09/01/2002 11:00PM

Hollywood Honey makes her return


DEL MAR, Calif. - The last time Hollywood Honey was entered to race, she was to run in a field that included the likes of Holiday Runner, Posse, and Zavata. Those 2-year-olds all have gone on to be nationally ranked while Hollywood Honey has been out of sight, out of mind.

All that will change on Wednesday at Del Mar. Hollywood Honey, who has not raced since a dazzling debut victory at Santa Anita on March 21, returns to the races in the $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes, for California-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Hollywood Honey made her debut in one of those two-furlong races at Santa Anita that resemble a Quarter Horse race. Sent off at 2-5, she flew out of the gate and won by an amazing 3 1/2 lengths, a huge margin for a race that short.

Wesley Ward, the trainer of Hollywood Honey, then sent her to Churchill Downs for the WHAS Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard. But Ward had to scratch Hollywood Honey when she emerged from a workout with some soreness.

"She came out of her last work a little bit off," Ward said Monday morning at Del Mar. "Dr. Alex Harthill couldn't diagnose anything. We did nuclear scintigraphy on her, and a couple of spots lit up, so we decided to give her some time. Now, she's back."

Hollywood Honey has trained steadily at Del Mar this summer, but her workout times have not been flashy. Ward said she has been under snug restraint in her works. The Generous Portion is a starting point for a comeback.

"She's trained very well up to this race," Ward said. "She's the type that if you wanted to, you could work her in 58. She's just been breezing. Her last work was impressive. She went in 1:02, but she did it in a gallop."

Hollywood Honey, a daughter of Distinctive Cat, was purchased as a yearling for $55,000 last summer at Del Mar.

A full field of 12 entered the Generous Portion. The top challengers to Hollywood Honey should be Amber Hills, Servaline, and Summer Wind Dancer.

Amber Hills, a maiden winner at Hollywood Park, had a rough trip in the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Stakes the first week of the meet here.

Servaline, a $2 million yearling purchase, beat statebred maidens in her third lifetime start on Aug. 16.

Summer Wind Dancer won her lone start, beating Servaline at Del Mar on Aug. 2, despite having to steady at the start of the race.

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