05/05/2005 12:00AM

Primm will try to hang on this time


CHICAGO - The Hawthorne grass course is not unkind to speed. The right speed horse can go a long way over the local turf, even when the pace turns hot. But there is a limit, of course, and Primm found it when he finished second of six as the odds-on favorite here in a second-level turf allowance April 17. And on Saturday, bettors playing Hawthorne must ask the same question all over again: Will Primm lead all the way, or give way to one of the field's decent stretch-runners?

has seven opponents in the 1 1/16-mile race, but the one that really counts is Respectabeau. Overall, there is clearly a lack of pace in the race, but Respectabeau does best on the front end, and clocked half-mile fractions on dirt of 47 seconds in two route starts earlier this meet. Primm got an early length on him when they squared off three weeks ago, but Respectabeau forced him into fractions of 23 seconds for a quarter and 47.40 for a half, and a horse named Roll Your Own came and caught Primm in deep stretch.

If the same thing happens again Saturday, the race could fall into the lap of or, if he can start his run in time, Gottabeachboy.

Another scenario has Primm sneaking clear of on the backstretch, going to the half-mile in a more temperate fashion, and leading all the way. He's almost certain to be favored to do so, with 40 percent trainer Wayne Catalano and leading rider Chris Emigh in his corner.

Public Official nearly cleared this allowance condition twice last fall, but finished second by a half-length both times, a disturbing pattern for those looking to beat the favorite.

Public Official failed to show his best in two Gulfstream Park starts this winter, but seems likely to bounce back returning to a course on which he has run well in the past. Public Official should get first run on Gottabeachboy, who finished third in the Kentucky Cup Turf last fall but needs more distance to be most effective.

* Arlington had its busiest morning since opening for training April 28, when 28 horses recorded timed workouts Wednesday. Among them was the 11-year-old Chindi, who went an easy half-mile in 50.20 seconds. Chindi passed the $1 million mark in career earnings earlier this spring, and continues to compete in high-level allowance races.