12/08/2004 12:00AM

Long layoffs key question in turf dash


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A six-day span without turf racing in Southern California ends on Friday when two allowance races on turf are part of an eight-race program at Hollywood Park.

Wet weather led to the transfer of turf racing to the dirt on Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Friday's fifth and seventh races are run on turf and both have drawn decent fields. The fifth race is a $40,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares over 5 1/2 furlongs. The seventh race is a $39,000 allowance for California-breds at a mile.

The sprint drew 11 runners, including four fillies returning from layoffs of six months or more.

, trained by Doug O'Neill, is making her first start since finishing second in the Las Madrinas Handicap at Fairplex Park in September 2003. She was off because of an ankle injury, O'Neill said.

Cousineau won a turf sprint at Santa Anita in March, but has not started since finishing seventh in the Providencia Stakes in April.

has been first or second in her last four starts, but they occurred during a four-month span from March to July 2003. Trained by Ron McAnally, she won a turf sprint in Chile in her first start in 2002.

Fortunately has drawn the outside post and is making her first start for trainer Tim Yakteen. Third in the La Habra Stakes at Santa Anita in February, she was fourth in an optional claimer here on May 6.

The race marks the U.S. debut of Megec Blis and the California debut of Dis Miss.

Megec Blis, who was group stakes-placed in Ireland in April, is now trained by Ruben Cardenas. Dis Miss, who placed in two Iowa-bred stakes at Prairie Meadows earlier this year, is making her first start for trainer Lloyd Wicker.

The only filly with a recent win is Moss Rose. Trained by Bob Baffert, Moss Rose won a first-condition allowance race on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Oct. 31.

The seventh race marks the reappearance of Ring of Friendship, who won the California Cup Starter Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Santa Anita in October. Trained by Paddy Gallagher, Ring of Friendship should be able to handle the one-mile distance.

During Del Mar, he finished third in a similar race over 1 1/16 miles, leading to deep stretch before finishing third, beaten by three-quarters of a length.

A fast pace would help Cielo Blincoe, who won a $50,000 claimer for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita in early October with a stalking trip.