05/05/2002 12:00AM

Night Patrol wins Inglewood


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Hand jockey Victor Espinoza an easy lead, and he will exploit the advantage. The lesson was repeated Sunday at Hollywood Park, where Espinoza rode Night Patrol to a front-running upset in the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap for older horses at a mile and a sixteenth on turf.

The half-length victory over 7-5 favorite Redattore occurred one day after Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby with longshot pacesetter War Emblem. After one-two finishers Night Patrol and Redattore in the $109,700 Inglewood was Seinne. He was followed by, in order, Sumitas, Gallant and Kerrygold in a deadheat for fifth, and El Gran Papa. Night Patrol, a 6-year-old gelding by Storm Boot, is owned by Everest Stables and trained by Nick Canani. He paid $19.20 in winning his eighth race from 41 starts.

Night Patrol's task was made simpler when pace rival Gallant broke two lengths slow, allowing Espinoza to guide Night Patrol through slow fractions. Though he was under pressure from Redattore, Night Patrol was able to slow things down considerably. He went the first quarter in :24.06, the opening half in a tepid :47.20, three-quarters in 1:10.18, then sprinted to the wire. With a final five-sixteenths in a quick 29.17, Night Patrol finished the race in 1:39.35