12/12/2006 12:00AM

O'Neill tries to crank it up

Alex Evers/Horsephotos
Notional is one of two Doug O'Neill-trained horses being pointed to Saturday's Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - After Liquidity, Mistical Plan, Notional, and Super Freaky were beaten in stakes earlier this fall, trainer Doug O'Neill reassessed his training techniques for 2-year-olds.

Worried that he had been too soft on some of his leading 2-year-olds, O'Neill began asking more of the horses in morning exercise, a tactic he does not necessarily employ with his older horses.

O'Neill will know this weekend whether the plan worked when the quartet start in two Grade 1 races at 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park. Liquidity and Notional are being pointed for Saturday's Hollywood Futurity, and Mistical Plan and Super Freaky are probable starters in Sunday's Hollywood Starlet Stakes.

Mistical Plan was second in the Grade 3 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs on Oct. 29, and Super Freaky was fourth in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25. Both had won their previous starts.

Liquidity was third in the Real Quiet Stakes here Nov. 4, and Notional finished third in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes on Nov. 18. Liquidity beat maidens at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting Oct. 27 and then finished ninth in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 14. Notional was making his second start in the Prevue.

O'Neill said that the four "were not mentally up to their next few starts" after scoring big wins earlier this year. He blamed himself.

"I got them into good gallops too quick," he said.

O'Neill said he has been more demanding of Liquidity and Notional in recent weeks. Both are owned by Paul Reddam.

"With Notional and Liquidity, I acted like they were first-time starters and asked them to run," O'Neill said of recent training. "I want to keep them on edge. They're on their toes."

The Starlet could have as many as 10 starters; Mistical Plan could go favored. Other probable starters include Quick Little Miss, the winner of the Moccasin Stakes on Nov. 19; Runway Rosie, who won the Sharp Cat Stakes here on Nov. 5; Romance Is Diane, the winner of the California Cup Juvenile Fillies; Baroness Thatcher; Betrluckythangood; Down; Mystic Soul; and She's Included.

All but Betrluckythangood, Runway Rosie, She's Included, and Super Freaky would have to be supplemented for $20,000. The Starlet will have an estimated purse of $450,000.

The Futurity is led by the undefeated Belgravia, who won his stakes debut in the Hollywood Prevue.

Aside from Liquidity and Notional, other probable starters are Principle Secret, the winner of the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar in August; Roman Commander, who won the Real Quiet Stakes in November; Stormello, the winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita in October; Silent Soul; and Unusual Suspect.

Silent Soul must be supplemented. Trained by David Hofmans, Silent Soul won a maiden race on turf here Nov. 22.

Spring at Last headed for Malibu

Reddam recently acquired Spring at Last, an allowance race winner at Aqueduct, and will start him in the Grade 1, $250,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, O'Neill said.

Spring at Last won 2 of 5 starts and $65,650 while trained by Todd Pletcher. Spring at Last was fourth in the Paterson Stakes at the Meadowlands earlier this year.

Sunday at Hollywood Park, Spring at Last worked six furlongs in 1:13.60.

The Malibu, run at seven furlongs, will have a strong field. Among the early probable starters are Arson Squad, who won the Swaps Stakes in July; Brother Derek, who won the Santa Anita Derby; Sailors Sunset, who won the Vernon Underwood; Midnight Lute, who won the Perryville; Da Stoops, who won the California Cup Sprint; and the allowance race winners Latent Heat and Ramsgate.