12/04/2007 12:00AM

Seminole Native sharpened on synthetic

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Jorge Gutierrez is hoping the California Cup Classic turns out to be a key race.

Gutierrez trains Seminole Native, who was a fast-finishing third in the Classic on Nov. 3. The winner, Bold Chieftain, is going to take on Ravel and Buzzards Bay on Saturday in the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap. Gutierrez is aiming a little lower. He will send out Seminole Native in Thursday's featured sixth race at Hollywood Park, a second-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles.

The $54,000 race lured a field of nine, including several turf specialists, two horses making their second starts following lengthy layoffs, and Add Heat, who was fifth in the Cal Cup Classic. It is part of a surprisingly strong midweek card, with two other allowance races, plus a good field of older maidens sprinting on turf.

Seminole Native was 32-1 in the Cal Cup Classic, but outran his odds, losing by only 1 1/4 lengths. That was his second straight sharp race on Cushion Track at Santa Anita - he also was third in a fast sprint race - following a career largely spent on turf.

"We ran him back in the Cal Cup because of the way he handled the Cushion Track in his previous race," Gutierrez said. "He had nowhere to go in the Cal Cup, but he got out and made a big run."

Seminole Native worked five furlongs in 58.40 seconds on Nov. 29, which Gutierrez said was "a little quicker than I wanted him to go."

"But he's doing great," Gutierrez said. "He's been a monster ever since that last race."

There is precious little speed in the race, which makes Political Maneuver an intriguing longshot. He stopped after setting a hot pace in his comeback race on turf on Nov. 2, but it was his first start since March. He scored a front-running win here on Cushion Track last fall.

Air Commander also is making his second start following a layoff. He was fourth of six as the 7-5 favorite in a similar second-level allowance going 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 11, his first start since finishing second in the San Felipe Stakes in March.

Anziyan's Song was fifth in the Cal Cup Mile on turf in his last start, but was a sharp second on Polytrack at Del Mar in August.

Church Service is expected to be scratched. He is cross-entered in a 1o1/4-mile turf allowance on Friday.