I've always felt, and so has Mike (Rutherford), that the Kentucky Oaks is just as prestigious a race for fillies as the Kentucky Derby is for colts."

The 3-10 favorite against five rivals, Lakeway tracked the pace set by Flying In The Lane and stablemate Beautiful Gem on the outside, took the lead in midstretch and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths under Kent Desormeaux in 1:41 3/5 for the 1 1/16 miles.

Dianes Halo, a 10-1 shot, rallied to be second, three lengths in front of Flying In The Lane, then came Beautiful Gem, Fancy 'N Fabulous and Tulgey Wood.

"It's always tough on you when your horse is that big a favorite," Jones said. "I've known all along this filly was going to be good, but they still have to go out and do it. I can tell you this much, it sure feels a lot better to be in here (the winner's circle) this weekend than it did last weekend, and I'm not kidding about that."

Jones was referring to the Santa Anita Handicap, when his Stuka was declared the winner after the controversial disqualification of The Wicked North.

Although Lakeway, a daughter of Seattle Slew, has yet to lose, Desormeaux said she still is learning.

"She was just playing at the end," he said. "If she kept to her task, there's no telling how fast she can be. She's still got tons of play in her, which means if someone would come to her, she would go on, without any doubt.

"Anybody could have ridden her. She just gallops around there. She's just fast, period. I'd still rather see her in the Kentucky Oaks with the fillies rather in the Kentucky Derby. I've just seen that done too many times."

*

In their last major workouts before next Sunday's $200,000 San Felipe Stakes, Brocco and Valiant Nature both went satisfactorily Sunday morning, according to their trainers.

With regular rider Gary Stevens aboard, Brocco worked seven furlongs in 1:25 1/5 while Valiant Nature went a mile in 1:37 3/5 with Goncalino Almeida riding.

"He finished up real big," said Brocco's trainer, Randy Winick. "I couldn't have drawn a map to go any better. Gary said he's as good right now as he was before the Breeders' Cup." Brocco won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile by five lengths and is unbeaten in two starts at Santa Anita.

Valiant Nature, who upset Brocco in his stakes debut in the Hollywood Futurity, had the fastest of five works at the distance Sunday.

"He worked well, I was satisfied with it," trainer Ron McAnally said. "We might have a little blowout later in the week, but essentially he's ready to run."

*

The day before the seven-year anniversary of Laffit Pincay's seven-winner day at Santa Anita, the world's second-winningest jockey won four times Sunday.

The only loser Pincay rode in the first five races was Chevalier Charlie, the favorite in the second who probably should have been scratched after being extremely fractious at the gate.

After winning the first with 7-1 shot Toknight, Pincay came back with favorites D'Hallevant and Lil' Jessica Rose in the third and fourth races, respectively, then won wire-to-wire on 5-1 shot Western Man in the fifth.

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