06/12/2003 11:00PM

Dollase sees Grade 1 opportunity


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Wally Dollase is not anxious to take on Horse of the Year Azeri in the $250,000 Vanity Handicap next Saturday at Hollywood Park with Bare Necessities, the winner of three consecutive stakes races.

But he realizes the Grade 1 Vanity is a good opportunity for Bare Necessities to run in a major stakes race and possibly pick up an important placing.

For the last several weeks, Dollase had considered Bare Necessities a candidate for this weekend's Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs. He changed his mind and will point for the Vanity, which will be the toughest race of Bare Necessities's career. This year, she has won the Sacramento, Santa Lucia, and Sixty Sails handicaps on three different tracks.

"This is a Grade 1, and to run second or third would make her so much more valuable," Dollase said.

The connections of quite a few fillies and mares are taking the same approach to the Vanity, which is run at 1 1/8 miles. No one expects to beat Azeri, who showed she is in outstanding form with a three-length win in the Grade 1 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap May 24, her ninth consecutive win.

Three of the five fillies and mares that finished behind Azeri in the Milady are probable for the Vanity - Enjoy, Tropical Blossom, and Keys to the Heart, who finished second through fourth.

Dollase said that American Czarina also may start in the Vanity.

Beau Greely trains Enjoy and Keys to the Heart. He said Enjoy may be entered for the Vanity but may instead run in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap at Monmouth Park in New Jersey June 28. Ideally, Greely would like to avoid facing Azeri.

"We've been looking all around the country for a spot," he said. "I've got Enjoy nominated in case Azeri didn't run."

Keys to the Heart was beaten seven lengths by Azeri in the Milady. In April, Keys to the Heart won the Grade 3 Hawthorne Handicap at 17-1.

Like many other trainers, Greely is hoping to be treated kindly in the handicap by getting ample weight from Azeri. In the Milady, Azeri carried 125 pounds, spotting the rest of the field eight to 14 pounds.

There are two other stakes races next weekend. Chief Planner, the winner of the Snow Chief Stakes April 26, may be favored in Sunday's $100,000 Affirmed Handicap for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. Other probables for the Affirmed, a prep for the $750,000 Swaps Stakes July 13, are Blazonry, Bullistic, Eye of the Tiger, Jimmy O, Ministers Wild Cat, Outta Here, and Roll Hennessy Roll.

Eye of the Tiger and Outta Here started in the Kentucky Derby, finishing fifth and seventh.

Saturday's undercard includes the $75,000 Haggin Stakes for 2-year-olds. Alpenfest, the winner of the Proctor Stakes May 18, will be held out in favor of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship July 19. Mike Harrington, who trains Alpenfest, will start Dave the Dude and Patriot Dream in a field expected to include Blairs Roarin Star, Don'tsellmeshort, Perfect Moon, and Stalking Tiger.

Pleasantly Perfect in light training

Pleasantly Perfect, a top handicap horse of 2002 who is winless in two starts this year, has been cleared to resume light training after undergoing a nuclear scan test earlier this week.

The test was conducted to check one of the 5-year-old's ankles, which revealed a slight injury last month in a similar test, trainer Richard Mandella said.

"It was not a fracture. It was just a hot spot," Mandella said. "We wanted to make sure it's improving. We'll probably start jogging him and see if it improves in two weeks."

The winner of the 2002 Goodwood Handicap at Santa Anita, Pleasantly Perfect finished third in the San Antonio Handicap and fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap this year.

Mandella is pointing Pleasantly Perfect for a late summer or early fall comeback, if the ankle is able to sustain training.

"It could be ready for a race in September," Mandella said. "He could be ready to start at Del Mar. He's never gone out. He's been ridden an hour a day."

Momentum out for the year

Momentum, second in the 2002 Goodwood Handicap and the winner of the 2001 Native Diver Handicap, has been turned out for the rest of the year because of a tendon injury, trainer Craig Dollase said.

Momentum has not started since the Goodwood, in October. He missed the Breeders' Cup Classic that month because of a tendon injury to his right foreleg. Momentum returned to Dollase's stable earlier this spring and recently suffered an injury to the same leg.

"He'll need ample time again," Dollase said. "He's out for the rest of the year."

The 5-year-old Momentum has won 5 of 16 starts and $664,829. In addition to the second in the Goodwood Handicap, he finished second in the Hollywood Gold Cup and Pacific Classic last year.

Banshee King aimed for Del Mar

Banshee King will be pointed for the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar July 23 after winning a competitive allowance race at 1 1/8 miles on turf Wednesday.

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Banshee King led throughout, holding off 7-1 Helms Deep by a nose. Gentlestone finished third.

The first three are expected to return in the Oceanside, run at one mile on turf for 3-year-olds.

The mile will suit Banshee King, who finished second to Private Chef in the Will Rogers Stakes at that distance May 25. Although Banshee King led throughout Wednesday's allowance race, trainer Doug O'Neill thinks that the gelding is not one-dimensional.

"Tyler said that if someone wanted to yahoo early, he thinks he'd let them go," O'Neill said. "He's really settling down."

O'Neill added that Hot Weekend, who finished sixth as the favorite in the Cinderella Stakes June 8, emerged from the race with mucus and will pass the Landaluce Stakes July 4, the meet's top race for 2-year-old fillies. An impressive maiden winner May 15, Hot Weekend will be pointed for Del Mar.

* Jockey Gary Stevens will ride Summer Colony in the Molly Pitcher, according to his agent, Craig O'Bryan. Stevens will not ride at Hollywood Park from Sunday until Wednesday, June 25, O'Bryan said. Stevens is spending next week at Royal Ascot in England.