05/17/2007 11:00PM

Two get a better scenario


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Circumstances worked against stakes-winning sprinters Desert Code and Principle Secret last month. A mile was too far for Desert Code, who lost by a nose. A wide trip and four-month layoff was too much for Principle Secret; he missed by a half-length.

Desert Code and Principle Secret return to favorable conditions Sunday at Hollywood Park, and are the key players in the Grade 3 Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes, a seven-furlong, $100,000 sprint for 3-year-olds. The 11-horse field includes two unbeaten sprinters seeking their third straight - closer Try to Fly and front-runner Euroglide.

After Desert Code won the Grade 3 Baldwin, a turf sprint, on March 10, trainer David Hofmans gambled by stretching him out to two turns April 14 in the La Puente Stakes on grass. Desert Code led every step but one, and lost by a nose.

"The distance was a little far for him," Hofmans said.

The shorter distance and return to Cushion Track will benefit Desert Code, who romped in his only start at Hollywood. Richard Migliore rides Desert Code, a presser who figures for a good trip outside front-runners Euroglide and Hurry Home Warren.

To win, Desert Code must hold off Principle Secret, whose second-place finish April 8 in the 6 1/2-furlong San Pedro was his first start since he came out of the Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 16 with a temperature. In his comeback, Principle Secret lost ground rallying wide; winner Try to Fly cut the corner.

It was a good comeback for Principle Secret, who won the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes last summer at Del Mar.

"We were very happy," trainer Chris Paasch said. "A horse that has been off four or five months, it's hard to have him dead fit against the 'now' horses. Now that he has had a good tightener, he should improve."

Principle Secret is expected to be closer to the pace Sunday. Try to Fly beat Principle Secret in the San Pedro, and will try to run his record to 3 for 3 under Joe Talamo. Trained by Doug O'Neill, Try to Fly is a deep closer who has not raced on Cushion Track, but has worked fast over the surface.