08/26/2009 11:00PM

Hollywood Harbor stretches in Lads


AUBURN, Wash. - Hollywood Harbor, a two-time stakes winner at the meeting, will try to carry his speed around two turns Saturday in the $50,000 WTBA Lads for 2-year-old colts and geldings at Emerald Downs. The one-mile Lads is the eighth event on a 10-race card beginning at 2 p.m.

Though his career began with a troubled second in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race, Hollywood Harbor quickly atoned with front-running victories in the restricted Strong Ruler Stakes and then the Premio Esmeralda, earning consecutive 78 Beyer Speed Figures. In the latter, the Washington-bred son of Harbor the Gold sprinted through 21.20- and 43.80-second splits en route to a 1:09 clocking for six furlongs.

The only horse to defeat Hollywood Harbor, Forener, is in training at Saratoga, leaving the juvenile male division in Hollywood Harbor's firm grasp as the Emerald meeting enters its final month. After the Lads, the remaining targets for 2-year-old males include the restricted, $50,000 Dennis Dodge Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on Sept. 13 and the $75,000 Gottstein Futurity at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 26.

A year ago, Gallant Son parlayed victories in the Lads and the Gottstein Futurity into a berth in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

Trained by Chris Stenslie, Hollywood Harbor will break from post 6 under regular rider Jose Zunino. With just one committed speed horse to his inside, he figures to have a relatively easy time getting to the front by the time they straighten into the backstretch. After that, it will be a question of whether Hollywood Harbor takes to the extra distance.

His chief competition could come from a horse with remarkably similar breeding. Koala Beach, who was second behind Hollywood Harbor in the Strong Ruler Stakes and third in the Premio Esmeralda, shares the same sire, Harbor the Gold. And Koala Beach's dam, Kittyzallwet, is Hollywood Harbor's half-sister (both Kittyzallwet and Hollywood Harbor are from the Slewdledo mare Miss Slewette).

Koala Beach drew the post 2 and will be ridden by Gallyn Mitchell for trainer Doris Harwood. Harwood also will send out Untilifindyou, an impressive maiden winner in his last start. Leading rider Ricky Frazier has the call on Untilifindyou, who has the speed to keep Hollywood Harbor busy early.