06/10/2007 11:00PM

Candy Jo aims to build on win


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Candy Jo set a lofty standard when she won an optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on May 13.

"I think the best race she's run has been on this track," trainer Jeff Mullins said of the victory.

Candy Jo may need to exceed that performance to win the fourth race of her career in a $55,000 allowance race at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, the day's sixth race.

Candy Jo will be trying for her third win in four starts, but faces nine rivals, including the two-time Argentine Group 1 winner Batallosa.

Owned by Michael House, Candy Jo is likely to play a prominent role throughout the race. A 4-year-old filly, she can lead, but is effective racing just off the pace as well, Mullins insists.

"She'll stalk," Mullins said. "She can come from off the pace. She doesn't need the lead."

Candy Jo has earned $121,728. She won the Sweepida Handicap at the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton, Calif., last year, her final start of 2006. She began her 2007 campaign with a last-place finish in an allowance race at Santa Anita in February, but rebounded in her second start of the year, on May 13.

Batallosa is something of an unknown element despite her accomplishments. Batallosa is actually a

3-year-old, but is listed as a 4-year-old because she was foaled in September 2003. All horses racing in the Northern Hemisphere have recognized birthdays on Jan. 1 each year, regardless of where they were foaled.

Now trained by Ron McAnally, Batallosa has won 3 of 4 starts. She won Group 1 races going six furlongs and 7 1/2 furlongs in spring 2006. Batallosa has not started since last June, and has worked steadily recently.

The field includes Nossa Cancao, who was stakes-placed earlier at this meeting, and two fillies who have run well on turf - Pindaric and Shermeen.

Nossa Cancao was third in the Desert Stormer Handicap at six furlongs here May 19, her first start since late March. Earlier this year, she was second in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap at seven furlongs at Santa Anita.

Pindaric, who is seeking her third consecutive win, and Shermeen, who was third in the American Beauty Handicap at Santa Anita in April, are making their first starts on a synthetic track. Both Pindaric and Shermeen have worked quickly over the surface in recent weeks and have been effective in sprints.