06/05/2004 12:00AM

Philadelphia: In Hand loves soft turf


Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but the two biggest wins In Hand has registered in his career have both come over soft ground.

Racing on a course rated yielding by steady rain, In Hand withstood a late surge from Host to hang on for a neck victory in the $100,000 Greenwood Cup Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

It was In Hand's first stakes victory since he won over soft turf at Monmouth last summer.

Ridden for the first time by Rafael Mojica Jr., In Hand ($6.80) made a five-wide bid entering the stretch. Just outside the eighth pole, it looked as if In Hand had the momentum and was going to run by Host, but Host dug in. The two fought through the final furlong and brushed a couple times before In Hand finally prevailed by a hard-fought neck.

The 4-year-old In Hand, now 4 for 11 lifetime, covered 1 1/2 miles in 2:33.32.

Host finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of New York shipper Monkey Puzzle, the slight favorite at 2-1.

* Docent ($7.40) rallied to overtake Presidentialaffair by a neck in the $54,700 Lyman Sprint Championship for Pennsylvania-breds. The 6-year-old Docent, ridden by Tony Black for trainer Tim Ritchey, has now won 16 of 34 lifetime starts, including 7 of 11 at Philadelphia Park.