06/14/2010 11:00PM

Rapport in front; for how long?


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Cool, calm handicapping calculations resume Wednesday at Hollywood Park, where Zenyatta made it warm and fuzzy Sunday by winning her 17th straight.

Two straight wins will be fine for allowance sprinters Rapport and Teamwork, the likely favorites Wednesday in races 6 and 7, respectively. Front-running filly Rapport races six furlongs on Cushion Track; stretch-running colt Teamwork runs six furlongs on turf.

Both will make their second start following a layoff, and neither will offer appeal based on odds. That is the unfortunate theme of the eight-race card that attracted 52 wagering interests (6.5 per race).

Rapport had been off since August when she made her California debut in a maiden race May 22 at Hollywood Park. Speed was her only obvious attribute. Stamina was another question. In three starts for D. Wayne Lukas at 2, she finished in front of only one horse.

Transferred to Bob Baffert, Rapport ran wild first start back. She opened up with the fastest half-mile for 6 1/2 furlongs (44.54 seconds) at the meet. Rather than stop, she kept running. Rapport won by 5 1/4 lengths and earned an 84 Beyer Speed Figure.

Since then, only one horse (Twirling Candy on May 29) posted a faster opening half-mile (43.98). Rapport, meanwhile, has one easy work since she last raced, and if she reproduces her maiden win while shortening to six furlongs in the first-level allowance, she should be long gone under Martin Garcia.

Rapport's main rivals include closer Madel, front-runner Wenden, presser Queen Mariles, and route-to-sprint Our Road Scholar. Race 6 is black and white -- Rapport either leads gate to wire or she sets the pace and falls apart.

Evaluation of race 7 favorite Teamwork, however, is problematic. Although he overcame so-called "trouble" to win his May 14 comeback, the severity of the trouble is open to interpretation. The truth is, it was not that bad.

Teamwork had been off since August when he returned in a California-bred allowance. He was last after breaking from the rail and steadied at the eighth pole. The incident appeared dramatic, but Teamwork did not break stride nor did it slow his momentum.

In fact, Teamwork's trip actually was good. He saved ground all the way, and the fast pace set up his closing run. Cliff Sise trains the 4-year-old Teamwork, whose rivals include Grace Upon Grace and Derive.