12/12/2001 12:00AM

No better place for 'Jack' to run


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A last-minute decision to enter Stormy Jack at Hollywood Park on Friday has given a $53,000 allowance for older horses the quality of a minor stakes.

The 4-year-old Stormy Jack will attempt to enhance an already strong fall campaign, which includes a second in the California Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 and a win in the On Trust Handicap here on Nov. 22. Trained by Bob Baffert, Stormy Jack is the likely favorite against four others in Friday's race, run over about 7 1/2 furlongs.

"I wasn't planning on entering, but there's no place else to run," Baffert said. "He likes the one-turn race."

Stormy Jack drew the outside post and will be ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye.

The other runners are Blade Prospector, Elaborate, Casey Griffin, and So Urgent.

A quick pace from Blade Prospector and So Urgent should help Stormy Jack. In the On Trust, also run over 7 1/2 furlongs, Stormy Jack rallied from fifth to prevail in a three-horse photo over Waingarth and Ceeband. Blade Prospector, who drew the rail, may be forced to the lead to preserve position.

Trained by A.C. Avila, the 6-year-old Blade Prospector finished fourth in the Met Mile at Belmont Park last May and has since scored one win in five starts, a seven-furlong allowance race at Santa Anita on Oct. 14.

Unlike Stormy Jack, Blade Prospector did not have a good November, finishing fifth in the Skywalker Handicap at Santa Anita and ninth in the Forty Niner Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on Nov. 23.

The other three starters have run well in stakes. So Urgent, also trained by Baffert, was third in the Skywalker Handicap on Nov. 2. He was sharp at Del Mar last summer, winning two allowance races over a mile from the front.

Elaborate, who was 11th in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Sprint, has one victory in five starts this year, an allowance race last May at Hollywood Park. He was fourth behind Blade Prospector at Santa Anita in October.

Casey Griffin returns after an 11-month break for trainer Vladimir Cerin. A 5-year-old, Casey Griffin is a closer who won the 2000 Pomona Invitational. His best chance is for a speed duel to develop, but even Cerin says that may not be enough.

"If he wins, great. If he runs a good race, that's good, too," Cerin said. "He's training really well. He probably needs to get a little fitter. This is like a Grade 3 allowance race."

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