05/17/2005 11:00PM

King of L.A. tries to confirm


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - King of L.A. may yet live up to his name if he continues to turn in performances similar to his seven-length win in the Pepper Oaks Farm Stakes for maidens on April 24.

Friday at Hollywood Park, faces an important test, meeting winners for the first time in a $49,000 allowance race for California-breds at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The race has drawn only five starters, including This Wizard Rocks, who won the Gateway to Glory Stakes at Fairplex Park as a maiden last September, and KC Nite Mayr, who was second in the Barretts Stakes on April 24.

The Pepper Oaks Farm Stakes was on the undercard of the California Gold Rush Day for statebreds. King of L.A. turned in one of the more flashy wins of that program, but the success was a little late as far as trainer Kristin Mulhall was concerned. She thought the colt would do that in his debut, a sixth-place finish after a poor start on March 19.

"I expected him to do that the first time, but he got left and rushed up," she said.

King of L.A. made no mistakes in the Pepper Oaks Farm Stakes. He broke on the lead and pulled away through the final quarter-mile. King of L.A. earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 97.

Since that win, Mulhall said a goal at her stable has been getting King of L.A. to relax and not use all of his speed too quickly.

"We've been trying to slow him down," she said. "He's been better. Before, he'd take off."

Friday, King of L.A. is likely to stalk Alpine Sport, who has consistently shown speed. A gelding, Alpine Sport is making his debut for Summer Mayberry, having been claimed for $40,000 after a win on April 28.

is the biggest threat to King of L.A. Trained by Jay Robbins, KC Nite Mayr has been first or second in his last three starts. KC Nite Mayr beat maidens at Santa Anita on Feb. 10, finished second in an allowance race for statebreds at 1 1/16 miles on March 16, and was beaten two lengths by Trail Mix in the Barretts Stakes on April 24. The Barretts Stakes was restricted to statebreds who had not won two races.

, who hasn't raced since September, will be ridden for the first time on Friday by Garrett Gomez. This Wizard Rocks has worked well at San Luis Rey Downs for his comeback, including a five-furlong drill in 59.80 seconds on May 7.