11/06/2007 1:00AM

Kapalua Bay faces same tough foe

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - After two gut-wrenching losses in turf sprints at Del Mar and Santa Anita - losing by a neck, then by a nose - trainer Ron Ellis figured Kapalua Bay could slip into an easy second-level allowance during the fall meet at Hollywood Park.

"I was hoping to come over here and catch a soft bunch," Ellis said. But there will be no free pass Thursday for Kapalua Bay, whose rivals in the race-7 feature - a $62,500 optional claiming turf sprint - include summer-long nemesis Redhotandrolling.

Jeff Mullins trains Redhotandrolling, whose three-race win streak includes two wins over Kapalua Bay at five furlongs. Redhotandrolling might be a better horse than Kapalua Bay, but when they stretch out to six furlongs Thursday, Kapalua Bay holds the edge.

"I never thought of my horse as a five-furlong horse," Ellis said, adding that "we were wearing [Redhotandrolling] down both times."

Kapalua Bay has 2 wins and 4 seconds from 7 starts for owner Gary Broad, and earned a 96 Beyer Figure in three straight races.

"That should be enough to win a two-other-than," Ellis said. Jose Valdivia rides.

Redhotandrolling won at the second-level allowance condition at Del Mar, and can run Thursday because he is entered for the $62,500 claiming price. He has won 4 of 9 overall. Jockey Victor Espinoza is likely to position Redhotandrolling in front of Kapalua Bay early.

The field includes deep closer Haraldo, a 7-for-11 import from Chile making his third start in the U.S. and first on grass. He won his U.S. debut in a first-level allowance in February at Santa Anita, then finished fifth at the second level in his most recent start, May 28. Mike Puype trains Haraldo, who will be ridden by Garrett Gomez.

Brilliant Cut has been gelded since his last race; Rising Rate makes his first start since October 2006 and is likely to set the pace. Other starters include Rabbi, Charmvictor, and Kewen.

The pace will be slower Thursday in race 5, an $80,000 optional claimer for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Supposition, a hard-pulling filly and her own worst enemy, drops out of the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and enters as the class of the field. She is trained by Bobby Frankel.

Northern California shipper Wild Promises has won 3 of 4 since switching to grass, and her second-level allowance win last out against older was flattered when third-place finisher Higher Love returned to win.