06/24/2008 12:00AM

Heatseeker burns up track

Benoit & Associates
Heatseeker runs a fastest-of-59 five furlongs on Sunday at Hollywood Park under Rafael Bejarano.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Jerry Hollendorfer's stopwatch failed him when his star older horse Heatseeker worked at Hollywood Park on Sunday morning. Considering what Hollendorfer saw, it was not a major concern.

Hollendorfer timed Heatseeker's workout in 59.47 seconds. The official time was 57.80 seconds, the fastest of 59 works at the distance. The times may have differed, but one thing is certain: Heatseeker is ripe for his third major stakes win of 2008 in Saturday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup.

"It looks like a good workout," said Hollendorfer in his typical understated manner. "It looks like he was breezing to me."

Heatseeker was ridden by Rafael Bejarano in the workout. Heatseeker was supposed to work alone, but he joined another horse on the turn and pulled clear of that horse in the final furlong.

Owned by William de Burgh, Heatseeker, 5, will be favored in the Gold Cup following his win by 5o1/4 lengths as the even-money favorite in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on May 31. Earlier this year, he won the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap at 1 1/4 miles, the same distance as the Gold Cup.

"We know the horse, and he's in top form," Hollendorfer said. "You hope they can remain consistent, and that's a component that makes him a good horse. It makes you feel good to have a horse like that in the barn."

Heatseeker will carry top weight of 123 pounds, spotting his expected rivals from two to 10 pounds. Tiago, who beat Heatseeker in the Oaklawn Handicap in April and was second in the Californian, will carry 121 pounds. The weights of the other probable starters are: Student Council, 117 pounds; Big Booster, 116; McCann's Mojave and Perfect Drift, 115; and Racketeer, 113.

Go Between, who was second in the Big Cap and was assigned 118 pounds, might also run, trainer Bill Mott said.

Racketeer, who will be making his Grade 1 debut and first start for trainer Barry Abrams, worked six furlongs in 1:11.20 on Sunday, the fastest of 21 works at the distance.

Perfect Drift, 9, worked seven furlongs in 1:25 at Santa Anita. He will try to become the oldest winner of the Gold Cup. Trained by Richard Mandella for Stonecrest Farm, Perfect Drift finished third in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on turf on May 26 in his 2008 debut.

"I couldn't imagine him being better," Mandella said.

Still, Mandella is realistic about Perfect Drift's chances. "It will take a helluva horse to beat Heatseeker," he said.