04/20/2004 11:00PM

F J's Pace vulnerable in turf sprint


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - F J's Pace has won his last two starts, has won a remarkable 18 of 61 starts, and is one of the toughest turf sprinters on the Southern California circuit.

But his recent record at Hollywood Park could make him vulnerable in a competitive $54,000 optional claimer over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf on Friday night.

Last November, finished fifth of seven as the favorite in an optional claimer for turf sprinters over this course. He set the pace but faded in the final furlong.

On Friday, F J's Pace is one of six horses entered in the third race, which has also drawn King Robyn, the winner of the Grade 3 Hollywood Turf Express over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf in November, and Rojo Toro, the winner of the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes in 2003, who is shortening up after two losses this year at Santa Anita.

Friday's nine-race program begins at 7:05 p.m.

F J's Pace, 9, won an optional claimer over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park last summer, so he certainly has the ability to succeed over the course. But F J's Pace runs his best from the front, and he will face early pressure from King Robyn and Seattle Shamus, who is making his first start since September.

is unbeaten in three starts on the Hollywood Park turf course - the Harry Henson Stakes last April, an allowance race in June, and the Turf Express. In the Turf Express, he was allowed to set a moderate pace of 22.45 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, led by a half-length after a half-mile in 44.33 seconds, and held off Geronimo to win by a half-length.

In two starts during the Santa Anita meet, King Robyn finished third in the El Conejo Handicap over 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track on Jan. 1, and fifth, beaten two lengths, in the Daytona Handicap over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course on Feb. 15.

The form of the Daytona Handicap has held up. Glick and Cayoke, who finished second and third, returned to finish first and second in the San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita last Sunday.

* Friday's eighth race is a $50,000 optional claimer for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles on turf. Vencedora Amiga, sixth on the main track in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks March 13, returns to the turf. Trained by Paulo Lobo, Vencedora Amiga won a turf race for maidens at Santa Anita in January. She was seventh in the Miesque Stakes here last fall.