06/20/2004 12:00AM

Chandtrue overpowers Haggin


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - When Bob Hess Jr. first started training Chandtrue, he thought the 2-year-old colt might merely be, as he put it, a "one-dimensional rocket ship." But Chandtrue has matured with every start, and showed a new dimension on Sunday when rallying from off the pace to score an overpowering victory in the $99,375 Haggin Stakes at Hollywood Park.

The seven-length victory established Chandtrue as the most accomplished 2-year-old in the West. He has now won all three of his starts by a combined margin of 15 1/2 lengths.

Chandtrue ($5) was heavily favored in his first two races, but he was the second choice in the Haggin. Actxecutive, who won his debut by 10 1/2 lengths at Calder on Memorial Day and was subsequently purchased by trainer Bob Baffert for owner Jim McIngvale, was hammered down to even-money.

Chandtrue, breaking from post 2, let Fallfree, Gentleman Count, and Lotta Loot speed off for the early lead. Once reaching the far turn, jockey Corey Nakatani took Chandtrue to the outside, and he quickly engaged the leaders. He grabbed the lead at the furlong pole, and then drew clear while covering 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.02.

"By far his best effort," Hess said. "Broke well, settled, took the dirt nicely. When he got out, he quickened real well."

Gentleman Count out-finished Fallfree by a half-length for second. Actxecutive, who trailed early in the six-horse field, closed belatedly to finish fourth.

Chandtrue, a son of Yes It's True, was purchased by Hess on behalf of owner Hal Greene for $130,000 last September at Keeneland. Green, who owned several automobile dealerships in Southern California, is now retired and living in Flat Rock, N.C.

Hess said Chandtrue might make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship on July 17.