06/11/2006 11:00PM

Unfurl the Flag, carryover spice card


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - , the winner of the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap last summer, makes his 2006 debut in Wednesday's seventh race at Hollywood Park, a program that also features a pick-six carryover of $167,242.

Trainer David Bernstein said Unfurl the Flag "is acting like his old self" in preparation for his comeback, but he is taking a cautious approach to Wednesday's race at 6 1/2 furlongs. The goal is to have Unfurl the Flag ready for a start in the Triple Bend Handicap on July 2.

Unfurl the Flag goes in the seventh race, the fifth leg of the pick six, which begins with the third race. The pick six includes three sprints on the main track for maiden claimers; an allowance race and a claiming race on turf, both around two turns; and the main-track sprint with Unfurl the Flag.

Unfurl the Flag has not started since finishing 10th in the California Cup Sprint at Santa Anita in November. Bernstein said Unfurl the Flag began to tail off after a sixth-place finish in the Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap last August.

"He gets a little body sore," Bernstein said. "We ran him at Del Mar and that jarred him pretty good."

A winner of 6 of 21 starts, Unfurl the Flag breaks from the rail on Wednesday. He has worked quickly in recent weeks at Santa Anita and has the speed to play a prominent role from the start.

The eight-horse field also features the 2006 debut of Southern Africa, who won the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in May 2005, and Chips Are Down, the winner of the Bien Bien Stakes here last November.

Other contenders are Pure as Gold, the winner of the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita in April, who starts for a $100,000 claiming price; and Red Warrior, who won the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint in 2005.

The fourth race is the most lucrative of the day, a $62,000 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Eastern Sand, the winner of the Grade 3 Silky Sullivan Handicap at Golden Gate Fields last fall, will attempt to end a four-race losing streak. Trained by Jeff Mullins, Eastern Sand was a game second in an optional claimer here on May 19.

Eastern Sand will be opposed by Ace Blue, Fast and Furious, Just Wonder, and Wild Buddy.