05/29/2006 11:00PM

Harriett Lane to Honeymoon


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Through the first five weeks of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting, Ted H. West is one of the few trainers with a perfect record - 2 wins from 2 starters.

"You could look at it that way, or that I've only run two horses," he said earlier this week.

West will risk his stable's unbeaten record Sunday, when Harriett Lane starts in the Grade 2, $175,000 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies. Harriett Lane will be trying to win her first graded stakes.

The race has been a goal for West and owners Susan Magnier and Toby Keith, the country music star, since Harriett Lane finished a game second as the favorite in the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita on April 8. In March, she won the La Habra Stakes on the hillside turf course.

Harriett Lane was considered for the Senorita Stakes here May 6, but was pulled from the race with a week to go after West said he was not happy with her condition.

"She was running great, but she never looked the way we wanted her to look," West said. "We gave her a couple of weeks off, and she's where we want her to be. Her coat never looked good; now she has dapples."

In the Honeymoon, Harriett Lane will face Arlene, Attima, Foxysox, Galileo's Star, and Proxenia. Foxysox is the 122-pound topweight. She is unbeaten in four starts since arriving from England last winter, including the China Doll, Providencia, and Senorita stakes.

The winner of the Honeymoon is essentially guaranteed a start in the $750,000 American Oaks at 1 1/4 miles on turf on July 2.

"She'll have to run well in this one, but it's in the back of our minds," West said of the American Oaks. "Judging from the physical improvement she's shown, I think she'll take a good step forward."

West said he intended to have more than two runners in the first half of this meeting, but said that some potential starters were entered for races that did not fill and that the barn is low on horses. He said he has "about 13 or 14 that I can run and a couple that we're giving time to."

"We lost some via claim and haven't been able to replace them," West said.

The stable recently added a few horses bought privately from other circuits, including Premium Saltine, a stakes winner in Iowa.

The stable's best sprinter, Jet West, is nearing a comeback following a third-place finish in the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai in March. Jet West won the California Cup Sprint last November at Santa Anita for owner Bruce Hochman.

Jet West is about a month from a start. The $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar on July 30 is a long-term goal, West said.

West said he considered starting Jet West in the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint on Saturday, but said Jet West is not ready.

"He's still a little knocked out by the trip" to Dubai, West said. "He's about 90 percent. I didn't want to ship him and have him be at 90 percent. We'll probably look for a race in a month."

Proud Tower Too to resume training

Proud Tower Too, the winner of the Golden Shaheen and three other stakes in the last six months, is set to return to training this week after a two-month break.

Trainer Sal Gonzalez said that Proud Tower Too was scheduled to arrive at his Hollywood Park stable late Tuesday, following a 12-hour van ride from owner Daniel Cardenas's farm in New Mexico.

Proud Tower Too, 4, has spent the last two months in New Mexico, recovering from a winter campaign that included wins in the On Trust Handicap and Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in December and the Sensational Star Handicap in February.

In Dubai, Proud Tower Too earned $1.2 million by beating fellow California-bred Thor's Echo by 1 1/4 lengths in the six-furlong race on a straightaway. Proud Tower Too has won 7 of 19 starts and $1,632,264.

"We'll start training" later this week, Gonzalez said. "He's getting ready to come back. He's put on about 80 pounds."

Gonzalez said that Proud Tower Too has been exercising on a European-style walker in recent weeks that allows a horse to walk or jog in a high-walled ring without being tethered to a conventional walker.

Gonzalez mentioned the Bing Crosby as a goal for Proud Tower Too.

Better prognosis for Balance

Balance, who underwent surgery to have a bone chip removed from an ankle Saturday, is expected to miss 60 days of training, a month less than originally thought, trainer David Hofmans said earlier this week.

Before the surgery, the prognosis called for a 90-day break, but Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, who conducted the operation, told Hofmans that Balance's ankle was in better shape than he thought.

"There was no damage to the joint," Hofmans said. McIlwraith "said the ankle looked really good."

Owned by John and Jerry Amerman, Balance won two Grade 1 races earlier this year - the Las Virgenes Stakes and Santa Anita Oaks. She finished third in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in April and 11th in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs last month.

With a shorter period of recuperation, Hofmans said he is hoping that Balance can be ready for a race during the Hollywood Park fall meeting.