04/17/2008 11:00PM

Some purses going up at Hollywood Park meet


ARCADIA, Calif. - Hollywood Park will begin its spring-summer meeting on Wednesday with a purse increase of 4 to 5 percent for maiden special weight and allowance races.

The purse for maiden special weight races have been increased $2,000, to $48,000 for sprinters and $50,000 for races around two turns. Allowance races have been increased $2,000 or $3,000, depending on eligibility and distance. For example, allowance races for nonwinners of one "other than" have been increased $2,000, while allowance races for nonwinners of three have been increased $3,000.

Racing secretary Martin Panza said the higher purses were made possible after the 2007 meeting ended with an underpayment of purses.

"There is a little cushion going in 2008, which certainly helps," he said of the available funds.

At the same time, he said the additional money may be needed if there is a business downturn, like there has been at two major meetings.

"Keeneland is down and Santa Anita is down," he said. "It's a tad bit scary with the way the economy is going with what's going on. Hopefully, everything is okay."

Panza said the purse increases will put Hollywood Park "more in line with Santa Anita and Del Mar."

A maiden special weight race for sprinters at Santa Anita this year has been worth $48,000. At Del Mar last year the same purse was worth $53,000.

Panza said the increase was "done at the direction" of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. He hoped that purses for claiming races could be increased in 2009.

Brother Derek set for Sunday return

Brother Derek, the winner of the 2006 Santa Anita Derby, returns from a layoff of more than 14 months in a $68,000 allowance race on Sunday. The race comes nearly a month after Brother Derek missed a comeback race because of a quarter crack.

Brother Derek was scheduled to start on March 28, but missed the race when the foot problem flared. He resumed training within a week and worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds on April 11, the fastest of 43 recorded works at the distance.

"We're going into this race even better," trainer Dan Hendricks said. "He worked strong like he always does. We want to get back running and see where we're at."

Owned by Cecil Peacock, Brother Derek has won 6 of 16 starts and $1,593,458. He has not started since finishing third in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes in February 2007, a layoff caused by an ankle injury. His last win came was in the 2006 Santa Anita Derby. He later finished fourth in the 2006 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Sunday's one-mile race drew a field of five.

Nice Bet, a group stakes winner in Brazil, makes U.S. debut for trainer Paulo Lobo.

Magnum, second in the 2006 Santa Anita Handicap, makes his second start after a 17-month layoff.

Dixie Meister, the winner of graded stakes in 2006 and 2007, returns from a year-long layoff.

The expected pacesetter is Mast Track, second in the March 28 allowance race.

Juvenile sets record

Gonging Wild, a 2-year-old filly by Expressionist, set a two-furlong track record of 20.87 seconds winning a maiden special weight race Thursday.

It may turn out to be Gonging Wild's only start for Galley Farm and trainer Adam Kitchingman. Gonging Wild will be offered at the Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training in Pomona, Calif., on May 13.

"She'll sell with no reserve," Kitchingman said.

Gonging Wild was purchased for only $2,000 at the Barretts January sale. She earned $21,600 in Thursday's race.

"We bought her three months ago," Kitchingman said. "We made our money."

Gonging Wild is the first winner for Expressionist, whose oldest foals are 3. Expressionist, 13, stands at Harrison Farms in Oro Grande, Calif., for a $2,000 fee. Expressionist earned $457,810 in his career.

Potts back riding in Southern Cal

Clinton Potts, the regular rider of Eclipse Award finalist River's Prayer in 2007, has returned to Southern California after riding at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.

Potts, 36, was booked on two mounts on Saturday and has two on Sunday - Alonewiththestorm in the ninth race, and Saundree in the 11th race.

Potts said he rode at Oaklawn Park primarily for trainers Tim Ritchey and John Servis. He won 14 races from 147 mounts for earnings of $395,738.

"I did pretty good for my first year there," he said. "My business wasn't really stellar [when I left] California. I thought it would be a good time to take a break."

Potts said he plans to stay in California for the rest of the year.

"If you win a few at the start of the meeting, anything can happen," he said.

River's Prayer gave Potts his first Grade 1 win in the Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder last July. She was a finalist for the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding female sprinter.