06/22/2001 12:00AM

Allowance is Swaps prep for 'Crafty'


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Crafty C.T., unraced since finishing second to Point Given in the Santa Anita Derby last April, starts in a $49,500 allowance at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

The second race on a nine-race program, the allowance race drew five entrants and is run over seven furlongs. Trainer Howard Zucker is using the allowance race as a prep to the $500,000 Swaps Stakes on July 15, the top dirt race for 3-year-olds at the spring-summer meeting.

"We're kind of moving his career along," Zucker said. "This is not a life or death situation for us. I want to be ready for the Swaps. He's doing great. I wouldn't know what to do with him if I couldn't run him."

Crafty C.T. is the only member of the field not coming off a win at this meeting. Diguys Dalimit and Mr Freckles won allowance races; Sing Because scored in a $40,000 claimer; and Warum Nicht was the impressive winner of a starter allowance.

"I wouldn't predict a walkover," Zucker said. "There are some nice horses in there, but I'm sure he'll give a good account of himself."

Small field for Gold Cup

The season's top race, the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 1, will have a small field.

As of Friday, there were five probables for the Gold Cup: the first three finishers of the Californian Stakes on June 10 - Skimming, Futural, and Aptitude; Captain Steve, the winner of the $6 million Dubai World Cup; and Power Wing, who won a $25,000 claiming race for sprinters last month.

Skimming and Aptitude are owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Bobby Frankel, Consequently, they will be coupled in the betting. Frankel is seeking his second Gold Cup win, 10 years after the Juddmonte-owned Marquetry won in an upset.

The July 1 program also includes two seven-furlong sprints - the $200,000 A Gleam Handicap for fillies and mares and the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap - and the $250,000 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Go Go, the winner of the Desert Stormer Handicap on June 2, starts in the A Gleam, while Caller One, the winner of the Los Angeles Handicap on May 27, will be heavily favored in the Triple Bend.

The Honeymoon, which will have its richest running in its 50th year, will feature the Frankel-trained Beefeater Baby and Dynamous, as well as recent stakes winners OK to Dance (Palisades Stakes at Keeneland) and Allright Now (Bay Meadows Oaks).

Congaree breezes

Congaree, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 at Santa Anita. Although trainer Bob Baffert has not said where Congaree will reappear, the $500,000 Swaps Stakes on July 15 is a possibility.

Also at Santa Anita, Kona Gold, the 2000 champion sprinter, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60. He is being pointed for the $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap on July 22.

Budroyale, the handicap star who finished second in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic, worked a half-mile in 48.60 seconds.

Backstretch renovations planned

Hollywood Park announced on Friday plans for a backstretch improvement project to be finished later this summer that includes the repaving of roads, the construction of rubber paths, and landscaping around barns.

The project will begin when the spring-summer meeting ends on July 16 and will also include the installation of cable television for backstretch living quarters.

The horse paths will run through the main road of the stable area and will cover the two main corridors of the stable area that lead to the training track. The paths will be constructed from shredded tires and will run parallel to newly paved asphalt roads.

The much needed landscaping project will add trees and shrubs to the stable area. Barn ceilings will also be painted.

Hollywood Park is not open for training during most of the Del Mar meeting this summer. Hollywood said that most of the backstretch project will be completed before the barn area reopens on Aug. 31 and that the project will be done by Nov. 7, the opening day of the fall meeting.