05/01/2002 11:00PM

Woodford task: Beat 'Hollow'


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In the last two years, Beat Hollow has raced against the world's top turf horses. He will need to draw from that experience in Saturday's $400,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.

In 2000, Beat Hollow finished third in the English Derby. Race winner Sinndar later won the 2000 Arc de Triomphe. Runner-up Sahkee won the 2001 Arc and nearly beat Tiznow in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic.

Beat Hollow is now trained by Bobby Frankel, who is seeking his first win in the Woodford Reserve, which is run over 1 1/8 miles.

Beat Hollow has one win in two starts in the U.S., an allowance race at Santa Anita and a second in the Explosive Bid Handicap at Fair Grounds on March 24.

"He improved into his second race," Frankel said. "I just want him to win."

The field of 10 for the Woodford Reserve includes defending champion White Heart as well as Baptize, Hap, Pisces, Quiet Resolve, Sligo Bay, and With Anticipation, all graded stakes winners since the start of 2001.

Beat Hollow is one of many contenders who race from off the pace. Hap is another.

The 6-year-old Hap was eighth in the Explosive Bid in his 2002 debut, failing to repeat the form that led to four stakes wins last year.

"I was a little disappointed, frankly," said Hap's trainer, Bill Mott. "I wonder if he's getting too old. Hopefully, he's back into racing now that he's had a run."

Pisces and Quiet Resolve, who were second and fourth, respectively, in the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland on April 12 will race from off the pace. Quiet Resolve needed the race, trainer Mark Frostad said.

"He was probably a race short," Frostad said. "He is coming into this race well."

The pace will be set by Climate, a 6-year-old who has won 4 of 9 starts racing in California. In his last start, he won a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita that included Touch of the Blues, who returned to win the Maker's Mark Mile.

Trainer Ron Ellis said he will add a blinker on Climate's left side to keep him from lugging in through the stretch.

"It's an ambitious jump, but the allowance race he won was like a stakes," Ellis said. "The key to him is getting him to relax. He can get a little rank."

Climate must run a perfect race to win the Woodford Reserve. There will be too many top-class turf horses chasing him to allow any mistakes.