05/24/2002 11:00PM

Californian field begins to take shape


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Pie N Burger and Momentum, the first two finishers from Friday's seventh race, are likely to resurface in the $500,000 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 15.

The Californian, a prep to the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 14, is expected to include Milwaukee Brew, unraced since winning the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap in March.

Pie N Burger, who has bounced between allowance races and stakes in the last year, held off a stubborn Momentum to win Friday's race by a neck, finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.83.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Pie N Burger set slow fractions of 24.30 and 47.40 seconds in the first part of the race under Laffit Pincay, Jr.

"The fractions were in our favor, but he ran a big race," said Tim Yakteen, Baffert's assistant trainer. "It's hard to tell with Laffit how much horse he has left."

Pie N Burger, 4, has won five of 22 starts but has never won a stakes.

"The few times we've stepped up, we haven't been that successful," Yakteen said. "Maybe this race will be a good launch pad."

Baffert has never won the Californian, but he is expected to attend on June 15, the day the track is giving away a bobble-headed doll bearing his likeness.

Momentum's loss was not a setback, according to his trainer, Craig Dollase. The allowance race was his first start since he was pulled up with a quarter crack in the Strub Stakes last February. The 4-year-old Momentum won the Native Diver Handicap last fall.

"I think it will set up well for him," Dollase said. "When they pull up, you don't know if it will affect them."

Plans are less certain for Out of Mind, who finished third, and Futural, who was last. Out of Mind, who has been bothered by injuries, will be considered for the Californian and the All American Handicap at Bay Meadows on June 8.

Futural, second in the 2001 Californian, has an uncertain future. "We're still scratching our head," Dollase said.

Short week packed with stakes

There is no racing on Wednesday this week. Racing resumes Thursday for an abbreviated week that includes a stakes a day.

On Thursday, the $100,000 California Sires Stakes for colts and geldings will be offered, having failed to fill on Sunday. Friday's feature is the filly equivalent of the same race.

On Saturday, Line Rider, the winner of the Harry Henson Stakes on April 24, starts in the $100,000 Will Rogers Handicap for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf.

On Sunday, Kona Gold, the 2000 champion sprinter, makes his 2002 debut in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap over six furlongs.

Global Finance, the winner of the Nursery Stakes on May 11, will run in the five-furlong Cinderella Stakes on Sunday.

* Apprentice jockey Elvis Trujillo will be sidelined for four weeks after injuring his foot in a morning starting gate accident at Santa Anita last week. Trujillo, who has not ridden since May 19, has won four races from 46 mounts at the current Hollywood meeting.