01/29/2002 12:00AM

Beat Hollow has little to beat


ARCADIA, Calif. - Everyone loves Beat Hollow.

Alex Solis fell in love with the European import the first time he worked him. Trainer Bobby Frankel praises Beat Hollow's appearance, the manner he trains, and his overseas form.

Thursday at Santa Anita, the adulation will be complete. American bettors get their first crack at Beat Hollow in a three-other-than allowance, and if the 5-year-old is all he is cracked up to be, he will make short work of five rivals in the seventh-race feature at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Beat Hollow was a rising star in Europe, winning three of four races, including a Group 1 at Longchamp. That was a long time ago, however, and Beat Hollow will be racing Thursday for the first time in 19 months. Owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, Beat Hollow was sent to Frankel five months ago.

"I don't know what problem they had with him, why he hasn't raced in so long. He seems like a pretty sound horse," Frankel said.

"He's a nice-looking horse. He's ready to run."

Against a modest cast that includes Little Ghazi, Lily's Lad, Green Jaro, Sign of Hope, and Res Judicata, Beat Hollow would be the right horse even if his work pattern was incomplete. It is not. Solis has made sure of it.

One day, Solis "was over here and breezed him and fell in love with him," Frankel said from Hollywood Park.

"He's breezed him two or three times since then. I don't know how he trained [in Europe], but he trains really well here."

Frankel expects Beat Hollow to be at his best in races from1 1/8 miles to 1 1/4 miles. Not that it matters Thursday. Beat Hollow faces an ordinary cast he is expected to defeat. The wagering dilemma is whether depressed odds of even-money or less justifies a gamble. There is one sensible alternative.

Little Ghazi was sent from New York in November, and has raced gate to wire in two straight races. He was claimed last out from Vladimir Cerin by Paddy Gallagher, and could find himself loose on the lead. none of the eight turf races this meet at 1 1/8 miles, however, has been won by the pacesetter.

Sign of Hope has not recaptured his 3-year-old form; Lily's Lad returns to turf after fading on dirt; and Green Jaro finished well for fifth in his U.S. debut, a race dominated by speed. Res Judicata has not raced since April.

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