07/11/2007 12:00AM

Karlee's Kitten stepping back up


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - When Karlee's Kitten pulled clear of four rivals to win a $32,000 claimer by 4o1/4 lengths at Hollywood Park on June 27, trainer Jeff Mullins was not sure what to credit for the victory.

"Whether it was the class drop or the change in surface, we don't know," he said.

Part of that query can be answered when Karlee's Kitten starts in a $49,000 allowance race over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park on Friday. She has drawn the outside post in a field of six, which Mullins described as "perfect."

The allowance race will be Karlee's Kitten's second start on a synthetic track. From her outside post, she should get a good trip racing near the lead under jockey Aaron Gryder.

Mullins thinks he stole a race by dropping Karlee's Kitten from an optional claimer April 12 on the Santa Anita dirt into the recent claiming race.

"Put it this way, someone missed out," he said, referring to the absence of a claim. "We'll find out if she's a claimer or an allowance horse."

To win, Karlee's Kitten will have to hold off a late run from Oakhill Girl and Private Dreams. Lake Marina and Starlet of Seattle will be longshots. Purrfectly Fitting will be making her first start since finishing 10th in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita in January.

Oakhill Girl won a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles on May 18 in her synthetic track debut for owner-trainer-breeder Moon Han. Oakhill Girl has worked well recently for her first start in eight weeks.

Private Dreams was an unlucky third in an optional claimer over six furlongs on turf on June 20. After a slow start, Private Dreams raced in traffic in the stretch and was beaten only three-quarters of a length as the favorite.

"I'm not sure" if she would have won, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. "You always think that would be true. She certainly would have had a better chance."

The race was the first United States start for Private Dreams, a Kentucky-bred filly who won her debut in Chile last November before being sent back to this country. Private Dreams made her first two starts on turf but has trained regularly on Hollywood Park's synthetic track in recent months.

"We hope that she will run a little better than she did last time," Hollendorfer said. "I think she's had enough time between races. We like her, and we hope she gives a better effort."