05/12/2011 4:12PM

Hollywood Park: Haimish Hy back on course he loves

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Haimish Hy won the biggest race of his career in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on turf last November, a performance he failed to duplicate in four starts at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting earlier this year.

The losing streak may put off bettors, but trainer Art Sherman is anxious to start Haimish Hy at Hollywood Park in Saturday’s $150,000 Jim Murray Handicap over 1 1/2 miles, hoping familiarity with the venue will help the 4-year-old colt.

“I know he hasn’t run the races I want him to,” Sherman said. “I’m hoping to get him back on the game plan. He seems to love this course. Horses change when they go to different places. I’ve got a good feeling about it.”

Haimish Hy is part of a field of six in the Grade 2 Murray, which has three horses that run near the front – defending champion Acclamation, the mare Restless Soul and the Turf Paradise invader All Saint – and three closers, which include Buenos Dias and Falcon Rock who have placed in stakes in the last year.

A quick pace is vital for Haimish Hy’s chances, Sherman said. In his last two starts at Santa Anita, a fourth in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes on a sloppy main track in March and a seventh in the marathon San Juan Capistrano last month, Haimish Hy was eager early, which cost him in the stretch. In the San Juan Capistrano, Haimish Hy was sent off as the 5-2 favorite, pulled jockey Mike Smith in the first half of the race and was beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Juniper Pass.

“I hope he’ll relax a little bit on this track,” Sherman said. “He was a little rough in the race over a mile and three-quarters.”

Acclamation is winless in four starts since the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap last June. In two starts this year, Acclamation was fifth in the Frank Kilroe Mile on turf at Santa Anita in March and last of 10 in the Grade 3 Charles Town Classic on a sloppy track in West Virginia on April 16.

All Saint won four consecutive minor stakes at Turf Paradise from December to early April. The Murray is his first start in Southern California since an eighth in the Ralph Hinds Pomona Invitational last September.

Falcon Rock is a threat from off the pace. He was fifth in the San Juan Capistrano, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.