07/11/2010 1:12PM

Hollywood Park: Imco Spirit still baffles trainer


Despite losing his first five starts in the United States, Imco Spirit is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the seventh race, a first-condition allowance race, which is part of a pick six that features a carryover of $514,127.

Trainer Mike Puype expects an improvement from Imco Spirit's seventh-place finish on May 31, when he went a half-mile in 44.78 seconds and faded to lose by 7 3-4 lengths in a race over 7 1-2 furlongs. In Sunday's seventh race, Imco Spirit will start over six furlongs.

"He went too fast too early," Puype said.

For Sunday's race, Imco Spirit will start from the outside in a field of seven. He may be on the front again, though Puype would prefer that it not happen. "In a perfect world, I'd like to sit off the pace," he said. "I think he needs a little more distance than this."

Imco Spirit has one victory in 13 starts, a maiden race in Ireland in April 2009. Sunday's race will be his shortest race in the United States. "He's been a hard horse to figure," Puype said. "I haven't quite found the right mix."

Mensa Heat poses a threat to Imco Spirit. Trained by Jack Carava, Mensa Heat has won 2 of his last 3 starts, including an allowance race for state-breds over 6 1-2 furlongs on June 20. 

Puyp will have a busy day on Sunday. He has five runners - Outrageous Fortune (5-1 on the morning-line) in the second, Hammurabi (4-1) in the fourth, Ten's Salty Sally (3-1) in the fifth, Imco Spirit in the seventh, and the fast-working Woodmans Luck (5-2) in the ninth.