04/27/2005 11:00PM

Drysdale has two in Inglewood

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Benoit & Associates
King of Happiness won an allowance last May (above) but was 0 for 4 in stakes last year.

NGLEWOOD, Calif. - Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale has 64 stakes wins at Hollywood Park, but none has come in the Inglewood Handicap.

In a way, that does not seem right. Drysdale's stable specializes in turf horses, and the Grade 3 Inglewood is run at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

The lack of an Inglewood winner on Drysdale's roll of achievements could change on Saturday, when he starts in the $100,000 race.

Both are capable of winning the Inglewood, which drew eight entrants.

Red Fort is Drysdale's best hope. Owned by the Red Fort partnership, Red Fort won his U.S. debut in an allowance race at a mile on turf at Santa Anita on March 17. Ridden by Corey Nakatani, he rallied wide to win by a head. The victory surprised Drysdale.

"At a mile, I didn't think he would be able to get up," Drysdale said. "There was a slow pace in front of him."

Last year in England, Red Fort won the Wolferton Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Royal Ascot, the lone stakes win of his career. Drysdale is treating the Inglewood as a prep for the $350,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on June 11.

King of Happiness was winless in four stakes last year, including fourth-place finishes in the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile and Eddie Read Handicap. The winner of an allowance race at 1 1/16 miles here last May, King of Happiness has not started since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park last October.

"We gave him a break," Drysdale said. "He needed some time off."

King of Happiness is seeking his first stakes win since the Group 3 Craven Stakes in England in April 2002, a span of 16 races.

Trainer Bobby Frankel could spoil Drysdale's day. Frankel starts Inesperado and Vangelis, who carries high weight of 117 pounds.

Vangelis, 6, has excelled at distances longer than 1 1/16 miles. The Inglewood marks Vangelis's first start since a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Handicap at Santa Anita last October. A Group 2 winner in France last year, Vangelis is winless in four starts in this country.

Inesperado is better suited to the distance, but rarely wins. Inesperado won his first three starts in this country in 2002 - all graded stakes - but has subsequently won only 2 of 13 starts. Inesperado was fifth in an allowance race at Santa Anita in January, his most recent start.