04/21/2011 5:05PM

Hollywood Park: Thirtyfirststreet back with statebreds


INGLEWOOD, Calif.- Although Thirtyfirststreet has lost his last two starts, a change in equipment and a return to the statebred ranks will make him a strong favorite in Saturday’s $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park.

After winning the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes over seven furlongs at Santa Anita in December, Thirtyfirststreet finished a troubled fourth in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes over 1 1/16 miles in February and ninth in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes over 1 1/8 miles at Turfway Park on March 26.

Thirtyfirststreet will be fitted with blinkers for the 1 1/8-mile Cushion Track race for 3-year-olds, and trainer Doug O’Neill hopes the change will help the colt stay focused.

“Not that he was on the lazy side, but he’s even more giving early in his exercise than he was prior to adding the blinkers,” O’Neill said. “We have noticed he’s more in the bridle early. I don’t think he’ll be that far out of it early and hopefully in the mix late.”

O’Neill dismisses the loss over the synthetic track at Turfway Park, a last attempt to earn a berth in the Kentucky Derby. “He did not care for the track there at Turfway Park,” he said. “We’re putting a line through that. Prior to the race he did nothing but try.”

The loss in the Lewis, finishing six lengths behind Anthony’s Cross, frustrated O’Neill, since Thirtyfirststreet broke slowly and moved from seventh on the backstretch to fourth at the wire. “I think the race that he ran in the Bob Lewis with a clean break, that kind of effort puts him right there,” O’Neill said.

Owned by a partnership that includes breeder Mark Gorman, Thirtyfirststreet won a maiden race over 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park last November before his stakes win at Santa Anita. By Good Journey, Thirtyfirststreet has yet to win around two turns, but does not face a strong field in the Snow Chief, which drew a field of seven.

“This is our Kentucky Derby,” O’Neill said. “If we get it done we’ll do a lot of celebrating.”

Burns and Chiloquin are capable of spoiling that party.

Burns won an allowance race for statebreds over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on April 2, leaving trainer Barry Abrams anxious to try the longer Snow Chief.

“He’s a good horse, but he’s been in bad situations when he had to steady,” Abrams said. “Last time, he ran like him can. We took him back and he made a run. The key thing is that he relaxes.”

Chiloquin was third in an optional claimer for 3-year-olds against open company over a mile on April 3, closing from six lengths off the pace in the final furlong to miss catching Uncle Sam by three-quarters of a length. Trained by Scott Hansen, Chiloquin began his career in maiden claimers last year, but has run well around two turns this season.