11/28/2002 1:00AM

Victory Song a Baffert juvenile of a different flavor


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Not all Bob Baffert-trained 2-year-olds are geared toward the Triple Crown.

On Saturday at Hollywood Park, Victory Song will make his stakes debut in the $200,000 Generous Stakes at one mile on turf. Baffert won the race last year with Mountain Rage.

Victory Song, a son of Spinning World, has 1 win in 3 starts, a one-mile maiden race on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 31. It was a turnaround from a seventh-place finish in his debut at Del Mar on dirt Sept. 9 and a seventh in a one-mile maiden race on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 6.

"I think he's one of my better turf horses," Baffert said. "He's bred strictly for the turf. It's taken him a while to come along. I wanted to run him at Del Mar, but he was very green. I think he'll get better with age."

Owned by Charles Heider, Victory Song ran a strong race on Oct. 31, stalking the pace to early stretch before taking over to win by a length.

Understandably, he will need to show improvement to win the Grade 3 Generous Stakes, which has attracted nine runners.

While the seven Southern California-based horses don't include a major stakes winner, there are two interesting shippers - Lismore Knight, trained by Todd Pletcher, and Imitation, trained by Christophe Clement.

Lismore Knight won the Summer Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 8, but could only manage a fourth-place finish after a wide trip as a heavy favorite in the Hopemont Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 25. Imitation is similar to Victory Song in that he is only a maiden winner on turf, and is taking a jump in class.

Man Among Men is the likely favorite, having won both of his starts on turf - a maiden race at Del Mar by 5 1/2 lengths on Aug. 26 and the minor Pinjara Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 24. Trained by Gary Mandella, Man Among Men is a stalker who should have plenty of pace to chase given the presence of Imitation and Peace Rules.

Appalachian Thunder, who won a one-mile maiden race on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 6, will attract support. The Generous Stakes marks his stakes debut.

Bobby Frankel trains Peace Rules and Bis Repetitas, who will start as an entry owned by Edmund Gann. Peace Rules was a close second to Man Among Men in the Pinjara Stakes and is the stronger half of the entry. Bis Repetitas was seventh in that race following two wins in France in August.