11/13/2002 12:00AM

Grass no longer off limits


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Hollywood Park is rapidly making up for lost opportunity. The main draw of the autumn meet is turf racing, but unseasonably wet weather pushed most of the scheduled turf racing opening week onto the main track. Only three of the first 49 races were run on turf.

It changes this week. The storm has passed, the turf course is back in full use, and three of the eight races Friday night are scheduled for grass. A 5 1/2-furlong allowance goes as the first race; maiden fillies and mares race 5 1/2 furlongs in the fourth; and California-bred allowance horses go 1 1/16 miles in the seventh race.

While the first race attracted the highest quality, it also drew the lowest number of entrants. Only six fillies and mares entered the three-other-than/optional $80,000 claimer, including favorite Lil Sister Stich, trained by Doug O'Neill. The 5-year-old Lil Sister Stich scored her seventh win from 16 starts on Nov. 2 when she won the $150,000 Cal Cup Distaff under Laffit Pincay Jr.

Pincay, however, instead rides comebacker Ivory Tower, a Group 1 winner in Argentina whose two United States starts resulted in third- and sixth-place finishes. Trained by Ron McAnally, Ivory Tower will be racing for the first time since February. Spunky Gal, winner of the E.G. Johnston Stakes in September at Fairplex Park, figures as a leading contender, while Ayanna tries to regain the form that saw her win three straight sprints late in her 2-year-old season. She has finished off the board in her last four races.

The maiden turf sprint that goes as the fourth race attracted nine starters, including 3-year-old filly Kelli's Ransom. Trained by Gary Mandella, she has not raced since finishing second in a turf route Aug. 10 at Del Mar. Her rivals include fast-working first-time starter Neighbora, fast-working comebacker Laker Girl, and Jeddah Harbor, a $425,000 filly by Boston Harbor.

The best dirt race Friday is the sixth, a seven-furlong sprint for one-other-than allowance runners. The likely favorite is Albert G, whose highly rated maiden win last time out earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure and was validated when runner-up Total Limit and third-place finisher Pohave returned to win their next start. Albert G meets Kentucky shipper Smile N Wildcat, Big Apple, and Primerica.

In the seventh race, a field of 10 California-breds race 1 1/16 miles on grass in a wide-open one-other-than allowance. Contenders include Onetrickphoney, Sharp Boi, Good Meeting, Good Ol' Uncle Joe, and Easy Game.

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