Updated on 09/18/2011 12:24AM

Diamond Dave in stakes bow


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Diamond Dave needed a warm-up race before he beat maidens convincingly on May 29. Diamond Dave won so well that trainer Doug O'Neill is optimistic that the colt will play an important role in 2-year-old stakes this summer.

"He took it to them and ran dynamite," O'Neill said of the maiden race. "He knew what to do."

Tuesday at Hollywood Park, can fulfill O'Neill's hope when he makes his stakes debut in the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship.

A front-runner, Diamond Dave will break from post 3 in the Grade 3 Juvenile, which is run at six furlongs for 2-year-olds. Owned by Davonne Stables, Diamond Dave finished second in his debut on May 4, a race that O'Neill said was a learning experience.

"From the first day that we've breezed him, everything he's done has been professional," O'Neill said. "He broke from the [inside] in his first start. I probably didn't have him cranked up."

O'Neill also starts , who was acquired privately by owner Paul Reddam after winning a maiden race at Lone Star Park on June 8. Great Hunter closed from fifth to win that five-furlong race by 1 3/4 lengths. Great Hunter joined O'Neill's stable in late June.

"He acts like he's been here longer than 10 days, like an older horse," O'Neill said. "He's settled in really well."

Trainers Mike Harrington and Bob Baffert each have two starters.

Baffert will start EZ Warrior and Hot Flame. EZ Warrior led throughout a maiden race at five furlongs on June 18, winning by 1 3/4 lengths in his career debut.

is one of two horses in the field who have placed in a stakes. He was third in the Malcolm Anderson Stakes at five furlongs at Bay Meadows on June 17. The runner-up in that field, Youandiatdelmar, is entered in the Hollywood Juvenile.

Harrington will start the maiden-race winners Swiss Swiffer and Hot Rod.

Swiss Swiffer beat maidens at 4 1/2 furlongs on May 18. Hot Rod has not started since winning a two-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita in April.

Harrington said Swiss Swiffer and Hot Rod are being pointed for the $125,000 Graduation Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds at Del Mar on July 26.

"They would look better in a Cal-bred race," Harrington said. "Swiss Swiffer has a lot of speed, but I don't know how far he'll carry it. Hot Rod has only been a quarter-mile. They need the run. The timing is good to get a race in them."