06/24/2005 12:00AM

Osidy in role of Cinema star

Benoit & Associates
Osidy, winning the Will Rogers under Alex Solis, takes on the talented Legal Precedent and speedy Willow O Wisp in the Cinema BC Handicap.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The $150,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park on Sunday features the first showdown between Osidy and Legal Precedent, two of the most impressive 3-year-old turf winners at the meeting.

was a hard-fought winner of the Grade 3 Will Rogers Stakes over a mile on turf on May 28, rallying from sixth to beat Willow O Wisp by a head.

did not start in that race. He had already won twice at the meeting - in a maiden race on April 22 and an allowance race on May 18. The Grade 3 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap marks the stakes debut of Legal Precedent, who has made just two starts.

Osidy and Legal Precedent are expected to dominate the Cinema, which is run over 1 1/8 miles on turf and has drawn only six runners. Of the rest, Willow O Wisp, who was nearly held out of the Cinema for the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar July 20, is considered the most capable of pulling an upset.

will play an important role in the Cinema. Trained by Vladimir Cerin, Willow O Wisp is the only confirmed front-runner in the field. The other starters are Honorable Coach, Johnny High Brite, and the ambitiously placed maiden Sultry Bard.

Osidy will rightfully go favored. Trained by Richard Mandella for owner-breeder B. Wayne Hughes, Osidy has made only two starts in this country, having begun his career in France where he was group stakes-placed last year. In his U.S. debut, Osidy finished second in the Harry Henson Stakes for turf sprinters on April 22.

In the Will Rogers, Osidy closed from sixth, displaying a late run that should be effective over 1 1/8 miles.

"I'll feel better once we do it, but I don't see a problem," Mandella said of the distance. "I expect him to continue to get better and smarter."

Trainer Ben Cecil was slightly disappointed with Legal Precedent's

victory in an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles on turf. Legal Precedent did not display the same turn of foot that he did in his debut.

"He ran so big the first time," Cecil said. "I expected to see more the second time. He was keen and too aggressive. He regressed a little."

In recent weeks, Cecil has worked Legal Precedent behind horses in an effort to get him to settle.