11/20/2007 12:00AM

Bob Black Jack fit for Prevue

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - A seven-furlong Grade 3 stakes seems an overly ambitious spot for a California-bred 2-year-old making his first start since a statebred maiden race three months earlier.

Bob Black Jack, however, will enter the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue on Thursday with the highest dry-track Beyer Speed Figure in the field. Even more impressive, he earned his 88 Beyer in August even while battling tender shins.

"Fitness-wise, we're ready to go," trainer James Kasparoff said.

Believe it, because so far, Kasparoff has made all the right moves with the son of Stormy Jack. Bob Black Jack originally was purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by a previous owner, and then dropped out of sight.

Kasparoff heard about the unraced 2-year-old early this year from his friend Frank Veiga, who recommended Kasparoff visit the farm where Bob Black Jack was stabled and take a look. Kasparoff liked what he saw, struck a deal, and purchased the colt on behalf of Jeff Harmon and his brother Tim Kasparoff.

After a promising runner-up debut in July, Bob Black Jack's campaign was threatened by tender shins. Kasparoff thought he could squeeze another start out of him.

"I thought if we could get him through that race, we could stop on him," he said.

Good move. Bob Black Jack crushed a decent field of Cal-bred maidens that included four next-start winners. That was three months ago, and Bob Black Jack's shins are now fine. But is he ready?

"I was actually thinking about running [in the 1 1/16-mile] Real Quiet," Kasparoff said, but admitted that race Sunday was "too aggressive after a layoff."

A series of strong workouts has Bob Black Jack ready, and though he won his maiden race leading throughout, Kasparoff and jockey David Flores are convinced he is not one-dimensional. Bob Black Jack drew post 10 of 13.

"He has a good mind, he doesn't have to have the lead, and the draw helps us," the trainer said.

Kasparoff, 33, currently has a two-horse stable and has been training since 2000. His best horse was allowance-class speedball Whata Soldier, who was claimed for $32,000 from his second start and earned $173,360. Kasparoff, who worked for Don Pierce and Willard Proctor, was asked to compare Bob Black Jack and Whata Soldier.

"Whata Soldier was a pretty nice horse, and we overachieved with him a little bit," he said, adding that Bob Black Jack "might surpass him on Thursday."

Daytona earns Hollywood Derby try

If the improving gelding Daytona wins the $500,000 Hollywood Derby on Sunday, it will be partly because of a rare Southern California rainstorm. Daytona was scheduled for the $100,000 Pomona Derby on Sept.o22 at Fairplex Park, but when it rained and the track came up sloppy, trainer Dan Hendricks scratched him.

"It's the best thing that could have happened," Hendricks said. "If he had run, and won, we never would have gone back to turf with him."

The next option for Daytona was the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby on turf, which Daytona crushed by 4 1/2 lengths, earning him a spot in the Hollywood Derby.

"We've got nothing to lose - he's already paid for himself," Hendricks said.

Daytona sold for approximately $115,000 in the spring in England. Most of his $161,390 bankroll was earned after the sale. Daytona has won 2 of 6 since in California and is only now fulfilling his early promise.

Daytona originally was purchased as a yearling for roughly $500,000 by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, but after he became an unruly handful, he was gelded, and later sold to the Hendricks group that includes Tom Lenner, Jeff Davenport, and Jess Ravich.

Daytona has a win, two seconds, and a better-than-looked third in four starts on synthetic, and Hendricks said his campaign will continue this winter at Santa Anita in the Strub Series for 4-year-olds.

Gomez rides Zann in Citation

Hollywood Park's three-day Autumn Turf Festival begins Friday with the Grade 1 Citation Handicap as the main draw. The improving 4-year-old Zann will be among the favorites in the $400,000, 1 1/16-mile turf race. Not that odds matter for trainer Mike Machowsky.

"As long as we win, I don't care," Machowsky said. Runner-up by a nose Oct. 7 in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile, Zann has improved throughout his campaign and enters with a 3-for-13 career record.

"He's been running against some tough nuts, and as he gets older, he gets better," Machowsky said. "He's like a good bottle of wine."

It will be up to Zann's new jockey, Garrett Gomez, to uncork the 4-year-old, whose past rivals include Kip Deville, Out of Control, and Showing Up. Gomez takes over for Aaron Gryder, who Machowsky said made no mistakes.

However, owner William Warren told Machowsky that "I'd rather ride with Gomez than have to run against him." Case closed. A field of nine entered the Citation, including Silent Name, the 117-pound topweight; Willow O Wisp; and Proudinsky.

* Dearest Trickski set a Hollywood track record Sunday when she won a 6 1/2-furlong allowance in 1:14.56, earning a Beyer Figure of 98. It was her third straight win since trainer John Sadler claimed her from Cody Autrey for $32,000 at Del Mar. Sadler's assistant, Larry Benavidez, said the 3-year-old filly came out of the race "like a superstar." He said Dearest Trickski could be nominated to the $65,000 Playa Del Rey Stakes on Dec. 9, but "that probably is too close."

* Tough Tiz's Sis worked a sharp six furlongs Sunday at Santa Anita in 1:13, and trainer Bob Baffert said she will point for the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap on Dec. 1 at Hollywood Park. Tough Tiz's Sis won the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks last summer, and won the Grade 1 Lady's Secret in fall.

o First post Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, is 11 a.m.