07/26/2002 11:00PM

Kirtle will try not to bounce


DEL MAR, Calif. - Kirtle nearly pulled an upset in her first start in the United States in the Flawlessly Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 5. Sent off at 29-1, she fought through traffic to finish third, losing by 11/4 lengths to Super High.

In Monday's fourth, Kirtle returns in a $57,000 allowance race for 3-year-old fillies over 11/16 miles on turf at Del Mar that could be a prep for a stakes. But trainer Bob Hess Jr. is hesitant to look past Monday's race, where Kirtle will have eight opponents.

"She still runs the risk of a bounce," he said. "From my end of things, things have been A-plus, so she shouldn't bounce."

Kirtle had one win in four starts in England before being acquired by John Ball, Paul Conely, Tom Harris, and Tony Randazzo in early June.

Hess was impressed with Kirtle's race in the Flawlessy, run over a mile on turf. "It was solid, and she had a little trouble on the turn," he said.

Kirtle has the best stakes form in the field. She faces recent maiden winners Charm a Song, Ms. Louisett, and Othybat.

Ms. Louisett ran third in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes last September, and has been second and first in two races this year after an eight-month layoff.

Charm a Song won her debut over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf on June 29. She is by Unbridled's Song and is a half-sister to the multiple stakes winner Tout Charmant. Charm a Song is trained by Eduardo Inda and races for Aaron and Marie Jones.

Monday's program features three allowance races on turf for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles.

In the second race, Castling, the front-running winner of the restricted Valkyr Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 19 makes a quick return against five others, including Live Your Dreams, Elaine's Angel, and Terna.

Live Your Dreams finished second in her first start of 2002 on June 28. She was a winner over this course last July. Elaine's Angel was third behind Live Your Dreams on June 28 and the winner of an allowance race in April.

Terna was fifth in the Vanity Handicap on June 22 and a stakes winner in Argentina last year.

In the seventh race, for California-breds, Surprisingly will be favored in her turf debut. Trained by Julio Canani, she won a maiden race by seven lengths on June 9 and was third against winners in an allowance race on July 6.

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