11/29/2004 1:00AM

Evangelizer blossoming post-Del Mar


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Evangelizer might be the only person or racehorse in California not fond of Del Mar.

After finishing fourth and second in maiden races at Del Mar, Evangelizer won a maiden race by 3 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita on Oct. 9.

She will try for her second victory when she faces winners for the first time in a $37,000 allowance race over six furlongs at Hollywood Park on Wednesday.

Trainer Ron Ellis is convinced that Evangelizer has improved since she left Del Mar.

"I don't think she liked Del Mar that much," he said. "She disappointed me down there. I thought she'd run down there like she did last time. I think her last race is indicative of what she can do."

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Evangelizer is one of six fillies and mares entered in the allowance race.

drew post 5, which puts her outside of most of her opponents, an advantage with her front-running style.

"I think she needs to be up closer to the pace - at least right now," Ellis said. "She's working great."

Two other entrants are coming off a win, Champ's Rocket and Zen Diva.

Champ's Rocket won a first-condition allowance race for California-breds on Oct. 28 at Santa Anita, the third consecutive race in which she has finished first. Champ's Rocket finished first in a starter allowance at Del Mar on Aug. 22, but was disqualified and placed second. She returned to win a similar race on Sept. 5. Because she is a California-bred, Champ's Rocket is eligible to return in a first-condition allowance race against open company after beating statebreds at a similar level.

won a $25,000 claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs here on Nov. 6. Trained by Tim Yakteen, she has won two claiming races since arriving in California earlier this year.

Dee Dee's Diner, Sparkling Forest, and Strollin Slew also start on Wednesday. Dee Dee's Diner and Strolling Slew were second and third in a similar race on Nov. 11. Sparkling Forest has not started since the Del Mar meet, when she finished fourth.

They all must catch a sharp Evangelizer, who could develop into a stakes filly, Ellis said.

"I think she has that kind of talent, but it depends on what she does in this race. I doubt I'd rush her into that," Ellis said. "I'm looking forward to stretching her out but I don't think she's quite ready for it. She kind of put it all together last time."