06/07/2006 11:00PM

Sprinter Captain Squire begins on road to longer races


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Captain Squire, the millionaire and four-time stakes winner, is best known as a sprinter. Trainer Jeff Mullins is hoping to change that in coming months.

, 7, tries a new distance on Saturday when he starts in the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap at 7 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park. If Captain Squire wins, Mullins said he might run him at a mile or farther this summer.

The Ack Ack Handicap distance is essentially a sprint with a stamina test in the final furlong. Mullins is hoping that Captain Squire's past, which includes a win at 1 1/16 miles, will be an asset on Saturday.

"He won the stakes here going seven [furlongs] at 3," Mullins said, referring to the 2002 Laz Barrera Stakes. "He knows what he can do."

Captain Squire raced around two turns last winter. He finished an unlucky second in a one-mile allowance race on turf at Santa Anita in December, losing the lead in the final stride to The Tin Man. He was sixth in the Sunshine Millions Turf at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park in January after leading to early stretch.

Captain Squire has not started since finishing fourth in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint at six furlongs in Dubai in late March. He was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by fellow California invader Proud Tower Too. After returning to California, Captain Squire was kept in light training.

"We kept him in the barn and backed off of him a little bit," Mullins said.

The Ack Ack Handicap field includes a few tricky opponents for Captain Squire.

The race includes , who won the Tiznow Stakes at seven furlongs here on April 30. Trained by Carla Gaines for Harris Farms, Lucky J.H. is unbeaten in two starts this year, including a front-running win in a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita in February.

, 8, makes his first appearance in a stakes since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap in 2003. Claimed three times since that race, Primerica is coming off a game win in an optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles here on May 10. Trained by Mike Puype, Primerica likes Hollywood Park, having finished in the first three in 11 starts at this track.

Trainer Molly Pearson starts Prorunner, who finished third in the Los Angeles Handicap on May 10. Pearson won the 2004 Ack Ack with Taste of Paradise.