11/10/2008 12:00AM

Nine furlongs may be too long for Dilemma


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - An equipment change for Dilemma and the healthy feet of Rush Rush are the key factors Wednesday in the race-7 feature at Hollywood Park.

Seven older horses entered the classified allowance, including three aging veterans in murky form. Grade 1 winner Lang Field finished up the track his last three; Grade 2 winners Obrigado and Runaway Dancer have not raced in months, and may need longer.

Going 1 1/8 miles on turf is no easy trip for distance-challenged Dilemma, however. He lost ground all four starts beyond one mile, but drops from a Grade 2 that produced three next-start winners. Trainer Paddy Gallagher hopes that blinkers improve his focus.

"He sometimes loses interest - he runs spotty," Gallagher said, adding that Dilemma "worked and galloped well" with blinkers. Dilemma has won 4 of 15, and is reunited with Garrett Gomez.

He also meets easier. Dilemma finished fifth by two lengths last out in the Oak Tree Mile, a race that was flattered when fourth-place Global Hunter and seventh-place Hurry Up Austin returned to win minor stakes; sixth-place Ferneley won a third-level allowance.

While Gallagher said strategy is up to Gomez, it appears obvious. Dilemma figures to be positioned alone in second, behind Lang Field. If the pacesetter falters again, Dilemma will be the first to attack. The question is whether he can stay 1 1/8 miles. If not, look out for Rush Rush.

A sixth-place finish by Rush Rush in his last start, Aug. 20, was better than it looks. Trapped behind a slow pace, he weaved through traffic, finished well, and galloped out super. Based largely on that effort, Rush Rush was the 3-1 program favorite Oct. 3 at Santa Anita. Trainer Mike Machowsky scratched him the morning of the race.

"His feet were bugging him for a couple days, and I just didn't think I would get the best out of him," Machowsky said.

The condition of his feet improved, and Machowsky said, "He's really doing good right now. He's been ready to run for a while."

Victor Espinoza rides Rush Rush, a 5-for-15 gelding whose three starts at 1 1/8 miles produced two wins and a second.

Lang Field takes off blinkers and enters as the lone speed. He won the Grade 1 Citation one year ago at Hollywood.

Bonjour and Frank the Barber are also entered.