05/17/2011 3:15PM

Hollywood: Senator Bob tries Hollywood

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Senator Bob possessed qualities beyond sheer size and suitable form that appealed to owner Calvin Nguyen and trainer Jim Kasparoff when the gelding showed up in a $25,000 turf claimer at Golden Gate.

“The things we liked most were he was a Cal-bred, and he demonstrated soundness with 20 starts,” Kasparoff said. “I watched some of his races and said, hey, the horse looks okay. He’s got some speed, which you like.”

Kasparoff has an affinity for horses who have gas and are named “Bob.” His best horse was Grade 1-winning sprinter Bob Black Jack, who won six races and $684,925 from 11 starts.

Kasparoff flew April 14 to Golden Gate for a last-minute inspection of Senator Bob, who had not raced for a tag since his second career start as a 2-year-old. Kasparoff liked what he saw, dropped the claim, and watched Senator Bob finish a troubled third. He shipped to Hollywood Park soon after.

“He’s done well since we’ve had him,” Kasparoff said. “He’s got some size to him. He has never won on grass, so I’d have to say he’s probably a better synthetic horse.”

Thursday at Hollywood, Senator Bob makes his first start for Nguyen and Kasparoff in a statebred allowance that sets up perfectly. Only five entered the 1 1/16-mile race on Cushion Track; 2-for-21 Senator Bob could be the controlling speed.

He also benefits switching to a jockey with a soft touch, Rafael Bejarano. It should lead to a better trip than the fiasco last out. Senator Bob fought his rider hard, while so visibly uncomfortable Golden Gate announcer Michael Wrona termed it “racing fiercely.”

Despite his unwillingness to settle and being blocked on the far turn and into the lane, Senator Bob finished surprisingly well for third. He lost by three-quarters of a length to multiple winners Tropical Heat and Deal Breaker. Deal Breaker returned to win his next start.

Senator Bob’s four rivals Thursday are one-for-career maiden winners. Without question, it is an easier field than he faced last time.

Senator Bob’s rivals Thursday in race 7 include recent maiden winner Spud Spivens, stretch-out maiden sprint winner on My Honor, and Snow Chief Stakes runner-up Woodmans Luck. Excelling, who improved last out when he was rated, also was entered.

The most probable winner Thursday also will be ridden by Bejarano. West Ruler drops in class in race 5, a turf sprint for allowance fillies and mares.