06/08/2010 11:00PM

Callaghan pair get stakes auditions


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Two races a few hours apart at Hollywood Park on Thursday will determine whether trainer Simon Callaghan will have runners in two stakes three days apart next month.

In Thursday's third race, Falcon Rock starts in an optional claimer over 1 1/2 miles on turf, a race that could lead to a start in the $150,000 Sunset Handicap on July 18. In the seventh race, Locksley Hall starts in an allowance race over six furlongs on turf. A big performance could lead Callaghan to start the 3-year-old in the Oceanside Stakes over a mile on turf on July 21, Del Mar's opening day.

Falcon Rock figures to be well backed Thursday, his first start since a second in the Grade 2 Jim Murray Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf on May 15. Callaghan skipped the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap last Saturday with Falcon Rock, but the form of the Murray was enhanced when the winner of that race, Acclamation, won the Whittingham.

Owned by Michael Tabor, Falcon Rock won his U.S. debut at Santa Anita in March and was fourth in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap over about 1 3/4 miles on turf there April 18.

"I don't think he really saw the trip home in the San Juan Capistrano," Callaghan said. "I think this suits him well."

Falcon Rock has only four rivals, and none of them finished in the first three in their last start. Muhannak, winner of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Marathon, was eighth in the San Juan Capistrano. He is entered for a $62,500 claiming price Thursday.

Locksley Hall has had mixed form at this meeting, finishing second in the Harry Henson Stakes over six furlongs on turf on April 21 and fourth as the 3-2 favorite in an optional claimer May 14. He will need a win Thursday for the Oceanside to become a realistic goal.

"It's something that we're thinking about," Callaghan said.

Locksley Hall will race near the front but must hold off a late threat from Sirocco Strike, who beat maidens in a six-furlong turf race April 30, his first start on the surface. Another late threat is Privilaged, who has finished third in two sprint stakes on dirt this spring. Thursday's race will be Privilaged's first start on turf.