12/09/2002 1:00AM

Eric Da Bomb tries again

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The big plans for Eric Da Bomb went awry this fall when he finished eighth in the $250,000 California Cup Classic Nov. 2.

He had been pointed for that race following a 13-length win in an allowance race at Del Mar on Aug. 5.

On Wednesday at Hollywood Park, Eric Da Bomb will try to regroup when he starts as a probable favorite in a $49,000 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles.

Trained by Nick Hines, Eric Da Bomb can win on Wednesday with a repeat of his performance at Del Mar.

Hines considered giving Eric Da Bomb a rest after the California Cup but the 5-year-old gelding's behavior in recent weeks forced a change of plans.

"I was a little disappointed after the California Cup," Hines said. "We thought of giving him some time off, but he's bounced back. When he gets like this he's ready to explode. He's very sharp."

Hines was encouraged by Eric Da Bomb's six-furlong workout in 1:13.80 at Hollywood Park on Dec. 3. "By my watch, he ran the last three furlongs in 35 and four," Hines said.

Eric Da Bomb will try to lead throughout. "If they want to go toe to toe with him early, it's their choice," Hines said. "I've got a speed horse who likes to run them off their feet."

Hines has not abandoned plans to start Eric Da Bomb in stakes.

The inaugural $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic will be run for California-breds and Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25. "If he was to step out and move forward, the Sunshine Millions has to be a possibility," Hines said.

Eric Da Bomb has four opponents, none of whom won his last start. Intrepid Glory was sixth in a $50,000 claimer on turf on Nov. 23. Rushin' to Altar was third in the Bien Bien Stakes on Nov. 6. Labamta Babe, the winner of the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes last January, was fifth in an optional claimer on Nov. 11. Fly to the Lake was fourth in the Governor's Cup Handicap at Fairplex Park in September.

Rushin' to Altar could run in the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, but may be better suited to this longer race. A winner of 2 of 5 starts, he will be a danger from off the pace.

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