05/01/2007 12:00AM

Albertus Maximus restarts career

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The promise that Albertus Maximus displayed when he won his maiden on March 3 would have left some owners and trainers eager to try the springtime preps for the Kentucky Derby.

The issue became moot when trainer Gary Mandella discovered that Albertus Maximus had suffered a quarter crack when he won. The Derby preps were run without Albertus Maximus, but the colt may still be a factor in 3-year-old stakes this summer.

Owned by Brandon and Marianne Chase, Albertus Maximus makes his first start against winners in a $51,000 allowance race for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park on Thursday. The race is run over 1 1/16 miles.

Albertus Maximus has had a consistent string of workouts since late March.

"We had to take a little time and be patient," Mandella said. "His last couple of works have been pretty good. This is a good chance to build him up."

Albertus Maximus has run on Hollywood Park's synthetic track, finishing fifth in his debut over 6 1/2 furlongs last December. Mandella dismissed the loss because Albertus Maximus broke poorly that day.

"He was acting badly in the gate and got left," Mandella said.

Mandella is looking toward Thursday's race as a measure of whether Albertus Maximus can race well over the surface on which he trains.

"We'll be able to get a gauge and see if he can run well on this track," he said. "He's been running at Santa Anita on a different kind of track."

Albertus Maximus has drawn the rail in a field of nine, five of whom have stakes experience.

Vauquelin was third in the La Puente Stakes on April 14. The allowance race will be his first start on a synthetic track after seven starts on turf. Dee Rain, Deadshot Keen, and Hot Wired were unplaced in stakes in the winter and spring.

Abalanche was fourth in the San Pedro Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on April 8, his stakes debut. Trained by Rafael Becerra, Abalanche will be making his first start around two turns on Thursday.

Augment has yet to run in a stakes, but has shown promise. Trained by Paddy Gallagher, Augment was second in an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on March 18 in his first start against winners. Sent off favored, Augment finished a half-length behind Tap It Light.

"I thought he'd won it," said Jamie Lloyd, Gallagher's assistant. "If he can improve a bit, he'll be a nice horse."