11/21/2007 12:00AM

The Leopard should like firm turf

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - When The Leopard finished seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf on a yielding turf course at Monmouth Park on a rainy Oct. 26, his connections quickly dismissed the result.

"I don't think he disappointed anybody," said Michael McCarthy, assistant trainer to Todd Pletcher.

A $2.5 million purchase earlier this year, The Leopard starts in Friday's $100,000 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park over a firm turf course that should be more to his liking - and to that of his nine rivals, for that matter.

The winner of the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 29, The Leopard is one of two stakes winners in the Generous, run at a mile on turf for 2-year-olds. Yes It's a Cat, trained by Jeff Mullins, won the restricted Pinjara Stakes at a mile on turf at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 26.

The Leopard starts from post 9 in the field of 10, but the wide draw does not concern McCarthy.

"I imagine he'll fall away from there and place himself," McCarthy said. "We'll be in the second flight of horses."

The Leopard led throughout the Pilgrim Stakes. In the BC Juvenile Turf, The Leopard was just behind the leaders to the final turn, got within a neck of the lead, and faded in the final furlong.

Aside from Yes It's a Cat, The Leopard will be challenged by the European imports Meer Kat and Spinning Sound, recent maiden race winners Indian Sun and Make Them Break, and Robscarvic, who made his U.S. debut in the Pinjara.

Meer Kat won an allowance race in his fifth start, which came in England on Oct. 14, and was purchased for approximately $190,000 at a sale last month. Now trained by Ben Cecil, Meer Kat arrived in California from England on Saturday, and cleared quarantine on Monday.

Since being acquired by Dolantori Racing, Meer Kat has been in training in England with his former trainer, Roger Charlton, according to Cecil.

"The horse has improved with every start and he ran quite well the other day," Cecil said. "I think he could run well."

Indian Sun is one of six entrants making their first start at a mile. Indian Sun beat maidens on Santa Anita's hillside turf course in his second start on Nov. 4.

"I think he can win the race," trainer Dan Hendricks said. "This is a step to see what kind of quality horse he is. We feel it's there."