11/26/2008 1:00AM

Ghetto avoiding top talent


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - At least this week, Ghetto does not have to face the best 3-year-old turf horses at Hollywood Park.

After finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, Ghetto will start in Thursday's $65,000 War Chant Stakes and not Sunday's $500,000 Hollywood Derby.

"The competition is not as stiff," trainer Craig Dollase said.

The first three finishers of the Oak Tree Derby - Muny, Madeo, and Dixie Chatter - are bound for the Hollywood Derby. Ghetto was beaten 1 1/4 lengths as a 25-1 outsider in the Oak Tree Derby, which was run at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The War Chant is one of two stakes on the eight-race Thanksgiving program, which begins at 11 a.m.

The War Chant is run at a mile, which Dollase prefers. The post position, though, did not please the trainer. Ghetto has drawn the outside in a field of 10. In the Oak Tree Derby, Ghetto started from post 13 in a field of 14.

For the War Chant, Dollase hopes that jockey Michael Baze can utilize Ghetto's tactical speed.

"I don't like the post very much," Dollase said. "We'll make the most of it. He has to be forwardly placed from that spot."

Ghetto is likely to be in pursuit of Liberian Freighter, the expected favorite. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Liberian Freighter broke a four-race streak of third-place finishes in stakes with a front-running win in an allowance race at Hollywood Park on Nov. 1. Liberian Freighter had a clear lead in that race and won by 1 1/2 lengths.

"He'll be our target," Dollase said.

Ghetto is coupled in the betting with Ten Meropa, the winner of the Grade 3 Baldwin Stakes last March who is trained by Jeff Mullins. Both colts are owned by A&R Stables and Class Racing Stables.

The field includes two European imports: Fifteen Love and Icemancometh.

Fifteen Love, now trained by Bobby Frankel, won two major handicaps in England earlier this year, beating 27 rivals in June and 17 rivals in August.

Icemancometh, now trained by Mike Mitchell, won three races in Ireland earlier this year, including a front-running win in an allowance.

The War Chant will be the third start of the year for Slew's Tiznow, who won the El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar in August but was 10th in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last month.