05/07/2003 12:00AM

It's a stakes launch pad for top two


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Dream Machine, 4, and Not Phone, 5, placed in stakes races as 3-year-olds. If either of them wins a $55,000 optional claimer at Hollywood Park on Friday, he is likely to run in a stakes next.

Dream Machine was second in a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar last summer, while Not Phone was stakes-placed in Argentina in the fall of 2001.

They are the only entrants in Friday's sixth race that are entered not to be claimed for $80,000.

Not Phone is the likely favorite. Trained by Bobby Frankel, he ended a four-race losing streak in a one-mile allowance race on turf at Santa Anita on April 5.

His first loss in the streak was a second in the Group 1 Gran Premio San Isidro in Argentina.

Dream Machine races for Lucky Ladies Stable and trainer Julio Canani. He won an allowance race over this course in December, but lost four starts at Santa Anita earlier this year. In March, Dream Machine was second in two starts at this level.

This optional claimer is clearly meant as a confidence booster for Dream Machine, who finished third in the Relaunch Stakes at Del Mar and eighth in the Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita last October.

Frankel has another starter, El Bueno, who finished sixth in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Championship at Santa Anita in 2001. Imported from Europe in 2001, El Bueno was stakes-placed and won races at Leopardstown and Gowran Park in Ireland that year.

El Bueno is entered for an $80,000 claiming price, as is Top Honours, who has occasionally shown promise in his career. Trained by Laura de Seroux, Top Honours won an optional claimer over a mile at Santa Anita last October, but was fourth in two optional claimers at Santa Anita earlier this year.

Most recently, he was beaten 7 1/2 lengths in an optional claimer on March 14 that was won by Apache Wings. The final time was a quick 1:32.89.

"They ran a mile in 32 and he's not that fast," de Seroux said of Top Honours. "He's a real honest horse. Hollywood is a good course for him."

Doug O'Neill, who leads the trainers standings at this meeting, starts Albatros, who won a $50,000 claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita April 13. The 6-year-old Albatros will attempt to gain the 12th win of his career on Friday.