07/12/2004 11:00PM

Hollywood Wednesday handicapper's analysis


Note: Brad Free's analysis for the Wednesday, July 14 Hollywood card was inadvertently omitted from Wednesday Southern California print editions of Daily Racing Form. Free's Wednesday analysis appears in its entirety below. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our print customers.


BEST BET: Madringa (7th race)

First Race

1. Gassan Rock 2. Onlyamatteroftime 3. Malibu Baby

Both favorites are front-runners, so something must give when GASSAN ROCK and ONLYAMATTEROFTIME hook up on the front end. The edge goes to 'ROCK, who drops from $32,000 to $16,000 and might be quicker than his main foe. He also is the field's only multiple winner on this circuit, and if he can put away ONLYAMATTEROFTIME he can be gone. However, 'TIME looked good blowing away maiden-claimers by eight lengths with a huge speed figure. Trouble is, he gained the win by coasting on a slow pace. He won't get the luxury this time. Can he be effective chasing the pace instead of setting it? If so, he can win this. MALIBU BABY will be grinding away late in a field that lacks a serious stretch-runner. Claimed off a modest second last time out, 'BABY will be finishing. But how fast?

Second Race

1. Ms Mintons Excess 2. Bench Press 3. Pachiro

There is no shortage of pace here, and MS MINTONS EXCESS can rally for an overdue win at the level. Runner-up in two straight, he finished four legnths clear of third last time out while running a winning race, and he should be able to tag the front-runners late. BENCH PRESS ran super in his first try around two turns, and first off the claim. He's probably a little bit qucker than the horse to his outside (PACHIRO), and these maiden-40 starter allowance types are no tougher than the 3-year-old claimers that BENCH PRESS faced last time when he finished second, four lengths clear of third. They'll have to catch him. PACHIRO will be breathing down the front-runner's neck, while stretcher-outer REIGNING STORM adds more heat.

Third Race

1. Bold Stock 2. Gray Black N White 3. Big Squeeze

BOLD STOCK's runner-up debut was flattered Sunday when the horse who beat him (Patriot's Pass) returned to crush allowance company. BOLD STOCK is bred to appreciate this longer distance (by A.P. Indy), and should make a forward move on the stretch-out. He will be seriously overbet however, and two others enter the race with similar form patterns. They are GRAY BLACK N WHITE and BIG SQUEEZE. An even-paced fourth by GRAY BLACK N WHITE in his sprint comeback should set him up for this longer race, while BIG SQUEEZE split the field in his sprint debut, and he is certainly bred to run long. WANTED MAN is just a late-running counterfeit, but he does have a series of route races under his belt, and that's something none of the top three have.

Fourth Race

1. Conceal the Deal 2. Awesome Lady 3. Mazella

This is the right level for CONCEAL THE DEAL, who showed one start back she can sit behind the speed and still provide a finishing kick. She'll get that trip in a race with ample speed. Up one notch from her most recent winning level, she should be able to tuck in right behind the pacesetters and reel them in late. AWESOME LADY is the one to catch, up from $32,000 to $50,000 claiming after a facile five-length win. The knock is that it was her career-best effort, for a different trainer and jockey, and the win earned only modest pace and speed figures. On the other hand, it was an impressive runaway win, and she has shown she can survive pace battles. MAZELLA drops into the claiming ranks for the first time, and her versatile running style allows her to push the pace early or rally from behind. CHARLIZE and IFLOOKSCOULDKILL add pace to the lineup.

Fifth Race

1. Spencer's Magic 2. We Have a Problem 3. McManus

SPENCER'S MAGIC appears to be a standout. Wheeled back in nine days after a sharp second against open company, he drops in to face Calbreds and is simply the fastest horse in the race. Three starts into his career however, he has broken slow every single time. It probably won't matter. He is a closer and there is plenty of speed to flatter his kick. WE HAVE A PROBLEM returns with a sharp workout pattern, and probably is the best of the front-runners. His maiden win, or his allowance-race runner-up last fall would be good enough. The two main questions are can he run on turf, and can he fire fresh? He has not done either. MCMANUS is merely a 1-for-25 tease, but he's been close enough against similar that he cannot be counted out altogether.

Sixth Race

1. Tiz Bueno 2. Proud General 3. Sheriff Joe

TIZ BUENO was a first-time gelding when he broke slow and faded against tougher maiden special-weight Calbreds. It was not a bad performance, because he did chase a strong pace before tiring. Freshened one month, he drops in for a tag, adds blinkers, and meets what looks like a bleak field of statebreds. Tab on the drop. PROUD GENERAL regressed second time out when he missed by ahead. There is a danger of further regression, because he is being jammed back in six days. However, he does have some ability, and that usually goes a long way at this level. SHERIFF JOE ran poorly as the odds-on favorite second time out. He did show improved speed in that race however, and will be out there battling on the front end.

Seventh Race

1. Madringa 2. Crowded Room 3. Barbara Orr

MADRINGA is worth wagering on after a strong second-place finish in a fast-pace sprint last month. It was her second start following a layoff, represented a huge step forward, and showed that she is still the same filly that she was last spring when she earned Beyer Figures of 90 or higher on two occasions. She meets a field in suspect current form, she has speed and there isn't much other speed here, and she can press her way to victory at an overlaid price. CROWDED ROOM will need the speed to back up for her to win, but it might do just that. She faces comebackers and off-form runners, and she is razor sharp and facing open company after a good win against Calbreds. She's won her last two in strong style, and might be good enough to make it three straight. BARBARA ORR should do better second start back; TARLOW showed talent last summer but her barn is ice cold; ESPY is another who should improve second start back.

Eighth Race

1. Red Hair Lady 2. Blazing Bartok 3. Brite Lassie

A bad race concludes the card, and the pick is a slow filly. But RED HAIR LADY may be the least slow of the slow. Odds-on loser in two straight, she does have two route races under her belt and that should be enough to wear down stretcher-outer BLAZING BARTOK. The latter is the clear speed of the field, making just her second start following a layoff. She'll be out there gassing, and very easily could take them all the way. It's a two-horse race on paper; BRITE LASSIE will be grinding away from the back of the pack.