05/28/2004 11:00PM

A pair of solid singles

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The pick six is never easy, but Hollywood Park made it look that way Monday by including two races that have rock-solid singles in the sequence. The track offers a $1 million guaranteed pool on races 5-10, and bettors puzzled by the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile (race 7) will find comfort in two races that follow.

Kid Royal in race 8 and Buddy Gil in race 9 enter as solid favorites with no flaws. Beyond being trained by Jeff Mullins, both runners hold advantages based on speed and pace. Reasonable bettors may have a hard time finding alternative singletons, because the four other pick six races are more wide open.

Race 5 is a turf route for maidens, 3 years old and up. If schizophrenic Minister Blair shows up, the race is his to win. The colt's runner-up finish one back stands out; his flop last out gets nothing. Minister Blair has been freshened for six weeks and has been training well for Richard Mandella.

Minister Blair's main foes include improving Montana Deputy and Johnny Red Kerr.

Race 6 offers a wagering opportunity because Swiss Tamerlane could get loose in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint. Fried chasing extreme fractions in his last two, Swiss Tamerlane meets less speed in the maiden-40 starter allowance, and is spotted for a front-running upset. His rivals include pressers Crash McGoon and Grinding it Out, and closer Margeds Dandy.

Race 7 is the Shoemaker Mile. Sweet Return is the class; his main challengers include Singletary, Designed for Luck, Leroidesani-maux, and King of Happiness.

Race 8 is all Kid Royal. On May 9, in his first start since being claimed by Mullins, he pressed a hot pace and won ridden out with a 98 Beyer Figure. That maiden race was validated when third-place Trail Mix returned to win by seven. Two good works since he last raced indicate that Kid Royal holds his form. Brand Name and Reckless Hero will try for upsets.

Race 9 is all Buddy Gil. In the Ack Ack Handicap he is the fastest horse, the class of the field, training well, and adaptable to the pace. One of the most probable winners on the card, his odds will reflect it, and only obstinate handicappers would suggest he is vulnerable. Longshots in the 7 1/2-furlong race are Cappuchino, Taste of Paradise, and front-runner Smile n Wildcat.

Race 10, a turf sprint for maiden fillies and mares, is a scramble. The experienced fillies are ordinary, so first-time starters Farnham and Gracinha enter as likely winners. Comebacker Gem Royale has worked well, and also fits.