11/20/2002 12:00AM

Favorite Euchre is vulnerable


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A victory cannot arrive soon enough for Euchre, who starts in a $58,000 allowance race at Hollywood Park on Friday.

Euchre has lost eight consecutive races, all in graded stakes, and has been entered in an allowance over 1 1/16 miles in an effort to restore his confidence.

Trained by Bobby Frankel, the 6-year-old Euchre finished fifth in the Grade 2 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita on Oct. 6, losing by 5 1/2 lengths to Pleasantly Perfect.

On Friday, Euchre faces four others, including three recent winners - Cottage, Daunting, and Long Gone Con. None of those hopefuls has faced the same fields as Euchre, but at least one rival trainer is ready to challenge the favorite.

"We'll get first jump on him," said Craig Dollase, who trains Long Gone Con. "This is a good spot with a short field."

Long Gone Con has won three of his last four starts, including an allowance race at Bay Meadows on Oct. 9. Owned by Terrence Lanni and Bernie Schiappa, Long Gone Con was trained by Julio Canani during the summer and transferred to Dollase this fall.

Long Gone Con drew the rail in Friday's race and could face an early challenge from Daunting, who has not started since winning an allowance race here last November. Trainer Alfredo Marquez has a respectable record with horses returning from lengthy layoffs.

The two front-runners will be chased by Cottage, with Nates Colony and Euchre likely to be farther off the pace.

Cottage has won his last two starts in allowance races at Del Mar and Santa Anita. The 4-year-old Cottage was placed in Group 1 races in Argentina last year.

Nates Colony is winless in four starts, dating back to The Downs at Albuquerque Handicap in New Mexico in June. The runner-up in the Pomona Invitational Handicap at Fairplex Park on Sept. 29, the 5-year-old Nates Colony returned to finish second in a starter allowance race over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 14.

Euchre deserves to be favored. He should win if he returns to his form from the summer of 2001 when he won consecutive stakes in the All American Handicap at Bay Meadows and the Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows.

This year, his form has been sketchy. He has been second in four graded stakes, but was unplaced in the Santa Anita Handicap and Cornhusker Handicap. The inconsistent form makes him a vulnerable favorite on Friday.

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