Updated on 09/17/2011 10:26AM

Turf-racing lovers: Your time has come


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Turf racing resumes Wednesday at Hollywood Park after weekend rain forced four grass races, including the Inglewood Handicap, be switched to the main track Saturday and Sunday. Three grass races will be run Wednesday, including the seventh-race feature for fillies and mares at one mile.

Polygreen and Fun House are the principal entrants in the three-other-than allowance. Polygreen won her April 4 comeback at Santa Anita in a two-other-than turf sprint and will stretch out to two turns Wednesday under Gary Stevens. Imported from France last fall, the Richard Mandella-trained Polygreen has won 3 of 10. Fun House, trained by Ron McAnally, has won 3 of 14, including a front-running win April 11 in a two-other-than route at Santa Anita. Corey Nakatani rides Fun House. Other entrants include Miss Pitz, Miss Puzzle, Ivory Tower, and Thunder and Rain.

California-bred maidens run a mile on turf in race 3, and second-time starter Blairs General may be poised for a mild upset. A 3-year-old gelding, he split the field in an April 19 turf sprint at Santa Anita. He is trained by Doug O'Neill, whose seven wins after two weeks leads the standings. Blairs General faces comebacker Tack Attack, Mr. Persistency, and Excellentcharacter.

Motto is the horse to beat in race 5, a $50,000 turf claimer at 1 1/16 miles.

Storming Home returns in Jim Murray

Storming Home will enter the $400,000 Jim Murray Handicap on Saturday with a fancy European resume - and a five-month layoff to overcome in the 1 1/2-mile turf race. Storming Home has won 5 of 19, including a Group 1 last fall in England over subsequent Dubai World Cup winner Moon Ballad, and his $886,704 purse total tops the prospective field of six. Although Storming Home has not raced since he finished 15th of 16 in the Japan Cup last Nov. 24, he has worked steadily for his new trainer, Neil Drysdale.

"He's athletic and talented," Drysdale said. The endorsement provides little benefit to bettors, who may consider Storming Home vulnerable in his U.S. debut. Besides, there are five others to choose from, led by The Tin Man.

Trained by Richard Mandella, The Tin Man finished a close fourth in the Breeders' Cup Turf last fall, and his 9 1/2-length romp Feb. 15 in the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap established him as one of the circuit's leading marathon turf runners.

The defection of Europe-based Mutakarrim means the Jim Murray field will be made up exclusively by locally based runners. These are the likely starters, including weights and jockeys: The Tin Man, 123, Mike Smith; Storming Home, 122, Gary Stevens; Ballingarry, 120, Pat Valenzuela; Chiselling, 118, Alex Solis; Continental Red, 116, no rider; and Murano, 113, Corey Nakatani

Another Baze winner

Apprentice rider Michael Baze, 16, scored his first career win in his fourth mount Saturday by guiding maiden claimer Outonthesly ($16.60) to a 4 1/2-length victory in race 9. Baze, who tacks 107 pounds, comes from a family of jockeys. His father is former rider Mike Baze, his uncle is Russell Baze, and his cousin is Tyler Baze. The youngest Baze has been working horses in Southern California for the last six months, and rode his first winner for trainer Jack Van Berg. Instructions were simple.

"I was told just to break good and sit up there," Baze said. "When the horse in front got out on the turn, I snuck through on the inside,"

Ray Kravagna is the agent for Baze.

McAnally-Hunt on a roll

A gate-to-wire allowance win by South American import Consignada in the first race on Sunday continued a winning streak for trainer Ron McAnally and owner Nelson Bunker Hunt that they hope continues through Saturday. Consignada's win followed the Saturday victory by McAnally and Hunt's Gondolieri in the Inglewood, and they team again Saturday with Hollywood Park specialist Piensa Sonando in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap.

Consignada, Gondolieri, and Piensa Sonando are three of six horses Hunt purchased from Chile. The others are Seinne, Se Vera, and Voz Dolegiala. Piensa Sonando won the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood in December, then finished no higher than fourth in four starts during the Santa Anita winter meet. In the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy at 1 1/16 miles, Piensa Sonando will carry 114 pounds in a field expected to include Wooden Phone (118), Sunday Break (117), Palmeiro (115), Fleetstreet Dancer (114), Shacane (114), and Total Impact (114). If he starts, Western Pride (116) would be favored.

Smith hurt again

It has been an unlucky meet for jockey Mike Smith, who was hurt Saturday for the second time in a week when his mount in race 3, Lou's Expectation, acted up in the gate. Smith banged his head and aggravated minor injuries he sustained in a turf-race spill April 26, yet rode Lou's Expectation to a second-place finish in the sprint claimer. Smith, who has four wins at the meet, took off his remaining mounts Saturday and the entire card Sunday. He is not scheduled to ride Wednesday.

Three of the horses Smith was scheduled to ride won races under replacement jockeys - Belle of Portugal (Omar Berrio) and Brahma Bull (Frank Alvarado) on Saturday, and the promising A.P. Indy colt Ender's Shadow (Alex Solis), who won a maiden race on Sunday. Smith's last win was April 25 in race 9. After going 4 for 11 the first three days of the meet, Smith went down in two spills April 26, and is 0 for 16 since.

Smith ranked seventh in the jockey standings at Santa Anita and is expected to move up in the standings with the retirement of Laffit Pincay Jr., whose agent, Bob Meldahl, now books mounts for Smith.

* Steward George Slender was hospitalized Wednesday with a kidney and bladder infection, and he later contracted pneumonia. Slender was a patient at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.

* Men's Exclusive will try to become the first 10-year-old to win a Hollywood stakes race when he starts Saturday in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Times Handicap at six furlongs. Hombre Rapido and Giovanetti also are expected to run.