06/25/2008 12:00AM

Overly Tempting looks toughest


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A drop in class may be all that Overly Tempting needs to end a four-race losing streak in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on Friday evening.

This year, Overly Tempting has chased Intangaroo, Tiz Elemental, and Ashley's Kitty in four sprint stakes for fillies and mares in Southern California. Those three are entered in Saturday's Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Trained by Bruce Headley, Overly Tempting will be a strong favorite in Friday's six-furlong optional claimer against five rivals. But two of her opponents - Wickednwackyingrid and Highland Torree - may have a say in the outcome.

While Overly Tempting, 5, has kept the best company in recent starts, the other two are each coming off a win. Wickednwackyingrid, 3, won an optional claimer at six furlongs on turf on May 22, leading throughout. Highland Torree, 3, rallied from off the pace to win a six-furlong allowance race on the main track on June 8.

Wickednwackyingrid has yet to win on a synthetic surface, but that is not a concern to trainer Jack Carava. She has started on a synthetic surface twice, finishing ninth in her career debut last October at Santa Anita while trained by Tim Yakteen, and second by a nose in December here in her first start for Carava.

"I like her better on the main track," Carava said. "We never gave her much of a chance on the main track. I thought she ran well in a maiden when she was beaten only a nose. She ran good race after good race on the turf, and there was no reason to change."

Carava was confident that Wickednwacky-ingrid could win a first-condition allowance race, but questions how much farther she can progress.

"I don't know class-wise where she fits," he said.

Carava intended to run Wickednwackyingrid in the $75,000 Honest Lady Handicap at six furlongs on Friday, but the race failed to draw sufficient entries. He thinks she can stalk the ultra-quick Overly Tempting.

"As long as she's outside, she'll be pretty comfortable," he said.

Highland Torree followed her recent win with a half-mile workout in 46 seconds on Monday, which equaled the fastest of 43 recorded works at the distance.

"She's ready," trainer Rafael DeLeon said. "She's tough to train in the morning. She needs a pony, and without it she won't train."

DeLeon describes Overly Tempting as "the horse to beat" and says that Highland Toree "needs to relax." Asked if she can win, he said, "I think so."