09/19/2002 11:00PM

Main track overhaul coming Monday


POMONA, Calif. - Following a dry winter that led to unsatisfactory conditions on the main track during the spring-summer meet, Hollywood Park has moved forward by one year plans to renovate the dirt surface. The two-day renovation process will be completed next week and will increase organic content and reduce silt and clay compounds.

Track president Rick Baedeker cited unusual weather patterns during winter as a possible reason the track was less forgiving this spring.

"There is a broad consensus that when this racetrack is right, it's a forgiving surface," Baedeker said. "The rain we got [this winter] was just too little, though nobody could pinpoint the problem. Following the 1999 renovation, the racing surface was superb, and we expect that horsemen will be just as pleased with this one."

Hollywood's main track became "cushion-less" this spring, frustrating horsemen accustomed to the track's typically slower, forgiving surface. A "hard" track is fitting as long as a cushion provides bounce, but the track this spring had no bounce and negligible return. The result for horses was many physical setbacks. The two-day restoration is expected to make the track more forgiving and decrease injuries.

The track will be closed after training hours Monday and it will reopen for training on Thursday. The renovation is the second step in a process that included resodding the turf course after the close of the spring meet July 21. Racing returns to Hollywood Nov. 6 for a 35-day autumn meet.

Royal Siphon taking giant stride next out

Royal Siphon, whose debut victory Wednesday ranks among the most visually impressive wins of the Los Angeles County Fair meet, will jump into deep water for his second start. Trainer Cliff Sise said the 2-year-old son of Siphon will point toward the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes on Oct. 5 during the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.

It is a big jump from a maiden sprint at Fairplex to a stakes route at Santa Anita, but the 1 1/16-mile Norfolk was planned even before Royal Siphon's debut.

"He always wants to finish, he looks like he'll run a distance," Sise said.

Owned by breeder Larry Williams, Royal Siphon was ridden by Goncalino Almeida, leading throughout and winning by six lengths in 1:17.58 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Sise said Royal Siphon's participation in the Norfolk will depend on the makeup of the field. "If all the tough horses go in there, I'll skip it. I'm going to play it by ear," he said.

Corey Nakatani worked Royal Siphon all summer long at Del Mar, and would have ridden the colt there if his debut had not been delayed by sickness. If Royal Siphon runs in the Norfolk, Nakatani may face a dilemma. He is the regular rider for Del Mar Futurity third-place finisher Chief Planner, a Bob Baffert runner who is eager to run a route.

Zam Zam: In trouble early, gets up late

Bumped sideways Thursday on the tumultuous first turn at Fairplex Park, Zam Zam overcame the incident to win the $48,000 Bustles and Bows Stakes by a nose over 7-1 pacesetter My Honey Bunny. Margaret's Fancy finished a half-length back in third. Hostility, the 6-5 favorite, was uncomfortable being rated, got wiped out on the first turn by a bolting Local Law, and finished fourth. Local Law was fifth.

The win was the second in five starts for Zam Zam, a 2-year-old filly who was claimed by trainer John Dolan from a runaway win two starts back in a $40,000 maiden-claimer. Dolan ran her back 13 days later, and she finished a dull third as the 6-5 favorite.

"I think I ran her back too quick," he said. "I got a little greedy, wanted to run her back and make some money. I gave her more time this time."

Zam Zam paid $7.80 as the third choice in the field of five. Owned by Dolan and Hitbound Stable, Zam Zam was ridden by Iggy Puglisi.

While Hostility disappointed and finished fourth after early trouble, the runner-up effort by My Honey Bunny was particularly disappointing to bettors who considered her a live longshot. My Honey Bunny was left alone on the lead when three of her four rivals had trouble on the first turn, yet she was unable to hold off Zam Zam's rally.

* Jockey Martin Pedroza won four races Thursday to take a 10-9 lead over Tyler Baze in the jockey standings. Pedroza's winners were Thatswhatshesaid ($6.80) in race 4; Forty Si ($6) in race 5; Youmakemethorbaby ($8.60) in race 9; and Validating ($3.80) in race 11.