05/03/2011 12:03PM

Hollywood Park: Porfido should benefit from race shape


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Derby winners do not run in claiming races. An exception will be made Thursday at Hollywood Park, where Porfido is the horse to beat in the race 7 feature, a 1 1/4-mile turf allowance/optional claimer.

Porfido is a 9-year-old whose North American career fell short of his South American accomplishments. He won 7 of 13 in Chile, including the 2005 Chilean Derby. But in the United States, Porfido has won just one of 29 for the late Bobby Frankel and current trainer Humberto Ascanio.

Expectations were always high for Porfido, excessively high as it turns out. He ran in 19 graded stakes in the United States and finished in the money five times while never quite good enough against company such as Lava Man, After Market, and Bourbon Bay.

The most recent effort by Porfido, a possibly better-than-looked effort in a $50,000 claimer, suggests he could post a rare win Thursday against five rivals, including Ducane, the likely pacesetter; Foolish Comment, a Euro-import who was sixth in this U.S. debut; and Temple’s Door, a recent debut winner. Victorian Prince and Balboa Bay also entered.

Racing one mile on turf last month, Porfido was blocked from the quarter pole to deep stretch. His sixth-place finish was inconclusive; when he finally found room to run in deep stretch, he was merely one-paced.

The extra quarter-mile Thursday favors Porfido, as does the race shape. Ducane and jockey Tyler Baze are expected to set the pace; Porfido and Joe Talamo are expected to be positioned alone in second. If and when Ducane falters, Porfido can inherit the lead.

Foolish Comment and Temple’s Door have the most upside. Foolish Comment finished sixth in his U.S. debut for trainer Neil Drysdale. A gelding by Giant’s Causeway, Foolish Comment pulled early and then went evenly late first start back. With a race under his belt and a longer distance Thursday, he can improve under David Flores.

Temple’s Door is the only 3-year-old in the field. He won his career debut March 31 in a $50,000 maiden-claimer at a mile on turf. The son of Leroidesanimaux is trained by Carla Gaines.

Balboa Bay won a $20,000 maiden-claimer last out, while the 4-for-31 veteran Victorian Prince has run races that put him somewhere in the mix.

The Thursday card starts the third week of spring-summer racing at Hollywood. There has yet to be a pick-six carryover at the meet.