06/06/2004 11:00PM

Almond Blossom's last points her out


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Almond Blossom chased Western Hemisphere without success in an allowance race on turf at Hollywood Park on May 14.

There was no shame in Almond Blossom's two-length loss at 34-1, especially after Western Hemisphere returned to finish second by a nose in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap on Saturday.

Wednesday, Almond Blossom returns to Hollywood Park from trainer Billy Morey's base at Bay Meadows for a $50,000 allowance race over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

This time Almond Blossom is likely to be favored against seven rival California-bred fillies and mares.

"The way Western Hemisphere ran makes us look really good," said Morey, the son of trainer William Morey, who won several stakes with Dixie Dot Com.

was claimed for $16,000 from a maiden race at Bay Meadows last September. She won her first race three starts later at Golden Gate Fields in December.

In six starts this year, Almond Blossom has one victory, in a starter allowance race over 1 1/16 miles at Golden Gate Fields in February. She has been second in two starts on turf.

"She's on the improve," Morey said. "She's trying to turn out to be a real nice claim.

"We've been teaching her to settle and run on ever since we took the blinkers off three races ago. I think she's versatile in that if it tends to be a paceless race, she could be closer.

"If we run our same race, we should be right there."

Almond Blossom's rivals can be split into two groups: three fillies who won their last start - Charlotte Fever, Del Mar Ticket, and Jewel of the Year - and four fillies who ran poorly last time - Apple Juice Tea, Darlin Corey, Dee Dee's Diner, and Seeyahoney.

has run twice on turf in her four-race career. She was fifth in a maiden special weight for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita on April 18 and returned win a race for California-bred maiden fillies here on May 20. In that race, she rallied from ninth to win by three-quarters of a length. This is her first start against winners.

Charlotte Fever and Jewel of the Year won starter allowance races on dirt in late May. Neither has raced on turf.

Seeyahoney finished sixth behind Western Hemisphere but had an excuse after breaking through the gate before the start. She was third in a $35,000 claimer over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on April 17.