05/22/2002 11:00PM

Azillion runs last as 7-5 favorite


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Like a Hero remains a candidate for the Belmont Stakes following his first stakes win in Thursday's $77,200 at Hollywood Park.

Scoring his third consecutive win, Like a Hero prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths over the maiden World Light, finishing 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.37. Trainer Beau Greely emphasized that a final decision on the Belmont Stakes will not be made until next week.

"He won and that's what I wanted to see," Greely said. "He's by Pleasant Colony and he should get 1 1/2 miles. I wasn't looking farther than today.

"The Belmont is something we'll look at. If we'd run second, it wouldn't be something to talk about. Now, it's something to talk about."

Ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr. for Columbine Stable, Like a Hero ($5.80) was third for the first six furlongs, stalking the pace of World Light and Wheels n Wings through fractions of 23.93 and 47.83 seconds. Pincay moved Like a Hero three-wide on the final turn and took the lead near the quarter pole.

"In the first part of the race, he was anxious to go," Pincay said. "He settled down, and as soon as I asked him, he gave it to me."

World Light, who is winless in two starts, finished 2 1/2 lengths in front of Wheels n Wings, who was followed by Pick of the Valley and Azillion, the 7-5 favorite.

Azillion, who finished second in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in March, will not run in the Belmont Stakes. "He'll be turned out for a few months," trainer Bob Hess, Jr. said.