03/22/2009 11:00PM

Mi Forest Amor stretches out


ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Channing Hill is the latest to follow Horace Greeley's advice to go west. The young man recently left New York for California, and the state has brought out the welcome mat. Hill has a terrific chance to make off with Wednesday's featured seventh race, a one-mile turf race for first-level allowance 3-year-olds.

Hill rides Mi Forest Amor, who is stretching out following a win against maidens in a downhill turf sprint on Feb. 20. His primary rival appears to be Luckiest Man, who finished third down the hill in the Baldwin Stakes on March 1.

Four others are entered in the race. Three have won going two turns, just one - Mi Forest Amor - has won on turf, but none has won going two turns on grass, which makes deciphering form a partial leap of faith.

Mi Forest Amor faded badly in his first two races, improved in his first start on turf, and then put it all together last time out with a front-running victory. In addition to handling the extra distance Wednesday, he must prove he can turn back early challenges, since it appears he will have some company up front.

Luckiest Man flashed sharp speed in the Baldwin, leading to mid-stretch before tiring late. That was his first start on turf. He is clearly coming out of the best race, so this drop in class makes him a formidable opponent.

Herr Mozart was fifth last time out against a similar field on Pro-Ride, and though he defeated maidens on the main track earlier in the meet on Feb. 7, his grass form appears slightly better. He was second against maidens on the turf in his first start on this circuit, and he finished third on firm turf in pair of grass races last year in New York.

When We Met was compromised by a wide draw on Feb. 22, and that race came up fairly strong for the level. He ran decently, finishing fifth, and appears to have found a softer group this time.

African Gray is racing on turf for the first time, but, being by With Approval, he should like it. He has won twice in three starts, both wins coming against inferior competition.

Aquicksting has been a workhorse this year. This will be his sixth start. He has won just once in 20 starts, but has finished second six times, including his last two starts. He has the speed to go with both Mi Forest Amor and Luckiest Man in the early going.