06/28/2006 12:00AM

Sivivatu will show where he belongs in U.S. debut


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Sivivatu will answer a couple of questions for Budget Stable and trainer Kathy Walsh when he makes his American debut in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on Friday.

Can he run two turns or is he best as a sprinter? Does he belong in an upcoming stakes at Del Mar?

In England, Sivivatu had 1 victory in 5 starts for trainer Jeremy Noseda, winning a six-furlong maiden race last August. In two starts this year, he was 12th in a minor handicap on turf at Newmarket in April and sixth in his last start, an allowance race at 1 1/4 miles on the all-weather track at Kempton on May 2. The 1 1/4-mile race may have been too far. Sivivatu was prominent until the final furlong before fading from contention. Friday's race is run at a mile on turf.

"We don't know a lot about him," Walsh said of Sivivatu, who recently joined her stable. "He's had a couple of decent works, but you never know off that."

Friday's race will dictate how ambitious Budget Stable and Walsh will be with Sivivatu in the coming months. If he wins or comes close, he could be nominated to the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes at a mile on turf at Del Mar on July 19.

, who is named for the New Zealand rugby star Sitiveni Sivivatu, has three rivals entered to be claimed for $80,000: Awesome Jared, Wee Jinky, and Hey Slick.

Hey Slick is making his turf debut. Trained by Kory Owens, Hey Slick won two minor stakes at Turf Paradise earlier this year and was sixth in the Grade 2 Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes here on May 20.

Two top contenders are Hit It Skip and Past Tender.

is proven on turf. Trained by John Sadler, Hit It Skip has won 2 of 3 starts on the surface, including a $62,500 claimer at a mile on June 15. In that race, he closed from fifth to finish 1 1/2 lengths in front of Wee Jinky.

has made one start in this country, finishing eighth of 10 in the Harry Henson Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs here April 28. Trainer Tim Yakteen said before that race that he wanted to stretch out Past Tender to longer distances.

The optional claimer is the seventh race on an eight-race program, which has large fields. The optional claimer has eight entrants, equaling the smallest field on the program.