04/26/2007 11:00PM

Smaller races in Gold Rush draw biggest fields

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Since the California Gold Rush program was inaugurated in 2000, the four maiden and allowance races on the card have drawn the biggest fields.

For horsemen, the races are a lucrative opportunity to run young California-bred horses or ones that do not fit in the day's six major stakes. For bettors, the races are sometimes a complicated puzzle.

This year, the four races drew fields of 9, 14, 15, and 16 horses. Three of them are part of Hollywood Park's guaranteed $1 million pick six pool.

Trainer John Sadler has excellent chances in two races - with Rare Exchange in the $60,000 Magali Farms for maiden fillies and mares over 6 1/2 furlongs, and Swift Demand in the $70,000 Barretts Stakes, a first-level allowance race over seven furlongs.

Rare Exchange, who will be favored in the day's first race, finished second in two starts in maiden open company. She is the first of nine mounts on the 10-race program for jockey Garrett Gomez, who finished tied for first in the standings at Santa Anita but is riding primarily in Kentucky this month.

The fifth race, the first leg of the pick six, is the $70,000 Warren's Thoroughbred Stakes, a seven-furlong allowance race for fillies and mares.

Perfect Rhyme, claimed for $50,000 at Santa Anita on March 21, makes her first start for trainer Art Sherman and owner Nigel Shields. Perfect Rhyme, second in her last start, is likely to dictate the pace, having drawn the rail.

"I'm going to try to take advantage of her speed," Sherman said. "It would be to my benefit, especially from the 1 hole."

Team Decision, second in an optional claimer against statebreds on March 21, and Cathrine's Hope, a sharp maiden winner against statebreds on April 7, are in good form.

Swift Demand was considered a candidate for Sunday's $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes earlier this year, but he finished only fourth in a one-mile allowance race on March 30. In the Barretts Stakes, he will be part of a full field of 14.

Swift Demand must beat the sharp recent maiden race winners One Dixie, Social Climber, and Spoils of Excess. Global Heat, Rock'n USA, and Valiant Effort, who have run well against winners, give the race further depth.

Spoils of Excess is not a definite starter, having suffered a cut in his mouth earlier this week, trainer Bill Spawr said. Spoils of Excess beat statebred maidens by three lengths under Victor Espinoza in a six-furlong sprint on April 4.

"The first time he ran he was extremely green," Spawr said. "He broke in the air. He lugged in and probably should have won it. The second time he was much better. Victor said when he made the lead he was waiting on horses. He's still learning."

In the day's final race, the $60,000 NTRA Stakes for maiden colts and geldings over 6 1/2 furlongs, trainer Clifford Sise has excellent chances with Social Satire and Vice Admiral.

Social Satire has been fourth and second in two starts. Vice Admiral is winless in seven starts, but has been second in five of those races.he field for the Snow Chief also includes Brave Sun, a 4-for-12

shipper from Northern California, and longshots The Supply Program, Zoning In, and C.T. Zee.