12/11/2012 2:13PM

Hollywood Park: Turf or Cushion Track, Alley Hondro a go for Thursday feature

Benoit & Associates
Alley Hondro four career wins have come on turf. Rain could move Thursday's optional claimer to the main track of Hollywood, a synthetic surface.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Rain or shine, Alley Hondro is starting in Thursday’s seventh race at Betfair Hollywood Park.

With wet weather predicted for Southern California late Wednesday and into Thursday, the surface of Thursday’s seventh race, an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf, will not be known until closer to race time.

“We’re running either way,” trainer Peter Miller said.

Thursday’s program launches the final week of the Hollywood Park fall meeting, which ends Sunday. The Santa Anita winter-spring meeting begins Dec. 26.

Alley Hondro is part of a field of eight for the optional claimer and is entered for a $25,000 claiming price. If the race is transferred to the main track, Alley Hondro will make his first start on a synthetic surface since he finished second by a neck in a $62,500 claimer at Hollywood Park in October 2010. A 5-year-old gelding, Alley Hondro is winless in five starts on synthetic tracks, but has been second twice.

Miller said he has been pleased with the way that Alley Hondro has trained on Hollywood’s Cushion Track main track.

Alley Hondro was claimed for $40,000 by Miller at Del Mar in August. In four subsequent starts, Alley Hondro has one win – an optional claimer over a mile on turf here Nov. 16, which is his last race. Overall, Alley Hondro has won 4 of 20 starts, with all the wins on turf.

“When we claimed him, we were kind of thinking we’ll try him on the main track,” Miller said.

Alley Hondro started in an optional claimer on dirt at Fairplex Park in September, but the gelding was rank for jockey Edwin Maldonado and finished last of six.

“It wasn’t any gauge,” Miller said.

Regardless of which surface is used Thursday, the optional claimer lacks a standout.

Alley Hondro, who will be ridden by Corey Nakatani, is one of two starters to have won their last race. Unusual Beam, who has drawn the inside, won a maiden race for California-breds over 1 1/16 miles Nov. 30. That race was scheduled for turf, but was switched to the main track because of wet conditions.

Candy’s Sunrise and Slammer Time are capable of winning.

Candy’s Sunrise was second to Blue Jay Attack in an optional claimer over six furlongs on turf Nov. 25. This will be his first start around two turns.

Slammer Time won the 2010 California Cup Juvenile at Hollywood Park, but has lost his last nine starts.