07/23/2004 12:00AM

Good situation for Pohave


DEL MAR, Calif. - With his victory in the Triple Bend Handicap earlier this month at Hollywood Park, ascended to the top of California's sprint division, a spot abdicated by the traveling Pico Central in recent months. Pohave will seek to solidify his hold on that position, and win consecutive races for the first time in his 26-race career, in Sunday's Grade 1, $250,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar.

The Crosby features the first four finishers from the Grade 1 Triple Bend, with the added element of last year's winner, Beau's Town, shipping in from the Midwest.

The Crosby, at six furlongs, is a furlong shorter than the Triple Bend, but Pohave might be even better at this distance. He beat Marino Marini, a wickedly fast stablemate from Doug O'Neill's barn, in Hollywood's Los Angeles Handicap going six furlongs in May.

"We weren't planning on coming back this quick, but he's got a chance at another Grade 1, and there's not a lot of sprint opportunities," O'Neill said Friday morning. "You have to play it by ear with him. He's a little temperamental. When he's in the right frame of mind, you have to fire away. He's better running every three or four weeks than having three months in between starts."

Pohave led Rojo Toro, Revello, and Kela across the line in the Triple Bend. Rojo Toro, who has largely been a disappointment since early in his 3-year-old year, reached back for a terrific effort, losing by only three-quarters of a length at 52-1.

Revello has improved sharply since being claimed by trainer Ted H. West. He got to the front at midstretch of the Triple Bend, but faltered late. A turn back to six furlongs is in his favor.

Kela returns to a main track on which he has finished first or second in four of five starts. His closing charge came up 2 1/4 lengths short in the Triple Bend.

Beau's Town shipped in for last year's Bing Crosby and made a memorable impression. He flirted with King of Cricket's 1973 track record of 1:07.60, stopping the timer in 1:07.96. His form coming into last year's race was superior to this year, but he seems to be cycling back to his best.

Disturbingthepeace won the Crosby two years ago, then lost six straight before capturing last year's Pat O'Brien, this track's other important sprint stakes. Disturbingthepeace has been off since then, and trainer Darrell Vienna said he may scratch in favor of an easier spot.