06/26/2013 1:30PM

Hollywood Park: Win could propel R S Watson to Swaps


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – R S Watson is unbeaten in two starts at the Betfair Hollywood Park meeting, with an excellent chance to extend that streak in a first-level $80,000 optional claimer on Friday.

If R S Watson can beat four rivals in the race at 1 1/16 miles, he may not be done for meeting, which ends on July 14. Trainer Adam Kitchingman said he would entertain running R S Watson in the $150,000 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles next Thursday.

“If he wins it and he looks good,I’ll bring him back in six days,” Kitchingman said. “I don’t mind doing it once in a while.”

Owned by Kitchingman and John Elick, R S Watson won a $40,000 maiden claiming race at 1 1/16 miles by a half-length on April 25 and followed with a win by 4 1/4 lengths in a starter allowance on May 24. Last summer, R S Watson was third in the Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park in his second start.

Kitchingman said the difference this year is that R S Watson prefers racing over longer distances.

“He’s wanted to go long and since we’ve started doing that, he’s woken up,” Kitchingman said. “His last race was super impressive.”

R S Watson will be ridden by Edwin Maldonado, who was aboard for the two recent wins. R S Watson breaks from the outside in a field that includes Say Ow, Curly Top, Scherer Magic, and Belvin.

Scherer Magic won the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship last July, as well as an optional claimer, when available to be claimed for $80,000, on May 23. Scherer Magic was third against older horses in an optional claimer at 7 1/2 furlongs on June 8.

Friday’s race will be the longest of Scherer Magic’s career and is an experiment, trainer John Sadler said.

“We want to find out” about the distance, Sadler said. “If he can, it opens up a lot of races.”

Trainer Bob Baffert starts Belvin and Curly Top, who were second and third behind Swaps hopeful Chief Havoc in an optional claimer at 1 1/8 miles on May 30. Curly Top won a maiden special weight race at Santa Anita in January. Belvin was unplaced in two sprint stakes earlier this year.

Say Ow starts from the rail. Trained by Julio Canani, Say Ow beat maidens in his seventh start here on May 25.