05/30/2005 11:00PM

Tiz Afire expected to show more


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Tiz Afire may have finished only fourth in his first start against winners on May 5, but the performance left trainer Marty Jones encouraged.

For Tiz Afire's return in a $51,000 allowance race for California-breds over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park on Thursday, Jones is adding blinkers - and expecting improvement from Tiz Afire.

"The horse can really run, but he runs kind of spotty," Jones said. "He's kind of figuring it out. We'll put blinkers on him and hope that will make him a little more focused."

, who finished sixth in the Khaled Stakes on April 24; Rush Country and City and State, who were second and third in front of Tiz Afire on May 5; and Charmvictor, a sharp maiden winner in his debut May 4.

Thursday's race marks Tiz Afire's fourth start. After finishing third in his debut at Santa Anita in February, Tiz Afire won a one-mile maiden race on turf for statebreds by a nose Feb. 23.

Owned by Harris Farms, Tiz Afire comes from off the pace.

, who starts from the outside, will show speed. A 3-year-old gelding trained by Gary Mandella, Charmvictor won his debut in a maiden race for California-breds over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf May 4.

Thursday's race also marks the first start around two turns for the quick Roman Jake, who was third in a turf sprint for statebreds May 14.

Either or City and State is capable of winning. Rush Country has won 2 of 13 starts and has been second five times. He was beaten only three-quarters of a length by Frankelstein on May 5, rallying from seventh in a field of eight. Rush Country, 4, has yet to win at Hollywood, but has been second in three of four starts here.

races close to the front. Trained by Dan Hendricks, City and State has run twice in Southern California, having started his career in northern California.

City and State won a $45,000 claiming race on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita April 15 and was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Frankelstein May 5.