05/14/2006 11:00PM

Grey Swallow next tries to conquer Manhattan

Irish import Grey Swallow, winning the Jim Murray, can run on Lasix in the U.S.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It seems American racing suits Grey Swallow just fine.

Making his first start in this country in the Grade 2 Jim Murray Handicap at Hollywood Park on Saturday, Grey Swallow gave one of the best performance in an already outstanding career, drawing away from four overmatched rivals to win by five lengths.

"I thought he'd win, but I didn't think he'd win like that," said Robert Dolan, an assistant to Irish trainer Dermot Weld.

The Murray, run at 1 1/2 miles on turf, was Grey Swallow's 13th start in a career that already includes wins in the 2004 Irish Derby and the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland last year.

This week, Grey Swallow is scheduled to be sent to New York, where he will make his next start in the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Belmont Park on June 10.

Grey Swallow, 5, will face a tougher field in the Manhattan than he faced in the Murray. The race could include English Channel, who won the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 6.

Dolan insists that Grey Swallow is adaptable to the shorter distance of the Manhattan, citing his win in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at 1 5/16 miles.

"Between a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half, he's very good," Dolan said. "This was his prep for the Manhattan. He can run on any kind of ground."

Following the Manhattan, Grey Swallow is likely to stay in this country, though Weld stopped short of committing to that plan last Saturday. Dolan said he thinks that Grey Swallow can rise to the top of the American turf division. He said the use of Lasix in this country, which is not permitted in Ireland, helps Grey Swallow, who has bled on occasion.

"I think the medication is the key," he said. "I really think he can be the real deal out here. It will be hard to hand him over."

Grey Swallow is owned in part by Weld.

Grey Swallow's win in the Murray was part of a remarkable day for jockey Alex Solis, who swept the day's three graded stakes. He won the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap on Surf Cat and the Los Angeles Handicap for sprinters on Siren Lure.

It was not the best stakes day in Solis's career. He won four stakes on California Cup Day in 1996.

Californian next objective for Giacomo

Giacomo, the 2005 Kentucky Derby victor who is winless in four subsequent starts, breezed a half-mile in 51.60 seconds on Monday, moving closer to his first start since a fifth-place finish in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 4.

Giacomo worked alone at the end of morning training.

"He looked great today," trainer John Shirreffs said. "Today was his best since the Santa Anita Handicap. He did it on his own."

Shirreffs said that Giacomo will be considered for the Californian Stakes on June 17 with the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 8 his main goal for the meeting.

Rookie trainer saddles first winner

Trainer Jamie Lloyd, who had his first starter in March, won his first race with Brag in Sunday's fourth race. The victory came with Lloyd's 10th starter.

Lloyd's impressions of Brag's chances on Sunday wavered in the days before the race, but the filly rallied from off the pace to win the allowance race at a mile on turf.

"The three days before she ran I thought she'd win and then on race day, I thought, 'Am I dreaming?' " he said on Monday.

Brag is one of eight horses trained by Lloyd, all of whom are geared to turf. All of Lloyd's horses are owned by Jim Ford, either solely or in partnership. In 2004, Ford co-owned Ticker Tape, the winner of the American Oaks. At the time, Lloyd worked for Ticker Tape's trainer, Jim Cassidy. More recently, Lloyd worked as an assistant trainer to Paddy Gallagher, a position he recently left.

Lloyd was born in Newmarket, England, and grew up in that racing town, where his father worked on stud farms.

His stable includes Shermeen, who finished third in the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes on May 6. She is a candidate for the $65,000 Manhattan Beach Handicap at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf on May 29, Lloyd said.

Monday, Lloyd added an unraced 2-year-old Inchinor filly from England who was purchased at a 2-year-olds in training sale there for $75,000 earlier this year.

Plans for Balance still uncertain

Balance, the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Oaks on May 5, returned to the track for the first time since that race on Monday. Balance jogged 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

A winner of two Grade 1 stakes earlier this year, the Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks, Balance has lost her last two starts. She was third in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland last month.

Trainer David Hofmans said he has no race in mind for Balance. Earlier this month, he said she could appear on turf this summer.

"I won't think of it until she's back on her game," he said. "Then, I'll look for a spot."

Three from Gamely guaranteed CashCall berths

The first three finishers of the $300,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Stakes on May 29 will receive invitations to the $750,000 CashCall Mile on July 1, Hollywood Park announced over the weekend.

The Grade 1 Gamely is run at 1 1/8 miles on turf, and is one of the meeting's top turf races for females.

The Grade 3 CashCall Mile was formerly known as the Royal Heroine Stakes. The race was worth $250,000 last year. This year, it received a purse boost from CashCall, a loan company whose president is horse owner Paul Reddam.

The CashCall Mile is an invitational and will have a field limited to 12 starters. It is expected to draw fillies and mares from throughout the nation and possibly the world.

Reddam has two prospects for the Gamely - Sharp Lisa, who won the Santa Barbara Handicap last month at Santa Anita, and Dancing Edie, who finished second in the Fran's Valentine Stakes here on April 30.