05/11/2010 12:00AM

Drysdale holding pair of keys


INGLEWOOD, Calif. There is no great need for Red Eye Express to win his U.S. debut Wednesday in the seventh race at Hollywood Park, nor is Gothic Samurai certain to transition successfully from grass to synthetic.

But closer scrutiny of the 1 1/16-mile race on Cushion Track suggests it is ripe to be won by a new shooter, and trainer Neil Drysdale has two lightly raced import Red Eye Express, and turf-to-main Gothic Samurai.

Five others entered the second-level allowance/optional $62,500 claimer, and all face questions. Believe in Hope is soft on figures, Turf and Sky has been off five months, Never needed five tries to win the first allowance condition, Warren s Pepe will not get another easy lead, while improving Red Door Drive is up in class following a low-rated win.

If the familiar faces are suspect, so are the Drysdale pair, including Red Eye Express, a son of Giant s Causeway and a 5-year-old full brother to Drysdale-trained graded stakes mare Model. Red Eye Express has won 2 of 5 starts, but has not raced since February 2009 in Dubai.

He s training very well, and he should run well, Drysdale said, while suggesting that a good comeback is not necessarily mean a winning comeback. We haven t drilled him that s not what we do.

Drysdale said Red Eye Express and Gothic Samurai have worked in company this month, but faster work times by Gothic Samurai do not necessarily mean he is better.

Whoever starts behind is going to get the faster time, and they finished [together], Drysdale said.

Rafael Bejarano rides Red Eye Express, whose proven form on synthetic and ability to run well fresh give him a right to score an upset first start back. He won his career debut in Ireland, and has a win and a second in two starts on Polytrack in Ireland.

Gothic Samurai is the more familiar Drysdale runner, having raced five times in the United States, with a win and two seconds. Until Wednesday, his 2-for-8 career record has been all turf.

He s always trained so well on synthetics that we thought we should try racing on it, Drysdale said. David Flores rides Gothic Samurai, whose early speed gives him a chance to wire the field. He also compromises front-runner Warren s Pepe.

Believe in Hope may improve running long, while Turf and Sky has worked well for his comeback for Marty Jones.