11/23/2005 12:00AM

Imports go to Plan B

Chandtrue, winner of last year's Hollywood Juvenile but lackluster at 3, will likely race again within two weeks.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - When 2-year-olds Genre and Icy Ridge were purchased this fall in Europe, the idea was to run Friday at Hollywood Park in the Grade 3 Generous, the first of six graded stakes scheduled to make up the three-day, $1.7 million Autumn Turf Festival.

Trainer Mike Puhich said that Icy Ridge was purchased with the Generous in mind, and that he and owners Al and Sandee Kirkwood planned to eventually try him on dirt.

But two weeks before the fall meet began, Hollywood scrapped turf racing. So Icy Ridge will make his U.S. debut on dirt Saturday in the Real Quiet, one of two $100,000, 1 1/16-mile stakes for 2-year-olds this weekend. The other is the Sharp Cat for fillies on Sunday. They are not exactly marquee events, and neither race will attract a stellar field.

"If it was on grass, I'd bet double-fisted," Puhich said. Dirt however, is a question. "If he runs as good as he trains, I love him. But you never know until they run."

Icy Ridge won his only start in Ireland, closing from far back in a large maiden field to win by a neck without his rider cocking the whip. It was a solid debut by Icy Ridge, though he has not progressed as far as Genre, a 2-for-8 English import who cleared quarantine early this week and makes his U.S. debut in the Real Quiet.

Same as Icy Ridge, Genre was sired by Orpen, a son of Lure. Trainer Ben Cecil said owners David and Paula Mueller purchased Genre with the express purpose of running in the Generous. Saturday is a different game.

"The distance won't be a problem; it's a question of how he handles the dirt at Hollywood," Cecil said.

Trainer Bob Baffert will enter two in the Real Quiet, including the likely favorite, Bob and John. A son of Seeking the Gold, Bob and John finished second Nov. 4 in a first-condition allowance won by graded-stakes-placed A.P. Warrior. It was the first start in two months for Bob and John.

"He needed it, and he got beat by a pretty good horse," Baffert said.

The runner-up finish was his third career start, and a step in the right direction. "He steadied, he was behind horses," said Baffert. "It was a learning experience for him. Right now, you're just looking for improvement."

Bob and John earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81. Two other likely entrants for the Real Quiet are the Baffert-trained Only in Louisiana and maiden turf-race winner Kissin Knight.

Chandtrue back in California

Over three months in spring 2004, Chandtrue streaked to four successive wins, including three stakes and the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile, to emerge as the leading 2-year-old in California. But now, more than a year later, the colt faces a shaky racing future more likely to include a claiming race than stakes competition.

Chandtrue was sidelined the second half of 2004 with an unspecified injury that trainer Bob Hess Jr. described only as "significant." Chandtrue was noncompetitive this March in two comeback races at Santa Anita, and then got drilled by 21 lengths in October at Hawthorne for trainer David Carroll. Chandtrue returned to California and Hess, and worked five furlongs Wednesday at Santa Anita in 1:03.20.

"He worked pretty well, he finished well," Hess said, adding that Chandtrue will run at Hollywood in the next two weeks. A son of Yes It's True owned by Harold Greene, Chandtrue has won 4 races and $187,861 from 7 starts.

Hess said multiple stakes winner Chinese Dragon came out of his runner-up finish in a $40,000 stakes Saturday at Turf Paradise in good shape, though Hess admitted he was embarrassed losing a stakes with a 2-5 shot.

Hess said that the goal for Chinese Dragon in Saturday's stakes was

to get a prep for the Dec. 26 Sir Beaufort at Santa Anita, "come back healthy, and come back fitter."

Tough going for Old Thunder

Old Thunder, fourth as the even-money favorite Saturday in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue, was compromised by kicked dirt and not handling the surface, his jockey and trainer said. Jockey Alex Solis told trainer Ron McAnally after the race that Old Thunder was "spinning his wheels - he didn't get a hold of it." McAnally also said that track surface material got into Old Thunder's eyes.

It was the first start at Hollywood Park for Old Thunder.

"I know he's a better colt than that," McAnally said. The trainer said he doubts Old Thunder would return in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 17, but did not rule out the race entirely.

Stretch-out time for True Xena

True Xena was sired by sprinter Yes It's True, but trainer Rafael Becerra said, "Wait until she goes long."

After True Xena's runner-up to Private World on Sunday in the seven-furlong Moccasin Stakes, Becerra said Wednesday that he expects to run the large-sized filly in the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 18. The Moccasin was only her second career start.