06/22/2009 11:00PM

Speight the Halo tries to stretch out


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A two-turn allowance Thursday at Hollywood Park has major implications for the good sprinter Speight the Halo.

If he carries his speed 1 1/16 miles, Speight the Halo will aim for the $300,000 Swaps Stakes next month. The question Thursday is, How far can he run?

"That's always a question," trainer Eoin Harty admits. "If he does stretch out, I'll run him back in the Swaps."

Speight the Halo enters as the lone front-runner Thursday in race 7, which could set him up for the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile Swaps for 3-year-olds July 18. Otherwise "it's back to Plan A," Harty said, referring to sprints.

Ten horses, 3 years old and up, entered the first-level allowance, and Speight the Halo figures to have things his way. A sharp maiden sprint winner last out, he has given Harty every indication he can run long.

"I've never seen him get tired," Harty said. "He's run seven-eighths, and it's not much of a stretch from seven-eighths to a mile and a sixteenth."

Speight the Halo is by sprinter Speightstown, and produced by a mare who never won beyond six furlongs. But even if Speight the Halo's pedigree hints that two turns is too far, they still have him to catch.

Garrett Gomez rides Speight the Halo, who showed promise as a 2-year-old by finishing in front of subsequent Grade 1 winners I Want Revenge and Street Hero. An ankle chip ended his campaign after three starts; Speight the Halo returned this spring in top form.

Speight the Halo finished third in his comeback, then wired maidens at seven furlongs. Since that May 9 race, he has worked steadily and benefits from the Hollywood profile. Nearly one-third (19 of 62) of main-track races this meet at 1 1/16 miles have been won gate to wire.

Other contenders Thursday include Ukiah, beaten less than three lengths June 13 in the low-rated Grade 2 Californian. Indy Ride, an improving 3-year-old, could earn a Swaps berth if he reproduces his last-out maiden win. The problem with Indy Ride is that his deep-closing style is compromised by the lack of pace.

* In race 8 Thursday, Swiss Love enters as a standout in a five-furlong sprint for California-bred 2-year-old maiden fillies. A good showing by Swiss Love would make her one of the early favorites for the $100,000 CTBA Stakes on July 24 at Del Mar.