05/22/2005 11:00PM

Indian Ocean key player in $150K carryover

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Whether can successfully stretch out to 1 1/16 miles is only a subplot on Wednesday's eight-race program at Hollywood Park, which features a pick six carryover of $150,067.

Indian Ocean beat maidens by four lengths over 6 1/2 furlongs here April 30, a performance that led trainer Jay Robbins to consider running him in the $150,000 Laz Barrera Stakes at seven furlongs last Saturday. Robbins, however, has opted for a $51,000 allowance/optional claimer in Wednesday's fifth race, which is the third leg of the pick six.

"I thought it would be fair to run him here rather than in the Barrera," Robbins said of Wednesday's optional claimer.

Owned by Mercedes Stable, Indian Ocean has made two starts, including a game third in a productive maiden race April 9. The first two finishers of that race - Surf Cat and Jack's Kid - both came back to win.

Wednesday's race marks Indian Ocean's debut around two turns. Robbins said he considers Indian Ocean to be a 3-year-old who needs more experience.

"He's still awfully immature, green," he said. "He does some things fairly erratically. I think with a little maturity he could be very good. He's got potential.

"He doesn't change leads consistently well. Since he last raced he's worked twice and done it beautifully. It's nothing physical. He just doesn't understand it."

A victory on Wednesday could lead to a start in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on June 18.

In his recent win, Indian Ocean stalked a quick pace before taking the lead in early stretch. He could lead on Wednesday against nine rivals. Only King Mobay, who was third in the San Mateo Mile at Bay Meadows in February, is entered for the $80,000 claiming price.

Indian Ocean will get ample support. His biggest threat comes from Lucky Bid and Royal Classic.

Lucky Bid has one victory in 13 starts. He was beaten a nose in a first-condition allowance race over a muddy track at Bay Meadows on April 28.

Royal Classic, trained by Doug O'Neill, could give Indian Ocean competition for the lead. He was beaten a nose by Khyber Pass in a similar field on April 27.

Indian Ocean will be a key on many pick six tickets. The pick six begins in the third race with a $50,000 claiming race for six 3-year-old fillies over six furlongs. Kash Klip, badly beaten in two stakes this year, will be well supported in a return to claimers.

There are two pick six races for maidens, beginning with the fourth for statebred fillies over six furlongs. In a field of 11, Membership Coffee will be favored. The eighth is for maiden claimers over 1 1/16 miles and drew 16 horses. Only 12 can start.

The lone turf race of the day is the sixth, a starter allowance over 1 1/16 miles. The race drew 11, but only 10 can start. Marsupial and Swedish Cowboy will head the betting.

The seventh is an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares. Thunder's Echo, second in the B. Thoughtful Stakes on April 24, will be trying for her fourth win in six starts at Hollywood Park.