06/06/2007 11:00PM

El Roblar can add feather to cap

Email

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Some day, El Roblar may find a specialty. As if he needs one. The jack-of-all-trades 5-year-old has won short and long on dirt and long on grass in a diverse 11-start career that has yet to answer the question: What does he do best?

Saturday at Hollywood Park, El Roblar can add to his repertoire when he races on Cushion Track for the first time as the key player in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap, a one-turn race at 7 1/2 furlongs.

Eight older horses are entered in the Ack Ack, race 9 on the 11-race card that includes four stakes. Thirty minutes earlier in race 8, Somethinaboutlaura and Dancing Edie will top a field of fillies and mares in the $75,000 Redondo Beach Stakes, a one-mile grass race that is a prep for the $1 million CashCall Mile on July 6.

An eclectic cast entered the Ack Ack, including graded-stakes-winning sprinters Bonfante, Publication and Siren Lure; European import Cusoon; sharp allowance horse Soul City Slew; former turf horse Porto Santo; and outclassed Sunland shipper Tag the Comet.

El Roblar is the horse to beat as he resumes a campaign that was reaching full steam April 7, when he missed by a head in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at a mile on turf. But after that race, trainer Richard Mandella stopped on El Roblar, who has not started in the two months since.

"He just wasn't doing well, it's as simple as that," the trainer said. Mandella hoped to train El Roblar into the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on May 28, but those plans were derailed by a quarter crack. Back to square one.

Owned by Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables, El Roblar has never raced on Cushion Track, but his workouts give Mandella confidence.

"He really likes this track," Mandella said. "He trains great on it, and I'm anxious to see him run on it. He's doing really well now."

Victor Espinoza rides El Roblar, whose style suits the Ack Ack pace scenario. El Roblar possesses enough speed to race near the lead behind distance-challenged Bonfante and overmatched Tag the Comet. The Ack Ack could produce runners for the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap on July 7, a seven-furlong race that will see the return of Surf Cat.

The main rival for El Roblar may be Soul City Slew, who is 2 for 2 racing 7 1/2 furlongs on Cushion Track. Art Sherman trains Soul City Slew, who scored a powerful allowance win May 17, running the fastest 7 1/2 furlongs (1:28.50) of the meet. Sherman also trains Siren Lure, a multiple graded stakes winner who was sharper one year ago.

Porto Santo will shorten to one turn after a good second behind Molengao in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy, a race flattered when third place Buzzards Bay returned to win the Californian. Bonfante won a

6 1/2-furlong stakes last out.

Redondo Beach: Dancing Edie returns

Dancing Edie is the only Grade 1 winner in the Redondo Beach, but she is racing for the first time since setting the pace and weakening Nov. 4 in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

"The goal is to have her fresh and ready for the CashCall Mile," trainer Craig Dollase said. Dancing Edie won the John C. Mabee last summer at Del Mar.

Somethinaboutlaura has a current-condition edge in the Redondo Beach. She is 3 for 5 this year and

13 for 25 overall. Other entrants include Private Banking, Arm Candy, Dona Amelia, Strong Faith, Quemar, and Cantabria.