06/07/2004 11:00PM

Time to throw out rule book


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - An ageless temptation will prove difficult to resist Thursday at Hollywood Park - taking a short price on a horse attempting something new.

will test the just-say-no approach in race 5, a one-other-than allowance route for 3-year-old fillies. The 1 1/16-mile turf race is problematic, because it comes on the heels of two persuasive main-track sprint wins by Alphabet Kisses. Bettors on Thursday must decide whether to back the filly in a turf route based on form established in a dirt sprint.

Most bettors will agree that in this case, the answer is yes. A California-bred daughter of Alphabet Soup bred by owner John Harris, Alphabet Kisses appears to tower over seven rivals. They include front-runner Old Chinese Copy, sprint-to-route The Dempsey Look, lightly raced Broad Minded, and four others with modest credentials - Five Nickels, She's the General, Church Editor, and Black Lace Sam.

Alphabet Kisses's Beyer Speed Figures overwhelm her rivals, and her pedigree suggests two turns and grass are fine. Yet trainer Marty Jones recognizes that both hurdles are significant.

"As a trainer, I don't like to throw too many new things at her at one time, but there really wasn't any spot on dirt," he said.

Thursday, for the first time, Alphabet Kisses must ration her speed. She sizzled the opening half-mile in about 44.50 in her last two starts, but cannot afford such a strategy Thursday.

"Hopefully we don't have her too geared up," Jones said. "If she doesn't settle she's going to be in trouble."

Jones added that to run long, "they've got to relax. It's got to be in their pedigree; it's got to be something they want to do."

Alphabet Kisses handled the grass surface fine in a half-mile team work May 27 under jockey Mick Ruis. With 7 wins from 23 starts, Jones is enjoying a banner meet. He entered three other starters on the Thursday card, while emphasizing that Alphabet Kisses "is probably going to be our best chance."

unleashed a furious late kick on May 19, racing the final five-sixteenths in 29 seconds to finish fifth in her first route try. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Broad Minded has shown less raw ability than Alphabet Kisses, but her experience in a two-turn turf race makes her a viable candidate in her fourth career start. The Dempsey Look stretches out and drops in for a tag after disappointing as the odds-on favorite May 30 in a turf sprint stakes.