05/07/2008 11:00PM

Sprinters may have a new boss


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The vanishing act called the California sprint division reappears Saturday at Hollywood Park, where the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap sets up for an unproven colt facing stakes company for the first time.

Street Boss marched through the allowance ranks this winter as if he could become an important sprinter this summer, and when he runs six furlongs in race 9, he faces a group thinned of recent graded stakes winners. Greg's Gold is retired; Surf Cat is two-turning; and In Summation returned to the East.

"It's time for a new star," trainer Bruce Headley said, referring to Street Boss.

A 4-year-old sired by Street Cry, Street Boss has won 4 of 8 overall, 3 of his last 4, and enters the Los Angeles off the best effort of his career - an allowance win in which he earned a 106 Beyer Figure.

"He's had quite a few races, and run well every time," Headley said. "He's been doing it with a good burst of speed."

The last-start win by Street Boss was validated when runner-up Tropic Storm and seventh-place finisher Tontine Too both returned to win.

Street Boss, a closer, benefits from a lively pace scenario led by speedsters Bilo and Sailors Sunset. Bilo won the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap last year and is 4 of 6 at Hollywood; Sailors Sunset won the Los Angeles Handicap last year and is 3 of 6 overall at Hollywood Park.

Meanwhile, Street Boss has never raced or breezed at Hollywood. He also has a new jockey. David Flores has replaced Alex Solis as Headley's main rider; Solis rode Street Boss in all eight starts, including the last-out win. None of it will matter if the best horse wins.

A field of nine entered the Los Angeles, and co-highweight Bilo faces questions in his first start in nearly four months. Bilo was the 5-2 program favorite April 27 when he scratched from the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes, a 7 1/2-furlong race for statebreds. Trainer Mike Mitchell said he was not ready for that distance.

Bilo is using the six-furlong Los Angeles as a prep race for the Grade 1, $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap at seven furlongs on July 5. If the race Saturday had less speed, Bilo would be tough first start back. But with co-front-runners Sailors Sunset and High Standards also in the field, the splits will be severe.

The consistent Bonfante is the 119-pound co-highweight; he won his last two starts at Bay Meadows, and his closing style suits the race. The Los Angeles field also includes Peace Chant, Doppio, deep-closing longshot El Manuel, and Barber.