07/03/2010 11:00PM

Will Compari run now or await Gold Cup?


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The partnership that owns Compari may wait until race day to decide the participation of their four-time stakes winner in Sunday's $150,000 American Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Compari would be the 119-pound highweight in the Grade 2 American over 1 1/8 miles on turf if he starts, but owners John Harris, John Nicoletti, and Don Valpredo, and trainer Marty Jones may pass that race in favor of the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup next Saturday.

As of Friday, plans were undecided.

"We entered to take a look at it," Jones said. "We'll look at all the options."

The decision will significantly impact the race. Compari is a front-runner, and used such tactics to win the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap and two stakes for statebreds at Santa Anita earlier this year.

Compari was never able to reach the lead in his last start, when seventh in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile here on May 31, starting on the outside in a field of nine and running in third for the first half-mile. His chances were further compromised by traffic problems three furlongs from the finish.

Without Compari in the American, Temple City, who was third in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap last summer, may set the pace. He would face a late threat from Riviera Cocktail, Red Door Drive, and Meteore, who finished in front of Temple City in an allowance race here on June 6.

Riviera Cocktail, a minor stakes winner for trainer Neil Drysdale last fall, has won two starts on turf at this meeting, in allowance races and optional claimers.

Red Door Drive, second in a maiden race for $25,000 claimers last September, is making his stakes debut in the American. His nose loss to Riviera Cocktail foiled a bid for a three-race winning streak.

"He just got beat an inch," trainer Bob Baffert said.

Aside from Compari, there are four other stakes winners in the field -- Global Hunter, Meteore, Quindici Man, and Oil Man.

Meteore is winless in four starts since the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar last August. On June 6, he was within a head of the lead with a furlong remaining and was beaten a half-length by Riviera Cocktail.

"He's had a prep race and we think that would move him along," trainer Richard Mandella said. "He got just a touch tired at the end."