06/23/2007 12:00AM

Worldly breathing easy in the U.S.


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Worldly had to leave his native Great Britain last year after a bad case of bleeding, but he has found these shores, where he can use Lasix, far more hospitable. On Saturday at Hollywood Park, he won his third straight race by downing even-money favorite Golden Balls in the Grade 3, $113,500 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap for 3-year-old turf runners.

Worldly ($5.20) was the second choice in a field reduced to five by the scratches of Gweebarra, Level Red, and Star Inside. He got a perfect, stalking trip under Victor Espinoza, collared front-running Tycoon Doby at the top of the stretch, then safely held off Golden Balls to win by one length in 1:47.40 for 1 1/8 miles on the firm course.

Golden Balls, who had won his lone start in this country, beat Tycoon Doby by a neck for second. Streets Ahead and Mr. Eddie Boy completed the order of finish.

Worldly won once in three starts in Great Britain before heading to trainer Ben Cecil in California. After winning a first-level allowance race at Santa Anita in April, he captured the Will Rogers Stakes here last month.

"We’ve always thought a lot of the horse, but he’s still a big baby," Cecil said. "He's getting better. He's still green in his races. He's green beforehand. He's still immature looking. He'll be better next year, but he's good enough this year. I thought he was pretty impressive. He won pretty well."

Worldly, a gray gelding by Selkirk owned by Christopher Wright, bled so badly in his final start in Great Britain last September that he was eased with blood coming from his nostrils, Cecil said. Cecil believes Worldly needed plenty of time to recover from that episode.

"That probably scared him," Cecil said.

Cecil said Worldly could make his next start at Del Mar, Arlington Park, or Colonial Downs, with the Virginia Derby on July 21 at the top of his preference list. "It's a million dollars. That makes it tempting," Cecil said.