04/21/2004 11:00PM

Dollase attempts a repeat

Email

CHICAGO - It is 2,074.3 miles from Hollywood, Calif., to Cicero, Ill. Even so, Hawthorne Race Course has become the second home for the Wally Dollase stable.

Perhaps it is more like a lake house - though Lake Michigan lies eight miles east. Hawthorne's nearest bodies of water are the Canadian goose-laden infield lagoon and an industrial canal over by I-55.

Dollase's horses seem content here. Ten Most Wanted came and romped in the 2003 Illinois Derby, returning last weekend to boss a few overmatched foes in the National Jockey Club Handicap. A year ago, Bare Necessities - at 3-5 - won the Sixty Sails Handicap, and she's back for another go Saturday in the Grade 3, $250,000 race. Rene Douglas, aboard for last year's victory, has the call.

"The races there seem to fit my horses," Dollase said Wednesday, around lunchtime in Southern California. "They like the sandier kind of loam at that track. It's like Hollywood Park, where I stable. They write races there at a mile and an eighth. That fits these horses."

Again, Bare Necessities is a heavy favorite. Last year, she beat Jaramar Rain by 2 1/2 lengths, racing over a typically tiring Hawthorne surface. But one could argue that her opponents - there are six - have hope.

In her last two starts, Bare Necessities has faced Grade 1 horses - but not many of them. The Santa Margarita, in which she finished third, had only five entrants. The Santa Maria, where Bare Necessities missed by a head, had six. In fact, in four races this form cycle, Bare Necessities has run against a total of 18 opponents - about one good-sized European handicap.

"I think we've got a hell of a shot," said Tony Mitchell, who trains the Illinois-bred standout Julie's Prize. He conceded, though, that Bare Necessities "is the obvious one to beat. She's going to be tough."

Julie's Prize, a 4-year-old El Prado filly unproven in higher-class races, gets the mother of all weight shifts. She carried 126 pounds when she beat statebred stakes horses two weeks ago. This time, she is in with 114, eight fewer than Bare Necessities. Most comes in the form of jockey Larry Sterling.

"Nobody rides this horse better than Larry," Mitchell said.

Julie's Prize and Bare Necessities run from off the pace, and only one speed horse, the apparently overmatched Mavoreen, went in the Sixty Sails. The trainer Steve Hobby prefers Sue's Good News, another upset candidate, to come from off the pace, but circumstances might dictate otherwise.

"If we're 10 ahead, that's okay, too," Hobby said.

The rest of the field - none without a chance - is Retroactive, La Reason, and Allspice.