11/24/2005 12:00AM

First stakes attempt for Bob and John

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Bob and John, a promising 2-year-old trained by Bob Baffert, makes his long-awaited stakes debut in Saturday's $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes. For jockey Victor Espinoza, the race cannot arrive soon enough.

Espinoza is convinced that will be an important colt in coming months as the Kentucky Derby nears, and expects that point to be proven in the Real Quiet.

"I think he'll be a nice horse," he said.

The Real Quiet Stakes is run at 1 1/16 miles and is a prep to the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 17. The race drew five entrants, all of whom are seeking their first stakes win. Bob and John is the only member of the field to have won on the main track.

The other starters are Genre, .

Bob and John has one victory in three starts, having scored by 11 1/2 lengths in a one-mile maiden race at Del Mar on Sept. 5. He missed the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita in early October because of illness and returned to finish second in an allowance race on Nov. 4.

"He got a little tired that time," Espinoza said. "He needed an easy race."

Since the loss, Bob and John has had two quick works at Santa Anita. He zipped a half-mile in 45.80 seconds on Nov. 14, the fastest of 60 recorded works at the distance. On Monday, Bob and John worked five furlongs in 58.80, the second-fastest of 70 recorded works at the distance.

Espinoza did not work Bob and John but said he was aboard another Baffert-trained runner during one of the colt's recent workouts. He was left impressed by the way Bob and John finished.

"He worked super nice," Espinoza said. "He'll be better this time. He's ready to go."

Genre and Icy Ridge are European imports. Kissin Knight and Objective each come off a maiden win on turf. Both were making their fourth career start.

The only runner in the field with stakes experience is Genre, who finished third as the favorite in the Zetland Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on soft turf at Newmarket, England, on Oct. 29.

The Real Quiet Stakes is Genre's first start for trainer Ben Cecil, first start on dirt, and ninth race of the year.

Icy Ridge, who is trained by Mike Puhich, beat maidens by a neck in a seven-furlong race at Gowran Park in Ireland on Aug. 21.