06/13/2006 11:00PM

Taikun's third shot at U.S. win


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It took a world record to beat in the Bullet Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 15. He led in the final furlong but was beaten a half-length by Scottsbluff, who zipped 5 1/2 furlongs on turf in 1:00.26.

Chances are Taikun will not have to run that fast to win Friday's $60,000 Flame Thrower Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park.

Trained by Ron McAnally, Taikun will go favored in the Flame Thrower, which is his third start in this country. He began his career in Australia, but was sent to the United States because of bleeding problems, McAnally said.

"We think we've got it under control," McAnally said of the bleeding. "I try to space his races. Lasix has certainly helped him."

Owned by Ed Goldstone, Taikun was the 6-5 favorite in the Bullet Stakes. He stalked a quick pace of 20.84 and 43.83 seconds and led narrowly before being caught.

"That's all we've been doing is running seconds," said McAnally. Through Sunday, McAnally's stable had one win from 25 starters at this meeting, but had seven second-place finishes.

In Australia, Taikun, 6, was a multiple stakes winner in 2004.

"We bought him in Australia because of his bleeding problem," McAnally said. "He's run two good races even though he was beaten last time in a world record. He's a nice horse. I really like him and always have."

In the Flame Thrower, Taikun will use the same strategy he used in the Bullet Stakes. Last month, Whata Soldier and Slew's Prince disputed the pace before fading. They are back in the Flame Thrower, which should give jockey Alex Solis a chance to stalk the pace with Taikun and make a move in the final quarter-mile.

Whata Soldier and Slew's Prince could be joined early by Olympic Moment, a 6-year-old gelding who has run against Quarter Horses at 870 yards in recent starts. Olympic Moment won the Prankster CF Handicap against Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos on June 4. In his last start against Thoroughbreds, he was third in a minor stakes at 4 1/2 furlongs at Turf Paradise in March.

The field also includes Bear in the Woods, Moth Ball, and Tomcolee. Bear in the Woods, the winner of an optional claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf on May 12, was scratched from an optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track Wednesday for this spot.