03/29/2006 12:00AM

Prospect Park's season gets started


ARCADIA, Calif. - Prospect Park was nearly a star in France in 2004 and 2005. He was second in the 2004 French Derby, and won a few group stakes, but could not win at the highest level.

Last fall, was sent to trainer Richard Mandella to continue his career. Friday at Santa Anita, Prospect Park makes his U.S. debut in a $71,000 allowance race at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The distance concerns Mandella. Prospect Park was best suited to longer races in Europe. Plus, Mandella is unsure of Prospect Park's fitness. It seems Prospect Park is not too thrilled about morning training, Mandella said.

"He might need a mile and a half," Mandella said. "He's not a real generous work horse. He doesn't show off much. We'll have to see what he's got."

Owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, Prospect Park has not started since finishing 11th in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket, England, last October. The race was won by David Junior, who returned to win the $5 million Dubai Duty Free last weekend.

Prospect Park has won 5 of 13 starts and $542,136. Adding to that total will not be easy on Friday. The race has drawn the stakes winners Alexandersrun, Buckland Manor, Sam Forli, Sarafan, and Toasted.

"I want to get a good race in him and get started," Mandella said.

, 9, has won 10 of 49 starts and $2,617,621, by far the most wins and earnings in Friday's field. The race will be Sarafan's first start since he was pulled up in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap last August. He finished first in the 2005 Escondido Handicap at Del Mar but was disqualified in a highly controversial decision.

The race distance will suit Buckland Manor and Toasted, who were eighth and ninth in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf here on March 4.

disputed the lead in that race before finishing 1 3/4 lengths behind the winning Milk It Mick. Toasted had trouble at the top of the stretch and lost by only three lengths.

In Friday's first race, Memorette will attempt to end a nine-race losing streak in a $62,000 allowance race at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

In a field of seven, Neil Drysdale starts Dalicia, 5, a stakes winner in Germany last year. The race marks the first U.S. start for Immortalite, a multiple stakes winner in Peru.