10/07/2007 11:00PM

Kapalua Bay should relish longer sprint

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Ron Ellis likes to give his horses plenty of time between races, so it was unusual to see him run Kapalua Bay three times in 37 days during the summer at Del Mar. Kapalua Bay held his form, with a win and a pair of second-place finishes, but the combination of a brief freshening and a longer trip should make him the one to beat in Wednesday's featured seventh race at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.

Kapalua Bay will be stretching out to 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's hillside turf course after racing three times at five furlongs, the lone turf sprint distance at Del Mar. He cruised home much the best in his lone win there, and twice settled for second against course specialist Redhotandrolling.

"He's been running awesome on the grass," Ellis said Monday morning. "Hopefully he likes running downhill."

Five others are in the second-level allowance race, which has a purse of $50,000.

Ellis said he had an aggressive schedule for Kapalua Bay at Del Mar because "I trained him a little lighter so I could run him a little more."

"I knew I wasn't going to run anything at Pomona," he said of the Fairplex meeting that splits Del Mar and Oak Tree, "so I had a tendency to run my horses back a little more at Del Mar."

Kapalua Bay has finished first or second in 5 of 6 starts. After three starts on the main track, Ellis switched him to turf this summer.

"He's kind of bred for the grass, so I thought he'd run better on grass," Ellis said of Kapalua Bay, who is by Mutakddim and out of a Dancing Count mare. "Five-eighths is all that was available at Del Mar. He always was running on at the end of those races, so 6 1/2 should be fine."

Yario won on this course in April in his first start in this country after being imported from his native Ireland. After three losses around two turns, he is back sprinting down the hill.

"It's the scene of his earlier glory," his trainer, Eoin Harty, said Monday. "He likes the course. Hopefully it will work again.

"I'm even putting the same jockey on him," Harty said of Brice Blanc, who rode Yario to that first win, but has not ridden him since.

Artist's Tale comes off a pair of good efforts going two turns at Del Mar.