02/16/2007 12:00AM

Papua seeks his fourth Hollie Hughes


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - With all of the top New York-bred sprinters either out of town or on vacation, Sunday's $65,000 Hollie Hughes offers the second-tier statebreds a shot at stakes glory.

With that in mind, a field of 10 was entered in the six-furlong Hollie Hughes, led by Papua, who won this race three consecutive years, from 2003-05. He has switched barns twice since then, being claimed away from Mike Hushion for $50,000 by owner Paul Pompa and trainer Patrick Reynolds. With Reynolds in Florida for the winter, Pompa turned the horse over to Rene Araya.

In his first start for Araya, Papua was uncharacteristically close to the pace and he faded to third, 2 3/4 lengths behind gate-to-wire winner Scary Bob. Araya said Eibar Coa told him that nobody went after Scary Bob, leaving him to do the dirty work.

"That probably cost us second that day," Araya said. "This time we have a different situation. There's speed in the race; now we're going to go back to his old style of coming with one run."

Mike Luzzi rides Papua for the first time since he rode him to victory in the 2004 Hollie Hughes.

Touchdown Kid has had a history of foot problems, but trainer Richard Schosberg had them corrected last month when the 5-year-old gelding roared from off the pace to win a second-level allowance race by 2 1/2 lengths on Jan. 21. He wore an aluminum pad on his right hind foot that day and will do so again on Sunday, when he breaks from post 10 under Coa.

"We've had to replace it and work on the foot while it was off," Schosberg said. "I think the timing will be just right. He had a real good gallop [Friday] morning and seems very comfortable on it, so I think we're going to be okay."

Schosberg will also send out Calculator, who has won 4 of his last 5 starts including a second-level allowance on Jan. 13.

Introspect, who is 1 for his last 30, finished second in this race last year to Big Apple Daddy. Introspect has run plenty of races that make him competitive in here, and his speed is a dangerous commodity breaking from the rail.

"One thing he's established is whoever goes with him early doesn't finish," trainer Billy Turner said.

Storm Boot Gold, Scary Bob, and Stonewood all could be part of the early pace.

The undefeated My Dynomite (3 for 3) is coupled with Mike Lee Stakes winner Ferocious Won, but only one may run as both are entered with Mike Smith aboard.