12/20/2007 1:00AM

Short price on Greg's Gold in On Trust Handicap

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - Greg's Gold is the only Grade 1 stakes winner in Saturday's $100,000 On Trust Handicap at Hollywood Park. With the distinction of having won the 2005 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar, Greg's Gold will carry top weight of 124 pounds in the On Trust Handicap, and the burden of being a heavy favorite expected to win.

If he does, it will end a streak of bad luck for the 6-year-old gelding.

The winner of the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar in August, Greg's Gold was arguably best in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 7, only to get stuck in traffic through the stretch and finish a close second to Idiot Proof. In the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27, Greg's Gold appeared uncomfortable on a sloppy track and finished eighth.

In the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood Stakes here on Dec. 3, more trouble ensued. Closing from fourth in a field of five, Greg's Gold was forced out in the stretch and finished a length behind Bushwacker.

Trained by David Hofmans for breeder Bill Boswell, Greg's Gold faces an easier task in the On Trust, which is run at 7 1/2 furlongs for statebreds. Greg's Gold is proven at the distance - he won the 7 1/2-furlong Tiznow Stakes here in April - and faces an easier field than in his recent starts.

Hofmans thinks the distance is a better fit for Greg's Gold than a sharper sprint at six furlongs.

"I think seven-eighths would be perfect for him," Hofmans said.

The loss in the Underwood was a disappointment to Hofmans. Greg's Gold was the even-money favorite but could not catch Bushwacker, the pacesetter.

"If he hadn't been back so far, he could have won," he said. "I think he's in better shape right now."

The On Trust Handicap has drawn a field of seven, including the entry of Add Heat and Unusual Suspect. Unusual Suspect has won his last two starts - the California Cup Mile and the Grade 3 Hollywood Turf Express.

El Don, a stakes winner at Del Mar in 2006, drew the rail for his first start since March.

Big Bad Leroybrown is a threat from off the pace. The winner of the Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar in August for trainer Don Warren, Big Bad Leroybrown was third in the Sausalito Stakes against open company at Golden Gate Fields last month.

"I like the Cal-bred" angle, Warren said of the On Trust. "He seems like he likes that Hollywood Park Cushion Track. He worked like a monster on it."