06/18/2006 11:00PM

One Union back after knee injury

Promising 3-year-old One Union resumes his racing career Wednesday. He suffered a bone chip while winning an allowance race in February.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - One Union was sidelined with a knee injury at an inopportune time in February.

He suffered a bone chip after winning a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita, a race that trainer Richard Mandella and owner Herman Sarkowsky had hoped would be a prep to a major stakes on the Triple Crown trail.

One Union returns to racing on Wednesday at Hollywood Park in an optional claimer against older horses at six furlongs. Mandella is hoping to use Wednesday's race as a prep to a stakes later this summer.

"I think he's ready to go," Mandella said. "It's a nice place to start back."

One Union has worked quickly for the comeback, including two bullet works at Santa Anita in the last month. "He's gotten a little fitter each time," Mandella said.

worked six furlongs in 1:11.40 on June 11, the fastest of 10 works at the distance that day. Mandella described a five-furlong work in 59.40 seconds on May 27 as "very good." It was the fastest of 39 works at the distance that day.

A winner of 2 of 4 starts, One Union's two losses have come in stakes. After beating maidens in his debut last summer, he ran fourth in the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity.

One Union was off for the rest of 2005, returning to finish eighth in the San Miguel Stakes at Santa Anita in January. A month later, he beat Point Determined by 2 1/4 lengths in the one-mile allowance race. Point Determined went on to finish second in the Santa Anita Derby, ninth in the Kentucky Derby, and win the Affirmed Handicap on Saturday.

One Union is proven to be quick, but Mandella said he is not speed-crazy.

"I think he'll be better on the pace going long," Mandella said. "We haven't asked for too much speed because we want him to go farther."

One Union drew the outside post in a field of five. He is the lone 3-year-old in the field, which includes two stakes winners, , and two horses entered for $62,500 claiming prices, Hello Fame and Never Surrender.

Top Money and Whatsthenameman won stakes in 2004 but missed 2005 because of injuries. Top Money won the 2004 I'm Smokin Stakes at Del Mar. Whatsthenameman won the Malcolm Anderson Stakes at Bay Meadows.