07/04/2010 11:00PM

J P's Gusto goes for Championship


INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- J P's Gusto needed little time to figure out racing, as evidenced by a comprehensive 4 1/4-length win in his stakes debut in the Willard Proctor Memorial for 2-year-olds at Hollywood Park on May 31.

The win in the Proctor makes J P's Gusto a heavy favorite in Monday's $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, a Grade 3 over six furlongs.

After two starts, he has already moved to the fore of the early season rankings of California-based juveniles. A win in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship would enhance his status as the more prestigious races at Del Mar draw closer.

Trainer David Hofmans was impressed with the Proctor victory, and said on Saturday that J P's Gusto has been more patient in subsequent training. "We want to teach him to rate the first part and finish the last part," Hofmans said. "He has been real cooperative."

"He's training better and he's settled."

Owned by Gem Inc., J P's Gusto is part of a field of eight in the Juvenile Championship. He will be ridden by Joe Talamo, who was aboard in the Proctor. J P's Gusto breaks from post 6. Considering the way J P's Gusto stalked the pace in the 5 1/2-furlong Proctor before taking the lead in early stretch, the post should be an advantage.

There should be ample speed for J P's Gusto to follow. The maiden race winners Leon Ayala, Marvin's Magic, and River's Chapel have shown quickness. Leon Ayala set the pace in the Proctor but faded to finish last of seven. Marvin's Magic beat maidens in his debut at Emerald Downs on June 6, and makes his second start in the Juvenile Championship.

River's Chapel is one of two entrants trained by Walther Solis, who also starts Tappin Tough, who finished fifth in the Proctor after a slow start.

River's Chapel was third in the Lost in the Fog Stakes over five furlongs at Golden Gate Fields on June 12, his first start since winning a maiden race here over five furlongs on May 23. Solis was happy with River's Chapel's performance in the Lost in the Fog Stakes and said the colt grabbed a quarter.

"I don't know if he did it coming out of the gate," Solis said. "We don't want to go to the front, but he has that speed."