06/23/2006 12:00AM

'Joysey Jeff' again seeks stakes score

Email

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Mark Glatt is convinced that a lack of experience cost New Joysey Jeff a chance at his first stakes win in the Will Rogers Stakes at Hollywood Park last month.

led in the stretch of that one-mile race while racing wide, but could not hold off the rail rally of Stratham.

"I think he's still learning," Glatt said. "I don't think he saw that other horse coming on the inside."

Recent lessons can be applied when New Joysey Jeff starts as the probable favorite in Sunday's $150,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park.

The Grade 3 Will Rogers was New Joysey Jeff's stakes debut on turf. He was on the Triple Crown trail earlier this year, but failed to impress, finishing sixth in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita in March and 12th in the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn in April.

New Joysey Jeff won his career debut in a turf sprint at Santa Anita in January. Glatt said earlier this year that the colt's future was in turf races, but he has questions about how New Joysey Jeff will handle the Cinema distance of 1 1/8 miles.

"The way he trains, I feel he'll get a distance, but until they do it, you don't know," Glatt said. "He's trained well since his last start. It was good to see him back with a good effort."

New Joysey Jeff will carry 117 pounds, one fewer than topweight Genre. The Cinema has drawn a field of eight, but only Genre is a stakes winner, and that win came under dubious circumstances. Trained by Ben Cecil, Genre finished second in the Real Quiet Stakes on the main track here last November, but was promoted to first after Bob and John was controversially ruled to have fouled a rival in early stretch.

was third in the Zetland Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf as a 2-year-old in England last year. In two starts on turf in this country, he was third in the Pasadena Stakes in March and second in the La Puente Stakes to Stratham in April. Those races were at a mile at Santa Anita, a distance Cecil says is too short for Genre.

"I think the mile and an eighth on grass will suit him," Cecil said.

should like the distance. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Obrigado was a closing third in the Will Rogers in his U.S. debut and first start since November.