04/24/2007 11:00PM

Bitter Bill proves fond of grass


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Last fall, Bitter Bill was tried on turf at Hollywood Park for a simple reason.

"There was nowhere else to run him," trainer Jeff Mullins said on Wednesday. "He found a new career."

Bitter Bill won that allowance race, and has not been worse than second in three subsequent starts on turf. On Friday, Bitter Bill will be favored to win his first stakes in the $75,000 Harry Henson over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park.

Mullins is enthused about Bitter Bill's form, particularly his last race, a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Baldwin Stakes over about

6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on March 10. Bitter Bill stalked the pace and got within a length of the lead in the stretch before finishing 1 3/4 lengths behind race winner Desert Code.

"I was pretty proud of the little guy," Mullins said. "I think three-quarters is more to his liking than 6 1/2 furlongs."

An Idaho-bred, Bitter Bill began his career at Les Bois Park, where he won 2 of 3 starts and was stakes-placed. In his California debut last September, he finished third in the Beau Brummel Stakes at Fairplex Park. Overall, Bitter Bill has won 4 of 9 starts and $113,280.

"He's kind of an overachiever," Mullins said.

Bitter Bill will be near the front, and is likely to be in pursuit of expected pacesetter Hurry Home Warren. Trained by Jesus Mendoza, Hurry Home Warren was beaten a nose in an optional claimer on the hillside turf course on April 11, leading by as many as

3 1/2 lengths in the first half-mile.

The Henson drew just five horses, and three of the runners are stakes-placed - Candy's Bro, Prime Ruler, and Vaunt.

Candy's Bro was second in the Stinson Beach Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in January, and was beaten a nose in an allowance race on turf at Bay Meadows on April 7.

Prime Ruler, making his turf debut, has not started since finishing third in the Sunny Slope Stakes last October.

Vaunt was third in the Baldwin and returned to finish fourth in the La Puente Stakes over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on April 14.