10/10/2004 11:00PM

Spencer's Magic in a slump

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Spencer's Magic seemed to suffer more bad luck than any racehorse in California during the summer.

In several starts, he often broke slowly or found trouble. On July 14 at Hollywood Park, Spencer's Magic appeared to be on his way to winning a turf sprint, but ducked out and unseated jockey Alex Bisono.

Wednesday, Spencer's Magic will attempt to end a five-race losing streak in a $41,000 allowance race for California-breds at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf at Santa Anita.

"I think he'll win," said trainer Barry Abrams. "It was a fluke thing that happened at Hollywood Park. Everyone gave him a bad rap for what he did. He was a green horse."

Wednesday's race marks Spencer's Magic first start in a sprint since he ran a troubled third at five furlongs on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 9, losing by a neck. He followed that race with a seventh and a fifth in races around two turns at Del Mar.

"I think he might be better right now as a sprinter," Abrams said.

, who beat maidens in a $25,000 claiming race at one mile on the main track at Del Mar in August.

Aside from Spencer's Magic, other contenders in Wednesday's race are Drake's Victory and Pepper Trail.

Pepper Trail is making his turf debut, but should take to the surface. His sire, Trail City, was accomplished on turf, winning two stakes and placing in seven stakes on the surface.

, 3, was fifth in a state-bred allowance race here on dirt Sept. 30. Trained by Mike Harrington, Pepper Trail won his first start of the year in a starter allowance over six furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 27.

The key to a win by Drake's Victory or Spencer's Magic is a quick pace, which should come from Pioneerman and Pepper Trail. Pioneerman has one victory in 14 starts.

beat maidens at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Hollywood Park in June and has been third, fifth, and second in three subsequent starts. At Del Mar on Sept. 6, Drake's Victory launched a wide rally from eighth to finish second, four lengths behind Aziyan.

Wednesday's race marks the shortest run of his five-race career.

"The other day he never got a chance to run," said trainer Julio Canani. "He'll come from behind. We see horses come from behind all the time that come down the hill and win."