06/15/2006 11:00PM

Flimsy field in Quicken Tree


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The $65,000 Quicken Tree Stakes at Hollywood Park on Sunday is the clubhouse leader for the worst stakes of the spring-summer meeting.

There are no stakes winners in the field of six California-breds and only one horse has won an allowance race - Johnny High Brite, a 4-year-old gelding who was a surprise entrant in the 1 1/2-mile turf stakes.

Johnny High Brite's trainer, Craig Dollase, had nominated Super Strut, the winner of the Crystal Water Handicap at Santa Anita in February, but Super Strut was not entered after suffering an injury, Dollase said. Dollase would not disclose the nature of the injury and said the severity of the injury will not be known for a couple of days.

In addition to Johnny High Brite, the Quicken Tree Stakes includes two horses who have won only maiden races, Cut Trail and Purple Royale, and three horses who won starter allowance races: Der Ali, Peaking Move, and Sultry Bard.

Johnny High Brite, who is winless in his last seven starts, was beaten a nose in an allowance race at a mile on dirt at Bay Meadows on June 4. Owned by Richard and James Briere, Johnny High Brite placed in two sprint stakes for statebreds as a 2-year-old in 2004. The Quicken Tree will be his first start at 1 1/2 miles.

"He's a tough little horse," Dollase said. "He still has some conditions, but the way the race is shaping up it is looking like a good spot."

Dollase and the Brieres have a history in the Quicken Tree. Shalini, Johnny High Brite's half-sister, finished in a dead heat for second in the 2003 running.

Johnny High Brite and Cut Trail will dominate the betting.

Cut Trail beat maidens in his 11th start May 10, rallying from fourth in a field of 10. The race was run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, the longest start of Cut Trail's career. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Cut Trail has been third or better in three starts this year. He ran in three maiden claiming races last year.

A win by any of the other four runners would be a surprise.

Der Ali and Sultry Bard finished sixth and 10th in an allowance race at 1 1/8 miles on turf June 7. Peaking Move was seventh in a one-mile allowance race on turf on June 3. Purple Royale was second in a $22,500 claiming race at 7 1/2 furlongs on May 27.