05/20/2001 11:00PM

Cinema is chock-full of puzzlers


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - No horse should be feared Sunday in the Grade 3 Cinema Handicap for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park.

While each of the seven starters in the

1 1/8-mile turf race are reasonably qualified, bettors must accept that every starter also enters with critical flaws. That includes Marine, the 119-pound highweight whose last start was dreadful - fifth as the 9-5 favorite.

If the highweight's current form is suspect, so is that of second highweight Sligo Bay, making his U.S. debut and running for the first time since October. Media Mogul may be compromised by distance; late-runner Learing at Kathy repeatedly falls short; front-runner Macabe faces pace pressure; and shippers Resolve and Sigfreto are unproven in California.

The Cinema is a race ripe for an upset, and even if Turf Paradise shipper Resolve is overmatched, his presence will affect how the race unfolds. "He wants the front and you have to let him roll," trainer Eric Kruljac said. "He hasn't run against much. He's good now, but he's never seen horses like he'll see Sunday."

Resolve has won four of his last six in Arizona. Whether he wins or runs last on Sunday, he jeopardizes the chances of Macabe, whose loose-on-the-lead allowance win May 3 was achieved in visually impressive fashion. The final time, 1:34.10, established Macabe as a talented two-turn colt, but left unanswered a key question: Does he need the lead for his best chance?

"I have to see it on paper, and draw up strategy from there," trainer Craig Lewis said. "I have to see how much speed the other horse has, how much class. [Macabe's] last race was very encouraging. Whether or not he can run with the big dogs, we'll see." Macabe, 2 of 8 overall, has two wins and a second in three starts on grass.

Media Mogul may not be flashy, but he continues to improve and should get a cozy trip behind the leaders. Dead-heat winner of the Grade 3 Will Rogers on April 20, he will try to stretch his tactical speed another furlong in the Cinema. "I think the pace will have a lot to say in the outcome," trainer Jenine Sahadi said. "Until a horse goes a mile and an eighth, you don't know. His last race, he was eager, determined. I just don't know about the distance."

Marine enters as an enigma. He was never comfortable racing between horses in the Will Rogers, and his comeback win March 31 was unspectacular when he raced on his wrong lead to the wire.