06/14/2011 4:29PM

Hollywood Park: Screaming Regal, Lucky Mr. K tune up for future stakes

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – After game second-place finishes in April and May, Screaming Regal and Lucky Mr. K will start favored in optional claiming races at Hollywood Park on Thursday. The outcome of those races could push the two 3-year-olds closer to stakes races later this summer.

Screaming Regal is one of three 3-year-old fillies in Thursday’s fourth race, a first-level optional $25,000 for California-bred fillies and mares run over 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Trained by Eric Kruljac, Screaming Regal has not started since finishing second by a nose in the Melair Stakes for 3-year-old statebred fillies here on April 23.

Kruljac said Screaming Regal has thrived since that race, and said the filly by Old Topper prefers two turns.

“She seems like the longer the better,” Kruljac said. “She’s been training great.”

Screaming Regal was scheduled to be schooled in the starting gate on Wednesday to reduce the chances of a repeat of the start of the Melair, when she broke slowly and closed from last in a field of 10 to lose by a nose to Miles Rules.

“I think it will be an experience thing,” Kruljac said of the schooling. “She isn’t a filly I want to drill out of the gate and get her all wound up.”

A winner of 1 of 6 starts, Screaming Regal has five rivals. Meltarib, the winner of a one-mile maiden race on turf on May 13, breaks from the rail and is a threat from off the pace.

Lucky Mr. K placed in two stakes last year, including a third in the I’m Smokin Stakes at Del Mar in September. Trained by Jeff Bonde for a partnership, Lucky Mr. K was second in his first start of 2011, an optional claimer for statebreds over six furlongs on turf on May 14. Dance With Gable, who won that race, returned to win a $35,000 claiming race on turf last Sunday.

“He ran a nice race in his last start,” Bonde said. “For an inexperienced 3-year-old, I thought he ran well first race back.”

Lucky Mr. K starts in Thursday’s seventh race, a first-level optional $25,000 claimer for Cal-breds at six furlongs. Lucky Mr. K breaks from the outside in a field of seven, which includes the six-time winners Big Bad Leroybrown and Pack Your Bags, who are entered to be claimed.