06/30/2008 11:00PM

Albertus Maximus tries the grass


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - In two starts at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting, Albertus Maximus has walloped his rivals in an allowance race and been walloped by the best older horses on the circuit in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes.

Those results have left trainer Gary Mandella unsure what to expect when Albertus Maximus makes his third start of the meeting in a $61,000 allowance race on turf Wednesday.

The allowance race will be Albertus Maximus's career debut on turf. He was entered for Saturday's $250,000 American Handicap on turf, but was scratched in favor of Wednesday's race.

Mandella was encouraged by Albertus Maximus's six-furlong workout on turf in 1:14 under jockey Corey Nakatani on June 15.

"He did think the horse moved better on the turf course," Mandella said of Nakatani. "He's on the same page I am, thinking it's worth trying."

Owned by breeders Brandon and Marianne Chase, Albertus Maximus, 4, has won 3 of 11 starts and $255,050. Last year, he was second in the Grade 3 Affirmed and the Grade 2 Swaps.

This year, Albertus Maximus has one victory in three starts. He scored a convincing win in a 1 1/16-mile allowance here April 23, leading throughout and pulling clear to win by 6 1/4 lengths. In the Grade 2 Californian, he failed to make the lead and faded through the stretch to finish 10 3/4 lengths behind the winner, Heatseeker.

Albertus Maximus is expected to have the early lead Wednesday. He starts from post 2 in a field of five.

"Hopefully, drawn to the inside, he'll be able to break better than in the Californian and dictate the pace like he did in the allowance," Mandella said.

None of the entrants won their last start.

Knockout Artist, who drew the rail, was third in an allowance race here June 1. He won a division of the 2007 Oceanside at Del Mar.

Wing Forward and Bleu Intense are returning from layoffs. Wing Forward has not started since finishing 12th in the Sir Beaufort at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. Bleu Intense, who placed in a Group 3 stakes in France last year, has made one start in this country, finishing ninth in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby last September.

All Man was a troubled second in an allowance race on the main track on May 7. Wednesday's race is his second start on turf.