11/17/2005 1:00AM

Bengal Lore tries to last for 7 furlongs


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Bengal Lore is less than a length away from being a multiple stakes winner. He lost the Barretts Juvenile by a half-length in September and the Sunny Slope Stakes by a nose at Santa Anita last month.

Saturday at Hollywood Park, Bengal Lore will be favored to end his stakes drought in the $100,000 for 2-year-olds at Hollywood Park.

One prominent question surrounding his chances is the seven-furlong distance. Bengal Lore is a front-runner who has been caught in his last two starts, a point that handicappers are certain to ponder.

But trainer Ted H. West was encouraged when Bengal Lore fought back after being down by a half-length in the Sunny Slope at six furlongs.

"With as much speed as he's shown, you're worried that he can carry it farther," West said. "He re-rallied at the sixteenth pole. I think that shows he can go farther."

Bengal Lore drew post 2 in the Grade 3 Prevue, which has drawn six entrants. Of the others, only The Pharaoh is stakes-placed, having finished second in the Birdonthewire Stakes at Calder in July and in the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity behind eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Stevie Wonderboy. In his most recent start, The Pharaoh finished seventh in the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 2. He had the fastest half-mile workout of 46.40 seconds here on Nov. 5.

Two more entrants have stakes experience. Da Stoops was fourth in the I'm Smokin Stakes for California-breds at Del Mar in September, two days before Old Thunder finished fifth in the Del Mar Futurity. Old Thunder returned to win a seven-furlong maiden race by eight lengths at Santa Anita in October, a victory that makes him a leading contender in the Prevue.

The other two starters - The Five J's and Your Tent or Mine - are making their first appearances in stakes. Your Tent or Mine won his debut by a half-length at Del Mar on Sept. 4.

They all have to catch Bengal Lore. Owned by Desperado Stable, Bengal Lore has one victory in six starts. He was third, sixth, and second in his first three starts before beating maidens at 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 27.

"For a horse who is inexperienced, he shows to be really gutty," West said. "That's one of his best attributes. This horse hasn't been the luckiest guy. He's going in the right direction."