07/07/2005 11:00PM

Kerlan 'Cap has drawn class bunch


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The $75,000 purse for Sunday's Robert Kerlan Handicap at Hollywood Park does not do justice to the assembled field of eight turf sprinters.

This group has the sort of form worthy of a stakes worth much more prize money.

Golden Arrow, who has placed in three consecutive turf sprints, carries high weight of 120 pounds against such notable runners as Shadow of Illinois and Geronimo, who were first and second in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita in April, and the stakes winners Billy's Echo and Stormin' Lyon.

The other three starters - Kingdom Come, Scheffer, and Siren Lure - have run well enough in recent starts to play important roles in the race, run over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf.

Golden Arrow, trained by Neil Drysdale, is searching for his first victory since January. He was third in the San Simeon and second in two restricted stakes at this meeting. He lost the Bullet Stakes by a half-length to Stormin' Lyon on May 27 and the Flame Thrower Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths to Billy's Echo on June 17.

In the Flame Thrower, Golden Arrow was forced five wide on the turn while contending for the lead.

"He's been unlucky," Drysdale said. "The last time was pretty severe."

Shadow of Illinois will be well backed in his return to turf racing. Trained by Anthony Saavedra, Shadow of Illinois finished fifth in the Los Angeles Times Handicap on dirt in his only start following the San Simeon.

Stormin' Lyon returned from a break of nearly a year to win the Bullet Stakes, rallying from three lengths off the pace on the turn. A winner of 5 of 7 starts and $146,470, Stormin' Lyon is unbeaten in two turf sprints at Hollywood Park, having won the 2004 Harry Henson Stakes.

Since three of Stormin' Lyon's victories have come on the main track, trainer Brian Koriner considers the Kerlan to be a prep for the $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap over six furlongs at Del Mar on July 31.

"We don't think he's just a grass horse," Koriner said. "We're really looking to the Bing Crosby if he runs like we think he can. He's been going the way he want."

Koriner was impressed with Stormin' Lyon's comeback in the Bullet Stakes. The victory was the 4-year-old colt's third consecutive win.

"Off that big of a layoff, you don't know how big they will fire," he said. "I think it was a pretty good effort. He doesn't do much wrong."