12/13/2006 12:00AM

Extra furlong could boost Like a Tiger


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Like a Tiger fell a neck short of pulling an upset in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on Nov. 23, a frustrating loss for his backers and trainer Beau Greely.

Redemption may arrive in the eighth race at Hollywood Park on Friday, when Like a Tiger starts as a top contender in an optional claimer over 1 1/4 miles.

The race, which has a $50,000 purse, is a furlong longer than the Nov. 23 race and should better suit Like a Tiger, a 5-year-old gelding who races for Columbine Stable.

"It seems the more ground the better for him," Greely said, adding that in Like a Tiger's last race, "if he had one more jump, he could have gotten there."

Like a Tiger is winless in six starts since winning an optional claimer over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita in October 2005. He has made just four starts this year, a campaign plagued by foot problems.

"He's always had tender feet," Greely said.

Like a Tiger has made two starts this fall. He returned from a layoff of more than five months and finished third in an optional claimer here Nov. 2. The form of the race was flattered when race winner Boboman won the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup last weekend.

Greely said he may run Like a Tiger in the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita if he runs well Friday.

Like a Tiger is part of a field of six that includes Sabre Baby, One Off, and Victory Sign.

Sabre Baby is making his Southern California debut. Trained by Richard Dutrow, Sabre Baby has won 4 of 10 starts this year, in turf races at Gulfstream Park and Belmont Park. Friday's race is his first start at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

One Off, second in the marathon San Juan Capistrano Handicap on April 23, was second to Boboman in the Nov. 2 race that included Like a Tiger. Trained by Neil Drysdale, One Off is winless in seven starts, dating back to an allowance race here in June 2005. In that race, One Off finished second but was promoted to first after race winner Star Pupil was disqualified for causing interference.

Victory Sign won an optional claimer over 1 1/4 miles on turf Nov. 19. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Victory Sign has won two of his last three starts, with both wins coming in turf races around two turns.