07/04/2007 11:00PM

Salute the Sarge gets hero's welcome after Juvenile


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - After Salute the Sarge won Wednesday's $114,900 Hollywood Juvenile Championship at Hollywood Park, it was hard to tell who was more thrilled - trainer Eric Guillot, or trainer Nick Hines, for whom the colt is named.

Hines's nickname is "Sarge," and he roared to the racetrack like a linebacker celebrating a winning touchdown to congratulate Guillot's crew - and anyone else in his path. Hines beat Guillot to the racetrack even though he does not train the colt.

Guillot could only smile at the raucous scene. "Now, it's like having two owners," Guillot said of Hines, rolling his eyes and smiling. "Sarge and I are good friends."

Whether Salute the Sarge will matter among California's 2-year-olds depends on how the colt matures. The Grade 3 Juvenile is the year's first graded race for the division, but is run before many highly regarded 2-year-olds have won maiden races, or even started.

Owned by Southern Equine Racing Stable, Salute the Sarge remained undefeated after two starts in the Juvenile. He rallied from fifth to catch Leonides and win by a nose. Whatever Whenever, who led in the stretch, faded to finish third, while the 6-5 favorite, Booted, finished fifth after coming under pressure on the final turn.

The winning time was not that fast - six furlongs in 1:12.08.

"He dug in hard there at the end," said winning jockey Michael Baze. "I wasn't sure I was going to get there."

The win left Guillot dreaming of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Monmouth Park in October. "He should go long based on his running style," he said.

Guillot quickly caught himself, realizing how things can change in coming months. "It's early in the year," he said.

Guarantees galore

Hollywood Park will offer several guaranteed betting pools on Saturday's 11-race card. There will be a $1 million guaranteed pick six pool, covering the sixth through 11th races, a $400,000 pick four pool for the eighth through 11th, a $200,000 pick three for the third through fifth races, and $250,000 guaranteed pools for the exacta and trifecta in the American Oaks and Triple Bend Handicap.

Del Mar Mile for Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line will be pointed for the $400,000 Del Mar Mile on turf on Aug. 19 after extending his winning streak to four in an optional claimer on Wednesday.

Ridden by apprentice jockey Joe Talamo, Crossing the Line ($3) rallied from fifth in the final furlong to win by three-quarters of a length over Terroplane. Crossing the Line finished a mile on turf in 1:33.84.

Trainer John Sadler said the Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar on July 22 arrives too soon. "I want spacing with a horse this good," Sadler said.

Crossing the Line won his U.S. debut in a six-furlong allowance race here on May 31. The lack of stakes experience has Sadler reluctant to say whether Crossing the Line is a candidate for the Breeders' Cup Mile in October.

Beyond the Del Mar Mile, said Sadler, "we'll have to see."

Soul City Slew, who finished fifth, was claimed for $100,000 by trainer Paul Aguirre,Norman Salter and William Decker.

Aguirre said that Soul City Slew will make his next start in the $300,000 San Diego Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on Del Mar's new Polytrack surface on July 21.

"If the track plays like Keeneland, the closers will be at an advantage," Aguirre said.

Keeneland has a Polytrack surface.

Aguirre was not discouraged by Soul City Slew's loss. "I don't think he's a turf horse," Aguirre said. "He's a one-run horse, and he was kind of close to the pace."