05/09/2007 11:00PM

Opportunity knocks for Peace Chant


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - For his 2007 stakes debut, Peace Chant is facing perhaps the weakest field of stakes sprinters assembled in California this year in Saturday's $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park.

The race lost the multiple stakes winner Bordonaro because of a bruised foot earlier this week, and none of the six horses entered in the Grade 3 race over six furlongs has won a stakes this year.

Peace Chant has won both of his starts this year - a first-condition allowance race over 6o1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on March 18 and an optional claimer over seven furlongs there on April 13.

"I'm anxious to see how he does a step higher," trainer Richard Mandella said. "I think he's pretty good."

Peace Chant is supposed to be this good. By War Chant, Peace Chant, 4, is out of Safely Kept, the champion sprinter of 1989.

Peace Chant won his maiden at 2, and started in two stakes as a 3-year-old, including a second in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita in February 2006. Following that race, the colt missed a year because of injury.

"His wins, I think, are pretty impressive," Mandella said. "I thought he was good last year, but he chipped a hind ankle. He got ready to run and had a tibia stress fracture."

Peace Chant is one of two Mandella-trained runners in the Los Angeles Handicap. He also starts Turnbolt, a 6-year-old who has yet to win a stakes. Turnbolt was fourth in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap on turf at Santa Anita on April 21.

"He's training so good I feel like I should let him take a chance," Mandella said.

Peace Chant and Turnbolt are likely to be near the front, in pursuit of Sailors Sunset, who led throughout the Vernon Underwood Stakes over six furlongs here last December, and Corazondelcampeon, the front-running winner of an allowance race over 6 1/2 furlongs here on April 26.

Northern Soldier, the winner of the Laz Barrera Stakes here last May, has lost his last two starts. He won an allowance race on this synthetic track last November and trains regularly on the surface.

The distance suits the 4-year-old Northern Soldier, trainer Brian Koriner said.

"We've been looking for something over" six furlongs, Koriner said. "I think he'll be right there close. I don't think we've seen the best of him."