07/06/2004 11:00PM

Even the Score Gold Cup chalk

Email

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Even the Score will open as the solid favorite in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on Saturday when he tries to complete a sweep of the track's three handicap-division races. A field of seven entered the $750,000 Gold Cup, and the absence of a legitimate second choice is one reason linemaker Russell Hudak said he would "start Even the Score at 6-5, then go from there."

Even the Score, winner of the Californian and Mervyn LeRoy, will be a singleton on many pick six tickets: Hollywood is offering a $1 million guaranteed pool on races 5 through 10, and the 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup is race 9. Yessirgeneralsir, runaway winner of the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap is expected to set the pace, followed closely by allowance sprint winner Royal Moro.

The Gold Cup field lines up like this, from the inside out: Olmodavor, Alex Solis; Total Impact, Mike Smith; Continental Red, Victor Espinoza; Yessirgeneralsir, Omar Figueroa; Gift of the Eagle; Royal Moro, Corey Nakatani; and Even the Score, David Flores.

Reddam taking several shots

The odds that one trainer will win all three stakes Saturday at Hollywood Park have to be at least 500-1. And even trainer Craig Dollase admits "we're taking a little bit of an aggressive approach" with longshot Royal Moro in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup, Bear in the Woods in the Grade 2 Swaps, and comebacker Elloluv in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap.

"It could be a big weekend in the Reddam camp," Dollase said, referring to J. Paul Reddam, who owns the three horses, including Royal Moro. Winner of a 6 1/2-furlong sprint June 26 with a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 108, Royal Moro will try to stretch his speed 1 1/4 miles in the Gold Cup. "If the horse wasn't doing so well, we'd think otherwise, but he's really in a zone right now," Dollase explained.

Royal Moro has won three races and $162,808 from 20 starts and is 1 for 6 around two turns.

Bear in the Woods is making his third career start, and first on dirt, in the 1 1/8-mile Swaps. He won his sprint debut and finished fourth in a turf allowance around two turns. Bear in the Woods raced greenly and was beaten by 2 1/4 lengths.

"He's lacking in experience," Dollase said, adding "we're taking advantage of the weight."

Bear in the Woods will carry 112 pounds, eight fewer than the likely favorite, Rock Hard Ten, and six fewer than the Affirmed Handicap winner, Boomzeeboom.

Elloluv gives Dollase his best chance when she returns in the seven-furlong A Gleam. Dollase said, "We think we have her fit enough to fire first time out."

A multiple Grade 1 winner, Elloluv has won four races and $1.2 million from 11 starts, and has run well off a layoff. Win or lose Saturday, Dollase and Reddam will return Sunday, when longshot Tangle returns to dirt for the Grade 1 Milady Handicap.

Elusive Diva can earn Spa trip

If all goes well for Elusive Diva in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap on Saturday, the 3-year-old filly could soon be on her way to Saratoga. Elusive Diva was runner-up to House of Fortune in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks, and trainer Mark Glatt said that if Elusive Diva "can beat older mares on Saturday, then the Test would be the next logical spot for her."

Elusive Diva's career has spiraled upward - she is 3 for 6 and coming off a career-best Beyer Figure of 99. Sired by Elusive Quality, Elusive Diva stands 17 hands, and Glatt said she is holding her weight better as the season progresses.

Nakatani gets Rock Hard Ten mount

Corey Nakatani has landed the mount on Rock Hard Ten, the likely favorite Saturday in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds. Pat Valenzuela was scheduled to ride, but has been suspended for a drug-testing violation pending a formal hearing.

The Swaps will go as race 7 on Saturday and include, in addition to Bear in the Woods and Boomzeeboom, Capitano and Brands Hatch.

Baffert first-timer a good one

The 2-5 favorite, My Miss Storm Cat was a disappointing third for Bob Baffert in the Grade 3 Landaluce Stakes on Monday, but three races earlier Baffert unleashed a 2-year-old filly headed for graded stakes. Inspiring won her debut by four lengths in a quick 57.19 seconds and earned a Beyer Figure of 90. By comparison, the Landaluce winner, Souvenir Gift, earned an 89. Inspiring won despite losing a front shoe at the start, conceding the lead from an inside post, and rallying around horses.

"She's never had horses in front of her" in workouts, said Baffert, "so that was good. She has some class."

Baffert will point Inspiring for the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 7 at Del Mar. The trainer said My Miss Storm Cat was compromised in the Landaluce by tender shins, and will miss the entire Del Mar meet. She won her debut by 10 lengths, with a Beyer of 99, before the Landaluce.

Rhythm Mad out six months

Trainer Bruce Headley is gearing up Grade 1 winner Got Koko for a comeback, but his top-class turf horse Rhythm Mad is out six months with an unspecified injury.

A 5-year-old mare with seven wins and earnings of $960,946 from 15 starts, Got Koko worked a bullet three furlongs in 34.20 seconds Wednesday at Santa Anita and could return late in the Del Mar meet. Got Koko has not raced since she sprained an ankle Jan. 25 in the Santa Monica Handicap.

Rhythm Mad would have been a top turf horse at Del Mar after his May 8 win in the $350,000 Jim Murray Handicap. Headley, though, said Rhythm Mad was derailed with an injury - he declined to reveal specifics - and would be sidelined. Rhythm Mad has won 5 of 10 starts and earned $355,205. An import from France, Rhythm Mad has won 2 of 4 in the United States and was second in the San Juan Capistrano.