05/13/2011 3:30PM

Hollywood Park: Bench Points cuts back to better distance for Laz Barrera

Benoit & Associates
Bench Points will shorten up to seven furlongs for Sunday's Laz Barrera.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Practicality returns Sunday at Hollywood Park for a handful of good 3-year-old sprinters who either survived the Kentucky Derby trail, or dodged it altogether.

A favorable pace scenario stamps Bench Points as most likely winner of the Grade 3 Lazaro Barrera, a seven-furlong stakes that is his first start since finishing seventh in the Santa Anita Derby.

“He basically told us he’s not a mile and one-eighth horse,” trainer Tim Yakteen said. “Right now, we’re going to concentrate on going one turn. This is the logical spot.”

The $100,000 Barrera is the perfect spot for Bench Points, a closer. The race is loaded with heat. The field includes 44-and-change speedballs Runflatout and Flightofalifetime; streaking Ain’t No Other, a presser who has won five straight; and Sinai.

Bench Points, a California-bred gelding by Benchmark, went 3 for 3 as a juvenile before he was sidelined with a chip in a knee. When he won his Feb. 11 comeback, Derby fever took hold. Bench Points ran third in the San Felipe, and seventh in the Santa Anita Derby.

“He lost some weight during that little campaign,” Yakteen said. “We freshened him up, and we got that weight back on. Hopefully we’ll rebound into form going one turn.”

Rafael Bejarano rides Bench Points, who drew the outside post in a five-horse field.

Northern California-based Ain’t No Other is making his second trip to Hollywood Park. Trained by Steve Miyadi, he won the $85,000 Harry Henson Stakes on turf April 21, his fifth straight win. Patrick Valenzuela rides the California-bred gelding from post 4.

“I’ve got two speed horses to the inside, and I can sit off of [the pace] like I did last time,” Valenzuela said.

Ain’t No Other is a California-bred gelding sired by Old Topper.

The fastest locals are drawn in the two inside posts – Runflatout and Flightofalifetime. Runflatout won his debut Jan. 29 with a 98 Beyer, and then was thrown to the wolves. He set blazing fractions in the San Felipe, faded passing the quarter pole, and finished last.

Flightofalifetime finished second in his debut, seven lengths behind 114-Beyer winner Maclean’s Music. Three weeks later, Flightofalifetime won a maiden race “ridden out.” He has had five weeks between starts, has worked super in the interim, and enters as the best of the speed. He is trained by Bob Baffert, who also starts Sinai.

The Barrera is race 3 on nine-race card.