06/08/2005 12:00AM

Tinseltown following Artie's lead


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Jimmy Jerkens won last year's Hill Prince with Artie Schiller, who is among the top turf horses in the country and the likely favorite in Saturday's Grade 1 Manhattan.

In Friday's Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont Park, Jerkens has a promising colt in Tinseltown, who will make his graded stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds.

Belmont's first race goes off at 1 p.m. on Friday, two hours earlier than usual.

Artie Schiller was a short-priced favorite in last year's Hill Prince, but Tinseltown will carry higher odds and could be overlooked in an 11-horse field that includes several runners with graded stakes experience.

won an overnight stakes here by a half-length over Touched By Madness in his last start on May 20. Ten days later, Touched By Madness was an easy winner of the Jersey Derby. It was Tinseltown's first race on the grass and was preceded by a seven-length maiden win in the slop at Aqueduct.

"He has a very big, flat foot and speed," Jerkens said. "With that speed, I figured if he took to the turf it would be a good thing."

Jose Santos rides Tinseltown from post 2 in the $100,000-added Hill Prince.

, who drew the rail, is the likely favorite. In his last start on May 6, Rey de Cafe won the Grade 3 American Turf at Churchill. Under the allowance conditions of the Hill Prince, Rey de Cafe is the 123-pound highweight.

"I hate the 1-hole, but the weight bothers me more, and I knew about that before [the draw]," said Rusty Arnold, Rey de Cafe's trainer.

Arnold said that when Rey de Cafe lost the Transylvania by a neck in April, jockey Javier Castellano said the colt lost interest when he made the lead early in the stretch.

"We decided to take back in his last race and were happy with the result," Arnold said. "Of course, I don't know what the 1-hole will make us do."

won his maiden in the Palm Beach at Gulfstream, and two races later won a first-level allowance race at Belmont. Tadreeb, second in the Palm Beach, is coming off a loss as the favorite in the Forerunner at Keeneland. Tadreeb's trainer, Mark Hennig, said the colt has recovered from a pulled muscle in his hindquarters, an injury that he sustained in the race.

Crown Point, coming off a freshening, won last year's Pilgrim here at the Hill Prince distance.

Defer, last year's Laurel Futurity winner, is entered but is not expected to run.