11/24/2009 12:00AM

Black Wolf has tightener behind him


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Is the good allowance sprinter Black Wolf a slam dunk on Thanksgiving at Hollywood Park?

Horseplayers looking for a key horse on Thursday's holiday card (first post 11 a.m.) find a potential standout in race 5, an entry-level allowance sprint that is Black Wolf's second start following a one-year layoff.

"He had to grow out new feet," trainer Bruce Headley explained, and he admits Black Wolf may have been short in his Oct. 14 comeback. "If he had a couple more works, maybe he could have won."

Black Wolf pressed the pace, tired nearing the furlong pole, and ran fifth.

"I thought it was a good race," Headley said.

Few would argue. After all, the 6-year-old's longest workout going in was only five furlongs. Since then, Black Wolf has picked it up in workouts at Santa Anita. He drilled five furlongs in a quick 58.60 seconds, followed by a pair of six-furlong works that included a bullet move in 1:12.40.

While fast workouts are typical for Headley runners, Black Wolf has other factors in his favor Thursday, including a potential pace advantage in the six-furlong race. A front-runner, he meets a modest field and appears to be the controlling speed.

Black Wolf's rivals include fast-working Fitzmo, who has yet to reproduce his smashing maiden victory from one year ago. Trained by Adam Kitchingman, he ran poorly twice in February at Golden Gate, but returns with a series of bullet moves.

Spirit of Cochise will roll late, while Phantom Wildcat will be forwardly placed. Graded-stakes-placed Jeranimo can improve second start back. Longshots include Pray for Action and Building Trust.

While the main feature Thursday is black-and-white, the supporting feature is muddled. Race 7 is a 1 1/16-mile grass race for California-bred first-level allowance horses or $25,000 claimers. Deep closer Suit Yourself and pace-presser Unbridled's Story are the principals.

Suit Yourself won the condition at Del Mar, and is entered for the $25,000 claiming price while stretching out and reuniting with Garrett Gomez, who rode him to his last three wins.

* The three-day Hollywood Turf Festival begins Friday. A Grade 1 grass race will be run daily starting with the $300,000 Citation Handicap on Friday, the $300,000 Matriarch on Saturday and the $300,000 Hollywood Derby on Sunday.