08/19/2001 11:00PM

High Demand vs. L'effaceur

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DEL MAR, Calif. - High Demand seeks his fifth straight victory in Wednesday's featured $65,000 allowance race at Del Mar, but he will have to catch the fleet L'effaceur, who appears to be the controlling speed in the one-mile turf race.

The feature, which goes as the third on an eight-race card, kicks off the penultimate week of racing at Del Mar, which closes two weeks from Wednesday, on Sept. 5. Six were entered in the race

High Demand, a regally bred son of Danzig, has successfully made the transition from dirt to turf. After losing his debut here last September, he has won four straight, including three on turf. He most recently beat a second-level allowance field by one length here going 1 1/16 miles on turf on July 22.

But High Demand will be tested this time by L'effaceur, who just failed to last when finishing third against a similar nonwinners-of-three field in his last start on July 26. L'effaceur, who had not raced since Oct. 21, ran off to a 10-length lead with jockey Tyler Baze midway through the 1 1/8-mile race, but tired in the final furlong and was caught late by both Quianlong and Fusaichi Zenon.

Jeff Mullins, who trains L'effaceur, expects an improved effort this time for several reasons.

"He was fresh last time," Mullins said Monday morning. "He probably won't be as rank this time. Chance Rollins usually rides him, but since he got hurt, I had to ride Tyler last time. Now that Tyler's ridden him, I think he'll be able to get him to relax better. And shortening up to a mile should help."

L'effaceur had a productive campaign on this circuit last year. He was a front-running winner of an allowance race on the Del Mar turf, led from start to finish in the Pomona Derby at Fairplex, and was fourth in the Oak Tree Derby, his final start of 2000.

"He had a little, tiny chip in an ankle," Mullins said. "He was going to get a break anyway, so we decided to go ahead and take it out."

L'effaceur has trained sharply for this race. On Aug. 13, he worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 on the Del Mar turf, the best work of nine at the distance that morning. "He's training really good," Mullins said.

Duke of Green, who has a history of running well fresh, returns from a 2 1/2-month layoff for trainer Ron McAnally. He won a division of the Oceanside Stakes on this course last summer.

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