11/23/2007 12:00AM

Nobiz Like Shobiz needs the right ride

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - So far, Nobiz Like Shobiz has been a top 2-year-old, won a major prep for the Kentucky Derby, and made a successful transition from dirt to turf.

When he starts in Sunday's $500,000 Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park, the colt will be attempting to win his first Grade 1 on turf in his first appearance at 1 1/4 miles on the surface.

His electrifying four-length win in the Grade 2 Jamaica Handicap over 1o1/8 miles on turf at Belmont Park on Oct. 6 suggests that an additional furlong will not pose a problem. The key will be jockey Javier Castellano's decision on when to ask Nobiz Like Shobiz for a run, according to Robin Smullen, an assistant trainer to Barclay Tagg, who accompanied the colt to California from New York.

"I think he has to be ridden properly," Smullen said. "You can't ask him too early. It's worked out well since we've tried him off the pace. He seems to have an explosive kick. I think the mile and a quarter is within his range."

Nobiz Like Shobiz's explosive kick has led to three stakes wins on turf since a 10th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. His only loss on the surface was a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27 over a soft turf course that Smullen described as "terrible."

His previous success on turf, and his reputation as the winner of the 2006 Remsen and the Wood Memorial in April, will make Nobiz Like Shobiz the favorite in the Hollywood Derby.

Typical of past runnings, the Hollywood Derby has drawn a strong field. Daytona, the winner of the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby, is likely to lead, but will be stalked by Ten a Penny, a stakes winner at Del Mar in July, and Worldly, a two-time stakes winner here earlier this year.

The closers include Bold Hawk and Twilight Meteor, the first two finishers of the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby on Oct. 13, and Medici Code, who won the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in September.

Bold Hawk won his stakes debut in the Hawthorne Derby and has showed an affinity for turf routes in his five-race career.

Daytona scored a 10-1 upset in the Oak Tree Derby, disputing the pace before drawing off to win his first stakes. Daytona may have little company on the lead in the Hollywood Derby.

Trainer Dan Hendricks said that Daytona is not one-dimensional and can sit off the pace should another runner try for the lead.

"We don't plan on sending him," Hendricks said. "He'll get comfortably and hopefully run a race like last time."

The longer trip is not a concern to Hendricks as much as the presence of Nobiz Like Shobiz.

"He's built like a horse that can run all day," Hendricks said of Daytona. "I feel going in I respect Nobiz Like Shobiz, but I'm not scared of him."

Medici Code will be a danger, his trainer, Darrell Vienna, predicts. Vienna would like to see Medici Code just behind the pace, but admits that the gelding must improve from his Del Mar Derby performance to win.

"I don't think he's a horse that's restricted to a certain way of going," Vienna said. "He's drawn the outside and I think he can be placed forwardly. I think the competition might be a bit tougher in this race."