05/02/2004 11:00PM

Saint Buddy returns

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Saint Buddy, who finished third in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 6, returns from a two-month break in a $54,000 allowance race on turf at Hollywood Park on Wednesday.

was given the layoff by design, according to trainer Rafael Becerra. He says a return on turf is not an indication that Saint Buddy will be campaigned solely on that surface.

"I think he's good on both," he said.

Saint Buddy had a remarkable Santa Anita meeting for a colt who failed to win a stakes. He finished second in the Sir Beaufort Stakes in December, won an allowance race on turf in January, finished a troubled seventh in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes in February, and was beaten three lengths by Southern Image in the Big Cap.

Saint Buddy will be ridden by Tyler Baze, who has been aboard in all of the colt's eight starts.

Owned by Stan Fulton, Saint Buddy races from a stalking position.

"He's best from off the pace," Becerra said. "He's a good horse to ride."

Wednesday's allowance race is run over 1 1/16 miles on turf and lacks a confirmed front-runner in a field of eight.

The probable favorite is Royal Price, who ran behind Saint Buddy in the January allowance race but returned to win an allowance race on turf at Santa Anita on April 3.

Trainer Julio Canani starts Bayamo and Sequoian, who are making their first start of 2004. Bayamo won an allowance race on turf here last June, while Sequoian has not started since finishing third in an optional claimer at Santa Anita last October.

Trainer Neil Drysdale starts Grafton, who finished third in an allowance race on March 20. The winner of that race, Leroidesanimaux, returned to win Sunday's Inglewood Handicap.

Seattle Borders, the winner of the Grade 3 Baldwin Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Feb. 28, heads a $54,000 allowance race for 3-year-olds in the seventh race.

Trained by Bobby Frankel, Seattle Borders was second in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby over 1 1/16 miles on the main track at Golden Gate Fields on March 13 and third in the La Puente Stakes over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on April 10.

Seattle Borders has six rivals, including Unrivalled, who won the Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita on March 17, and Terroplane, who was fourth in the La Puente as the favorite.