05/22/2002 12:00AM

Possible Californian preview


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The seventh race on Friday at Hollywood Park may produce a few starters for the $500,000 Californian Stakes on June 15.

Futural, who was second in the 2001 Californian, meets a field that includes the graded stakes winners Momentum and Out of Mind; Pie n Burger, an allowance winner; and Truly a Judge, one of the top claims of 2001 in California.

Run over 1 1/16 miles, the race features two older horses trained by Craig Dollase - Futural and Momentum - who are looking to rebound from recent losses.

Futural is winless in seven starts, including three races this year, dating back to the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap in May 2001.

The 6-year-old Futural did finish first in the Hollywood Gold Cup last July, but was disqualified and placed third for causing interference in the stretch.

Most recently, he finished fourth in an allowance race/optional claimer over 7 1/2 furlongs on May 1.

"This is a good springboard for both horses," Dollase said. "This is a nice tune-up for the Californian. I need to stretch out Futural."

Momentum won the Native Diver Handicap last December, but was fifth in the San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes in January and failed to finish in the Strub Stakes in February, his last start.

The 4-year-old Momentum fought quarter cracks during the winter, Dollase said.

"We need to get a confidence-builder for him," Dollase said. "Mentally, it's a good race for him. If I can be right there at the wire with both, it would be great."

Out of Mind has been plagued by injuries in recent years. His best season was 2000, when won the the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, finished second in the Massachusetts Handicap, and fourth in the Hollywood Gold Cup. Last year, he made one start, finishing fourth in the Bel Air Handicap in July.

In his lone start this year, the 7-year-old Out of Mind finished second in the San Carlos Handicap over a mile at Bay Meadows on April 28.

Pie n Burger, who may be a slight favorite, is expected to lead. Trained by Bob Baffert, he was second on May 1, finishing ahead of Futural. Pie n Burger won a race similar to this on Feb. 28 at Santa Anita.

The outsider is Truly a Judge, who was claimed for $20,000 last October by a partnership and trainer David Bernstein. In six subsequent starts, Truly a Judge has won three races, always finished in the first three, and has earned $108,400.

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