12/08/2005 1:00AM

Chilean star can show he's real deal


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trotamondo was a star in Chile in 2004, when he won the triple crown en route to being named horse of the year.

How that form will translate into stakes competition in the United States will be revealed in Saturday's $100,000 at 1 1/8 miles at Hollywood Park. The Grade 3 Native Diver will be Trotamondo's second start in this country, following a runner-up finish in an allowance race here on Nov. 9.

In that 1 1/16-mile race, Trotamondo unexpectedly dropped 18 lengths off the pace, but closed furiously under Garrett Gomez to finish 1 1/2 lengths behind Preachinatthebar, another top contender in the Native Diver.

Trotamondo's late rally was a relief to trainer Laura de Seroux, who feared the 4-year-old would be eased at one point in the allowance race.

"My heart sunk to my heels," she said. "I didn't expect him to drop out that far. Once Garrett was back there, he did the smart thing. He thought, 'I'm here and I will ask for one run late.'

"Having that race into him has really brightened up his outlook on everything. I expect him to be attending the pace. I can see why he was triple crown winner and horse of the year."

The 10 entrants in the Native Diver include three stakes winners from 2005 - No Giveaway, who won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile; McCann's Mojave, who won the $250,000 California Cup Classic for statebreds last month; and Courtly Jazz, who won the Ralph Hinds Pomona Invitational in September.

No Giveaway, trained by Grant Forster, made his first start outside of Emerald Downs on Nov. 24, finishing third here in an allowance race at seven furlongs.

McCann's Mojave won his biggest race in the California Cup. A 5-year-old trained by Paddy Gallagher, McCann's Mojave ran twice at Hollywood Park during the summer, winning the minor Ack Ack Handicap and finishing in a dead heat for second in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at seven furlongs.

Courtly Jazz won at 1 1/8 miles in the Pomona Invitational at Fairplex Park.

Preachinatthebar, who won the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita in 2004, may go favored, but is winless in his last six starts in stakes. Trainer Bob Baffert was enthused to see Preachinatthebar win on Nov. 9, the colt's fourth win in an allowance race this year.

"He has been showing up every time lately," Baffert said. "He has been really consistent, but we're waiting for that breakout race."