04/23/2010 11:00PM

Compari catches a break in Inglewood


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It will not always be this simple for Compari, the lone front-runner in the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap on the Hollywood Park turf.

The expected scratch of free-running Monterey Jazz hands Compari the lead on Sunday; Monterey Jazz was scheduled to run Saturday in the San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields, according to trainer Craig Dollase.

The controlling speed in the 1 1/16-mile Inglewood, Compari will be favored to extend his six-race win streak.

"He's a hard-trying horse with a high cruising speed," trainer Marty Jones said. "As long as the pace isn't crazy . . ."

The pace could be severe May 25 when Compari faces Monterey Jazz in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile. But first, Compari and Garrett Gomez will try to steal another stakes. They set slow fractions April 3 in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita and won by a half-length.

"It would be nice if it works out that way again," Jones said, recognizing the $100,000 Inglewood could be his last easy spot. Tentative plans call for Compari to switch to the main track following the Shoemaker Mile.

"He could be a Hollywood Gold Cup horse," Jones said. "But that's a long ways away; we'll get through these [turf] races first."

Compari, a 4-year-old gelding by Redattore, is owned by John Harris, John Nicoletti and Don Valpredo.

If Compari runs July 11 in the Gold Cup, it would mark a return to the Hollywood main track. He won the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes last April in his third start, then was off more than seven months. Since then, all grass.

"He bounces back better from his races on turf," Jones said.

Sunday in the Inglewood, Compari meets a moderate field in which his main rival is a second-level allowance winner. Red Alert Day was compromised by strategy last time when he engaged in a pace duel; he is likely to be rated Sunday under Rafael Bejarano.

Acclamation, who has placed in four graded stakes, will try to rebound from a last-place finish March 6 in the Grade 1 Kilroe.

"He had kind of a wide trip on both turns," trainer Don Warren said, adding that Acclamation "has done well since the race."

The Inglewood entrants include Glowing Praise, Lease of Life, Dark Islander, Great Siege, Rummysecret War, Quindici Man and Gallant Son.