05/15/2012 1:13PM

Hollywood Park: Ain may appreciate longer distance of turf feature


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – A stamina test over 1 1/4 miles on turf in a first-level optional $40,000 claimer may suit the lightly raced 5-year-old Ain at Betfair Hollywood Park on Thursday.

As a maiden at 3, Ain was second in the Emerald Derby over 1 1/8 miles at Emerald Downs in Washington. Since joining trainer Carla Gaines’s stable in Southern California in late 2010, Ain has made just four starts, including a maiden race win in his California debut in January 2011.

Winless in two starts this year, Ain finished sixth in races over seven furlongs and a mile at Santa Anita. He closed well in the final furlong of each start, suggesting that longer distances will suit the gelding.

Considering the competition in Thursday’s seventh race, Ain may need only to show slight improvement for a breakthrough performance. None of his six rivals has won this year.

The presence of jockey Joel Rosario enhances Ain’s chances. Rosario had 1 win in his first 32 starters in the first two weeks of the current spring-summer meeting, which began on April 26. Rosario had 8 wins from 21 mounts in a four-day racing weekend ending Sunday. Rosario won Sunday’s Round Table Stakes on Dhaamer.

Rosario rode Ain in the gelding’s most recent start, an optional claimer at Santa Anita on April 7.

Thursday’s race drew one horse from the Round Table entries in Falcon Rock, who was withdrawn from Sunday’s race. Trained by Simon Callaghan, Falcon Rock, 7, has been graded stakes-placed in his career, but has lost his last 15 starts. He has finished second through fifth in 13 of those races, including a third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup last November.

This year, Falcon Rock is winless in two starts. He was third in an optional claimer over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Santa Anita on April 20.

Falcon Rock was eligible to be claimed for $40,000 that day, and is entered for the same price on Thursday.

The likely pacesetters are Antidote, fourth behind Falcon Rock on April 20, and Danderek, third in an optional claimer over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita on March 24.

In Thursday’s fifth race, Tasty Treat can win her third race in her seventh start in an optional claimer over six furlongs on turf for California-bred fillies.

Tasty Treat must beat Darling Dodie, who was third in her debut against winners on April 8.