08/13/2005 12:00AM

Excess Temptations on the rise


DEL MAR, Calif. - has developed so quickly that trainer Howard Zucker is nominating him for fall stakes.

With a win and a second-place finish in his first two starts, Excess Temptations, 3, will try for his first victory against winners in a $60,000 optional claimer for California-breds at Del Mar on Monday.

Excess Temptations is coupled with the maiden winner Excess Taxes. They form an entry that will be strongly favored against six rivals.

Excess Temptations is the stronger half of the entry. Zucker expects a top performance.

"Experience is a good teacher, and I like the way he's going," Zucker said. "He's come out of his last race real well, and he's a monster on the track."

Excess Temptations is owned by a partnership that includes Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny. John Harris is part of the partnership and is the sole owner of Excess Taxes, who is trained by Bill Spawr. Excess Taxes won a six-furlong maiden race for statebreds in his fifth career start on July 22.

Excess Temptations is a stalker. The style worked ideally in a turf sprint at Hollywood Park on June 16. In a six-furlong race on dirt on July 30, Excess Temptations rallied from fourth to miss catching Bordonaro by three-quarters of a length.

On Friday, Scottsbluff, who finished third in that July 30 optional claimer, returned to finish second in the Real Good Deal Stakes for 3-year-old statebreds.

Zucker said that Excess Temptations was hampered by traffic on the turn in the July 30 race, and could have won with better luck.

"I thought we got a little compromised at the head of the stretch," Zucker said. "He had to wait and switch leads late."

The pace is likely to come from Slide Home, who finished fifth in a $40,000 claimer on July 21. Trained by Wesley Ward, Slide Home is co-owned by actor Joe Pesci.

A quick pace would help Winning Hand, who has won 3 of 5 starts, including a $50,000 claimer here over six furlongs on July 27.

He will have to catch Excess Temptations, who may develop into a stakes-caliber runner.