12/13/2004 12:00AM

Hollywood pick six shifted off turf


Two races were transferred from turf to dirt during the pick six at Hollywood Park on Saturday after riders expressed concern about the safety of the course.

The decision to switch surfaces was made after the fourth race was official. The fourth race was the first leg of a pick six that featured a two-day carryover of $300,358. Bettors added $1,269,925 to the pool on Saturday.

When the announcement was made that the fifth and ninth races had been taken off the turf, the ontrack crowd reacted with a chorus of boos.

Several riders voiced their concerns about the course to management after the third race, an allowance race over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Track officials and riders discussed the condition of the course before the fourth race. Some jockeys who rode the fourth race reportedly spoke with management after that race was run.

Steward George Slender said the jockeys termed the turf "boggy and slippery. If they felt it was unsafe, there was nothing we could do."

Hollywood Park's president, Rick Baedeker, said the track was left with no option.

"When those guys express concern for safety, that's the end of the discussion," Baedeker said of the jockeys.

The turf course was not used on Dec. 8 and 9 after steady rain on Dec. 5 and 7 left the course saturated.

The riders criticized the condition of the turf course after two races were run on the surface on Friday.

"It was not very good. It was too soft," said Victor Espinoza, who rode the course on Friday. "It's not very safe for the horses - or the riders."

Hollywood Park's general manager, Eual Wyatt Jr., said the course was inspected on Saturday morning after being used for three workouts.

"It was improved from yesterday," Wyatt said Saturday. "Some spots have dried quicker than others. It was a slow rain. It didn't run off the course. It had a chance to seep in."

Four horses were scratched from the two races transferred to the dirt. Both races were won by the favorites - Red Warrior ($7.40) in the fifth race and Alexander Charlote ($5.60) in the ninth.

Bettors whose horses were scratched had their tickets transferred to the favorite. Red Warrior was favored by $2 over fourth-place finisher West War.