10/24/2005 11:00PM

'Temptations' fast but flaky


ARCADIA, Calif. - When his brain eventually catches up to his body, the gelding Excess Temptations may become quite a racehorse.

Until then, each step will be an adventure, including a mile turf allowance that is the race-7 feature Thursday at Santa Anita. The $45,000 race is the first try around two turns for Excess Temptations, whose raw ability makes him the logical favorite against eight rivals in the first-condition allowance for California-breds.

He must mind his manners.

"His mind tends to wander," trainer Howard Zucker admitted. "He's still young; he was goofing off a little bit [last out]."

has won 1 of 4, and a runner-up finish 18 days ago in a highly rated allowance sprint stamps him fastest in the race. Question is, can he ration his speed while coming back in 2 1/2 weeks?

"I feel like he didn't run his race the other day," Zucker said. "I felt like we could come back in 18 days. I don't think he will be emptied out. And the jump back to turf might not be a bad idea."

Zucker has wanted to stretch out Excess Temptations ever since he won his debut in a turf sprint at Hollywood Park on June 16.

"We were going to [go long] second time out," Zucker said, but explained the condition book never broke right, which is why Excess Temptations, a 3-year-old by In Excess, has raced exclusively in sprints.

In a comfortable five-furlong work last Friday, Excess Temptations rated comfortably, finished strongly, and gave the impression he was ready for a route. Patrick Valenzuela will ride. If Excess Temptations transfers his sprint form to a two-turn mile, he should win for owner-breeder John Harris and co-owner Brad Penny, pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The eight others come in all forms. stretches out following a fast maiden win, and is bred to run long. Time to Honor improved in his first start for trainer Gary Stute by winning a modest maiden turf route. His speed figures are well below the favorite's, but Time to Honor has two-turn experience and a closing style that should play well.

Also in the field are deep closer , front-runner Fly Forrest Fly, and longshots Milltown Road, A Gallant Discover, Cielo Blinco, and Sharp Marc.

* In race 6, well-regarded maiden Canteen makes his first start since June for trainer Neil Drysdale. A son of Fusaichi Pegasus and a half-brother to Kentucky Derby runner-up Strodes Creek, Canteen was disqualified from a maiden win in March, finished sixth in the Arkansas Derby won by Afleet Alex, and was second in a maiden race in June.