01/31/2007 1:00AM

Baffert tries to slow down Tenfold

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Convincing the 3-year-old Tenfold to reserve his speed has become a chore for trainer Bob Baffert. The promising colt simply wants to do too much early in his races.

That habit could make Tenfold a vulnerable favorite in a $55,000 allowance race at a mile for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita on Friday. The race is a prep to the $300,000 Robert Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 3.

The Lewis Stakes is named in honor of the late Eclipse Award-winning owner. Tenfold is owned by Lewis's widow, Beverly.

Tenfold was second in the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes on Jan. 13, leading to early stretch before finishing four lengths behind the promising Notional.

"The whole thing is trying to harness his speed," Baffert said of Tenfold. "He wants to run off. When you run them long, they eventually figure out they're going too fast. Right now, I'm trying to slow him down."

Baffert had considered starting Tenfold in Saturday's Sham Stakes, but has opted for the allowance race.

"He's really developing into a beautiful horse," Baffert said. "He needs to settle it down a little bit. I'm trying to get into his head."

Tenfold drew post 9 in a field of 10, which will force the colt to stay near the front to avoid a wide trip on the first turn.

Tenfold will have company early. The race has drawn the speedy Something Sonic and Another Brother as well as Margenot, an impressive maiden winner in a sprint at Hollywood Park on Dec. 17.

Margenot, who has drawn the rail, raced near the front in his lone start. Trainer Mike Machowsky considered starting Margenot in an allowance race in January but said that the colt's blood was "out of whack," forcing a delay.

"I think he's sitting on another big race," Machowsky said. "I didn't think he'd win first time out. I told my guys, 'Don't get discouraged. He doesn't want to go 6 1/2 furlongs.' He got a real good trip that day."

Heza Legend and Soldier could get ideal trips if the pace is quick. Ron McAnally trains both colts.

Heza Legend won a maiden race at a mile on Jan. 12 in his first start around two turns, beating the well-regarded Air Commander, trained by Baffert. McAnally said Heza Legend needed three starts "to put it all together."

Soldier finished sixth in the San Rafael, his first start since October.

"I think he was a little short that day," McAnally said.