12/07/2006 12:00AM

Card offers glimpse at future


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The dream of success in the major races of the spring begins on days such as Saturday at Hollywood Park. In some cases, the hype will also begin.

The 10-race program at Hollywood Park includes three races for maiden 2-year-olds, all in the pick six. Each race is full of well-bred first-time starters who could develop into candidates for the Santa Anita Oaks or Santa Anita Derby - and beyond.

"This is a fun time of year, with a lot of good babies coming out," said trainer John Sadler, who has starters in each race.

The fifth and 10th races are six-furlong events for 2-year-olds, and the eighth race is at six furlongs for 2-year-old fillies. The races provide a mix of homebreds, horses bought for modest sums, and a few expensive well-bred runners.

In the fifth race, Luberon, a Maria's Mon colt, makes his career debut in a 12-horse field that features the well-regarded Tenfold, by Tiznow.

Luberon is owned by breeders Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by Sadler. Luberon has worked steadily at Hollywood Park in the last five weeks. He must beat Cool Hand Lucca, an Honour and Glory colt trained by Craig Dollase, who has an excellent record with first-time starters.

Tenfold drew the outside post, but has trainer Bob Baffert's respect.

"He's pretty quick," Baffert said.

Baffert has runners in all three of the maiden races. While he speaks highly of Tenfold and Solicitous, who runs in the 10th race, he is reluctant to make predictions.

"They can all run," Baffert said from his Santa Anita base Thursday. "They're all nice horses. I want to get an out in them."

Baffert has four 2-year-olds running Saturday, including Com Easy and Into Reality in the eighth. They were sent from Santa Anita to Hollywood Park for workouts last Monday.

"They didn't seem to work as well as they did over here, but they went easy," Baffert said.

Com Easy was purchased for $350,000 at the Ocala March sale of 2-year-olds in training earlier this year. The most expensive purchase in the race is Intensify, a first-time starter by Unbridled's Song who was bought by Bob and Beverly Lewis for $650,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale. She has worked quickly in advance of her debut.

Bob Lewis died earlier this year, but his wife, Beverly, continues to race a stable.

In the eighth race, Sadler starts Chocolate Lava, an Orientate filly owned by Michael Talla purchased for $400,000 at Ocala in March. Chocolate Lava was scratched Nov.o18 because of the presence of mucus, Sadler said.

"She's back and worked twice," he said. "She looks like one of our promising 2-year-olds."

Solicitous, a Dynaformer colt who races for Beverly Lewis, has worked quickly on several occasions in recent months, both at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park.

"He wants to go long," Baffert said. "I want to get an out in him. We've got to build a foundation."

Four stakes coming up for Clement

Trainer Christophe Clement's stable won its second stakes of the meeting Wednesday, when Bend a Little won the $56,350 Winter Stakes. Clement's eight-horse barn could add considerably to that total in coming weeks.

Four of the runners are bound for stakes at this meeting or in the opening days of the Santa Anita meeting.

Saturday, Captive Melody starts in the $55,000 Cesario Stakes, a restricted race at a mile on turf for 3-year-old fillies. Sunday, Saint Stephen returns from a layoff of more than seven months in the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap.

At Santa Anita, In Submission, the runner-up in the Hollywood Turf Express on Nov. 25, is being pointed for the $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes on Dec. 26. On Jan. 1, Society Hostess, fifth in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes on Nov. 26, is a candidate for the $100,000 Monrovia Handicap on the hillside turf course.

Clement has previously shipped in for major stakes, but this is the first winter that he has had a full-time stable in California.

Bend a Little, a 5-year-old, may stay in California or be sent to Clement's winter base at Payson Park in Florida, according to assistant trainer Arnaud Delacour, who heads the California division.

In the Winter Stakes, Bend a Little rallied from fifth to catch pacesetter Lasika and win by a head. Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Bend a Little won the Hermosa Beach Handicap here Nov. 11.

"She showed a lot of courage to go and get that horse," Delacour said.

Captive Melody is making her stakes debut in the Cesario. She beat maidens on turf at Saratoga in July and has not started since finishing sixth in an allowance race at Belmont Park in early October.

"I know it's a big step, but she has good numbers when she broke her maiden at Saratoga," Delacour said. "She really likes firm turf."