Updated on 09/18/2011 12:07AM

Silent Name will try to catch 'Willow'

Willow O Wisp, winning the Inglewood 'Cap, makes his 10th start for Vladimir Cerin on Monday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Silent Name's reputation has soared since he arrived from France last winter.

Unbeaten in two U.S. starts, including the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita last month, he deserves to be mentioned among the nation's top turf milers.

Those wins have made Silent Name a top contender in Monday's $300,000 at Hollywood Park. But the way the race may unfold is a concern to trainer Gary Mandella.

Silent Name is a stalker, and he must run down a pesky front-runner in Willow O Wisp, who is trained by Vladimir Cerin. Willow O Wisp used his speed to win the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap here on April 29, as well as three stakes for 3-year-olds last summer.

There is no other confirmed front-runner to pester Willow O Wisp, and Mandella fears that he may be tough to catch if he runs an easy opening half-mile.

"Someone will have to press him before the quarter pole or we'll all be running for second," Mandella said.

Silent Name won the Arcadia by 1 1/2 lengths, closing from fourth on the backstretch to take the lead on the final turn. The early move has left Mandella hopeful that Silent Name can challenge Willow O Wisp, if needed, and still have enough to hold off the closers.

"He's training great," Mandella said. "It's a matter of how the race unfolds."

The Grade 1 Shoemaker has drawn a stellar field of seven, including Charmo, the winner of the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields on April 29; Milk It Mick and Aragorn, the first two finishers in the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March; and Diamond Green and Terroplane, each of whom is capable of an upset.

Aragorn, Charmo, and Silent Name will lead the betting in the Shoemaker.

Milk It Mick is winless in two starts since the Kilroe Mile, finishing third in the Arcadia Handicap and third again after a troubled trip in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 6.

Aragorn returned to finish a length behind Charmo in the San Francisco Mile as the 7-5 favorite. He was within a head of the lead in the stretch but could not hold off Charmo.

Charmo, who won his first stakes in the San Francisco Mile, has a runing style typical of a turf miler who began his career in Europe. Charmo jumps into a race in the final quarter-mile, with a devastating blast of speed.

Charmo, 5, was a maiden when he made his U.S. debut here last October, and has won 4 of 6 starts for trainer Julio Canani, who is seeking his fourth win in the Shoemaker in the last eight years.

"He's got a nice kick," Canani said.

One of the losses came in the Kilroe Mile, when Charmo closed from 10th to finish sixth, losing by a length in a blanket finish.

"He ran a good race in the Kilroe, but he was caught wide the whole way," Canani said, adding that Charmo got a good trip in the San Francisco Mile.

With a smaller field in the Shoemaker, Charmo might be able to get away with a wide trip and still win.