11/16/2003 12:00AM

Lion Heart much the best


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - One furlong at a time, Lion Heart has emerged as the fastest 2-year-old in California. Three weeks after dominating maidens at six furlongs, Lion Heart ($3) stretched out to seven furlongs Saturday at Hollywood Park and blazed to a six-length win in the Grade 3 .

Lion Heart sprinted to the lead under jockey Mike Smith, drifted wide entering the stretch, then ran his rivals silly in 1:20.63 over a lightning-fast track. Lion Heart's time established a Prevue stakes record, lowering the 1:20.80 mark of Afternoon Deelites. Afternoon Deelites followed his 1994 Prevue win with a six and a half-length win in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity; trainer Patrick Biancone said Lion Heart will attempt the feat when he stretches out to the Futurity distance of a mile and a sixteenth on Dec. 20.

Owned by Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, Lion Heart was sired by Tale of the Cat and purchased for $1.4 million at a 2-year-olds-in-training sale. Smith was riding Lion Heart for the first time. "What I like about him as much as anything is his disposition ? his attitude. Man, he acts like a 5-year-old," Smith said. No one else in the Prevue mattered. Cooperation finished second, a nose in front of Voladero. Consecrate, dropping out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, finished fourth, beaten nearly 10 lengths. Longgonetrevorsean trailed.