03/11/2004 12:00AM

Lennyfromalibu will have company up front


ARCADIA, Calif. - Lennyfromalibu was dethroned as the top California-bred turf sprinter when McCann's Mojave edged him in the Sensational Star Handicap at Santa Anita on Feb. 14. The difference between the pair was only a half-length, but the loss ended a three-race winning streak for Lennyfromalibu.

That streak began last November in the California Cup Mile on turf, a distance and surface that Lennyfromalibu will try again in Saturday's $100,000 Crystal Water Handicap for statebreds.

The Crystal Water is one of two minor stakes on a program that includes the Santa Anita Oaks. The $70,000 Tokyo City Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on dirt is led by Nose the Trade, the runner-up in the Native Diver and San Pasqual handicaps.

Lennyfromalibu is best when racing near the front, but that style could pose a problem in the Crystal Water.

"In sprints, they go so fast, he can follow," trainer Barry Abrams said. "His best races going a distance are when he goes to the front."

The race has drawn eight entrants, including Summer Service, who led throughout an allowance on the hillside turf course on Feb. 7. Summer Service, second in the Grade 3 El Conejo Handicap at 5 1/2 furlongs on Jan. 1, may set the pace in the Crystal Water.

Other starters include Ringaskiddy, who is winless in four starts since pulling an upset in the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap in April 2002; Crackup, winless in five starts since the 2002 Great State Challenge Juvenile; and Debonair Joe, winless in 10 starts since the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in December 2002.

Spinelessjellyfish is a threat to Lennyfromalibu. Trained by Jenine Sahadi, Spinelessjellyfish, 8, has run well in one-mile turf stakes on this course, finishing second in the 2001 California Cup Mile and the 2002 Crystal Water. In his last start, Spinelessjellyish was fourth in the Sensational Star.

Nose the Trade has drawn the outside post in the Tokyo City. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Nose the Trade scored a two-length win in an allowance on Feb. 14, his second victory in seven U.S. starts. Nose the Trade will race near the pace.

The closers will include Total Impact, who is winless in three starts since the 2003 Mervyn Leroy, and Truly a Judge, who was second in the Lafayette and Forty Nine handicaps at Golden Gate Fields in recent months. Truly a Judge was fourth behind Nose the Trade on Feb. 14 after a troubled start.

"He would have been right there if he hadn't fallen on his face," trainer David Bernstein said.