“That’s one thing I didn’t really expect,’ he said. But Meldahl defended himself. “I didn’t want to bother Rene until after he was finished riding,’ said Meldahl, who represented Laffit Pincay Jr. during his final years of riding. “I didn’t think it was professional to do it before then. I didn’t want to tell him on the phone. As soon as I saw him, I told him that day.’ It’s only 15 days until Breeders’ Cup XXII at Belmont Park, and here are the top- three rated horses in each division: Classic: 1t. Rock Hard Ten and Saint Liam, 3. Borrego. Distaff: 1. Ashado, 2. Stellar Jayne, 3. Society Selection. Mile:: 1. Leroidesanimaux, 2. Starcraft, 3. Singletary. Sprint:: 1. Lost in the Fog, 2. Taste of Paradise, 3. Battle Won. Juvenile:: 1. First Samurai, 2. Private Vow, 3. Henny Hughes. Juvenile Fillies:: 1. Folklore, 2. Adieu, 3. Original Spin. Turf:: 1. Hurricane Run, 2. Powerscourt, 3. Shakespeare. Filly & Mare Turf: : 1. Ouija Board, 2. Megahertz, 3. Wonder Again. Two notable absentees from the top threes are Stevie Wonderboy (fourth) in the Juvenile and Imperialism (unranked) in the Sprint. The prediction here is that Imperialism, with Victor Espinoza aboard, will finish in the top three at double-digit odds. The Kristin Mulhall-trained 4- year-old has a big chance to win the race. Trainer Bob Baffert is leaning toward running Roman Ruler, second to Rock Hard Ten in the Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap, in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint rather than the Classic … Hurricane Run, recent winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and top-ranked in the Turf Division, will not come to New York to run in the Breeders’ Cup because of a cough. Art Wilson can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2103, or by e- mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Douglas enjoyed a big 2004 Oak Tree meet, won the Hollywood Park autumn riding title and finished in a tie with Tyler Baze for second in the Santa Anita jockey standings. But his fortunes have tumbled since. He finished seventh at Hollywood Park and was 10th with only 13 wins at Del Mar. This fall, he’s won only two races from 34 mounts at Oak Tree and Tuesday he was in Florida contemplating the future. “I have to think about the future now and honestly I don’t know what’s going on,’ Douglas told Santa Anita’s Ed Golden. “If you hear rumors about me leaving, that’s not true. If it happens, it happens, but it didn’t happen yet. I’m not thinking about it. “I’m in no rush. All I want to do is win. If I leave, I leave with a smile on my face. I always wanted to be a leading rider in California and I accomplished that. It’s something I’ll always be proud of.’ The veteran rider was not happy that many people knew about the Douglas-Meldahl split before he did. “I’m going to try as hard as I can, because you don’t get too many chances in life,’ Douglas said in the jockeys’ room as he sat atop the Santa Anita rider standings. “I’m at that point where I can’t afford to blow another chance, especially in California.’ But Douglas and his agent, Bob Meldahl, split last weekend after the Panamanian- born rider’s poor fortunes continued here at the 2005 Oak Tree meet. Meldahl has reunited with former client Corey Nakatani and Douglas is currently without an agent. RENE Douglas vehemently denies it, but talk around the Southern California circuit is that the 38- year-old jockey is ready to jump ship and head back to the Midwest. Douglas returned to the Southland a year ago, in time for the 2004 Oak Tree meet, and told this newspaper in February that he was here for the long haul, that he’d always dreamed of riding full-time in California.