12/07/2004 12:00AM

Even the Score will race, not breed


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Even the Score, the winner of two graded stakes during the Hollywood Park summer meeting, has resumed training in California after failing to attract significant interest as a stallion prospect in Kentucky, trainer Vladimir Cerin said.

Owned by Ro Parra, Even the Score returned to Cerin's stable at Santa Anita last week. Cerin said his goal is to have Even the Score back to the races during the upcoming Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, which begins Dec. 26.

"He breezed a little before he left," Kentucky, Cerin said. "I'm just happy to have him back."

Even the Score has not started since finishing third behind Total Impact as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10. He developed a foot abscess during the Del Mar meeting and was not in serious training in late summer and early fall.

Even the Score was sent to Parra's Millennium Farm in Lexington, Ky., in the fall. He was scheduled to enter stud in 2005 for a fee of $8,500 before the decision was made to put him back in training.

Last summer, Even the Score, 6, won two Grade 2 stakes - the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at 1 1/16 miles and the Californian Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.

If he regains his form, Even the Score could become a candidate for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 5.

"Wouldn't that be nice?" Cerin said. "I'd love to have the opportunity."

Hollywood Story tries Bayakoa

After a 10th-place finish in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30, Hollywood Story will start in a less ambitious race on Sunday, the $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park.

Tuesday, Hollywood Story worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds, the fourth-fastest of 49 recorded works at the distance.

Hollywood Story is winless in six starts this year, all in Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes. In 2003, she won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet, her only win in an 11-race career.

Sunday's Grade 2 Bayakoa, her 11th consecutive appearance in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes, is not an easy spot. She faces a field that includes A.P. Adventure, the winner of the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita in February. A.P. Adventure has not started since finishing sixth in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in April. Hollywood Story was fifth that day, a form line that gives trainer John Shirreffs hope that his filly can be competitive against A.P. Adventure.

"We're only about a half-length difference," he said. "They're close."

In two meetings earlier this year, A.P. Adventure finished in front of Hollywood Story. They were one-two in the Las Virgenes and third and fourth, respectively, in the Santa Anita Oaks. In both cases, the margin was a half-length.

A.P. Adventure is the 117-pound topweight for the Bayakoa. Other probable starters are Essence, Keys to the Heart, Miss Loren, and Royally Chosen. Like A.P. Adventure and Hollywood Story, Essence is a 3-year-old filly.

The winner of a maiden race here in May for trainer Bob Baffert, Essence was transferred by owner Satish Sanan to trainer Todd Pletcher over the summer. Last month, in her stakes debut, Essence won the Grade 3 Anne Arundel Stakes at Pimlico.