12/13/2004 1:00AM

Hollywood Story wins Bayakoa Handicap


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - George Krikorian shows pictures at his eponymous movie theaters, but for the longest time, neither his best runner, Hollywood Story, nor his trainer, John Shirreffs, got their picture taken.

Hollywood Story ended that drought on Sunday by overcoming a speed-favoring track and a wide trip to capture the Grade 2, $150,000 at Hollywood Park. But Shirreffs, ever reticent, stayed out of the winner's circle pictures, despite pleadings from Krikorian and his large entourage.

"I'm actually doing the photographer a favor. They just don't realize it," Shirreffs said as he stood off to the side.

Hollywood Story ($12.20) was pretty as a picture. She ran down the stubborn leader, Royally Chosen, inside the final furlong to win by one length in 1:41.11 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track. Royally Chosen, who overtook pacesetter Essence at the top of the stretch, finished two lengths in front of favored A.P. Adventure, who was making her first start since the Kentucky Oaks.

The victory was only the second for Hollywood Story, who has raced against her division's elite since debuting against maidens in Aug. 2003. In 11 subsequent starts, she has raced eight times in Grade 1 races, including a victory in last year's Hollywood Starlet, her only previous victory. She had finished 10th of 11 in her previous start, the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

"She had been training super. This is obviously our home track," said Shirreffs, who trains year-round at Hollywood Park. "She was just ready for this race. She looked great in the paddock."

Hollywood Story started from the outside post in the field of seven. She remained wide the entire trip under Victor Espinoza.

"Even though she went wide on both turns, she keeps her mind in the game in a really good way," Shirreffs said. "Unless things break just perfectly, you're going to be two or three wide going into the turns. And that's what happened, but she's good enough horse to handle it."

Shirreffs has now won the Bayakoa four times in its last seven runnings. He won with Manistique in 1998 and 1999, and with Starrer -- also owned by Krikorian -- in 2002.

Hollywood Story, a 3-year-old daughter of Wild Rush, has won twice in 12 starts, but by picking up minor awards in major races she has now earned $643,605.