11/07/2002 12:00AM

Inda's faith is rewarded

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Horse owner Aaron Jones was never more delighted to be wrong as he was following Wednesday's $73,450 Bien Bien Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Jones was reluctant to run Music's Storm in the one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds, but consented to the plan at the insistence of trainer Eduardo Inda.

"I thought we were a little over our heads today," Jones said. "The trainer didn't think so and he was right." Music's Storm [$50.80] rallied wide through the stretch and outfinished Golden Arrow to win his first stakes in the Bien Bien.

Music's Storm was the second-longest shot in the field of nine after being well-beaten in his last two starts - a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar in July and an allowance race at Santa Anita last month.

Last July, he won an allowance race over this turf course. Inda felt Kent Desormeaux's tactics were a major factor in Music's Storm's win. Music's Storm broke from the outside post, and raced on the rail in the first half of the race.

"With the post, Kent tried to save the ground and with the other horses going along, he got a good position," Inda said. "He saved all the ground in the first turn." Desormeaux brought Music's Storm wide to reach a challenging position on the final turn. Music's Storm and Golden Arrow pulled clear in the final furlong with Music's Storm winning by a head after a mile on turf in 1:34.31.

"Kent did a great job. I think he'll be a permanent fixture," Jones said.

Neither Jones nor Inda would commit Music's Storm to the $500,000 Hollywood Derby on Dec. 1, but the race is under consideration.

Revamped main track safe but slow

The main track at Hollywood Park played very slow on Wednesday's opening day of the fall meeting, drawing both praise and criticism from participants. The track seemed to play two seconds slower than similar races at this meeting during the summer and three seconds slower than the recently concluded Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

During September, the main track underwent a major renovation that disrupted training for two days. Last summer, the condition of the course was widely criticized by horsemen, who said the course was too hard. "It may be a little slower and I feel confident it's a safe track," said Dennis Moore, track surface consultant at Hollywood Park. "That's what we're aiming for. We reduced the silt and clay content, and that's where we feel we had problems last summer." Moore said the sand content in the course was increased.

Several jockeys said they were surprised at the way the horses traveled over it.

"It's safe, but it's slow," jockey David Flores said. "They're spinning."

Jockey Victor Espinoza won Wednesday's second race by 12 lengths aboard Go Girl Go, who ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.29. He felt she was struggling even though she was pulling away. "I thought someone was going to pass me," he said.

Experience over the track did not hurt horses. Horses trained at Hollywood Park won the first three races, including Brigantine ($85), the winner of a maiden claimer for 2-year-olds. That left some Santa Anita-based trainers frustrated.

"I'm not running anymore until the track changes," trainer Nick Canani said. "It's not good. If it will be this slow, I'll go up north or wait."

Later on the program, trainer Clifford Sise won with horses that had recent workouts at Santa Anita. He stables at both Santa Anita and Hollywood Park.

"It's slow, but I think this is Hollywood Park's safest track," Sise said. "In the summer, when it was hard, we crippled a lot of horses. I hear guys complaining that it's slow, but it's safe."

Owners' board chooses new member

Jon S. Kelly, the founder of a television broadcasting company and a farm owner in Rancho Santa Fe, has been elected to the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.

He replaces Drew Couto, who has been working as a consultant for Magna Entertainment.

Kelly and his family own Tres Palomas farm. He also stands Brahms at stud in Kentucky and own shares in major stallions Theatrical and Gilded Time.

Kelly has a limited number of horses in training in California and employs former trainer Gary Jones as his racing manager.

Ex-trainer starts new career as jockey agent

David Cross, the former trainer who won the 1983 Kentucky Derby with Sunny's Halo, will start a career as jockey's agent next week, representing apprentice Jorge Carreno.

Cross has not trained since 1999. He recently sold his Kentucky Derby trophy on Ebay to raise money.

Carreno, 19, is a native of Mexico City, who has been riding at Fairmount Park, near St. Louis.

* Sunday's $70,000 Steinlen Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf will be the return to Southern California of Futural, the disqualified winner of the 2001 Hollywood Gold Cup. Claimed for $80,000 in June, the 6-year-old Futural is winless in five starts for owner Kim Hart, including runner-up finishes in two stakes at Hastings Park in British Columbia.