06/27/2007 11:00PM

Young pup nips at old 'Tin Man'

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The Tin Man had banked nearly $1 million by the time Out of Control was foaled in late 2003. Since then, The Tin Man's bankroll has mushroomed to $3.3 million, while Out of Control remains an anonymous allowance horse with earnings of less than $100,000.

That may change Saturday at Hollywood Park, where Out of Control will try to upset The Tin Man in the Grade 2 American Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on grass. A field of seven entered the $250,000 race (the fifth on the 11-race Gold Cup card), including four horses that finished behind The Tin Man in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile last month.

The Tin Man is trained by Richard Mandella for owner-breeders Ralph and Aury Todd, and though his 13-for-28 record includes eight graded stakes, his comeback might not be as good as it looks. Good horses sometimes get lucky; The Tin Man won the Shoemaker under optimum conditions.

Racing third behind an inordinately slow pace (48.12 seconds and 1:11.65) while favorite Kip Deville was buried inside, The Tin Man rallied past the outclassed front-runners at the furlong pole, and inched clear. The race shape flattered the speed: Longshot front-runners finished second and third, and no closer made an impact.

The facts do not disparage 9-year-old The Tin Man, who could get another pressing trip behind slow fractions. But the Shoemaker unfolded perfectly for The Tin Man; he almost had to win.

Victor Espinoza rides The Tin Man, who packs 123 pounds in a tune-up for the Arlington Million. His "same-old" rivals include Willow O Wisp, Becrux, Right Special, and Fast and Furious. Two new shooters pose the main threats - front-runner Lang Field and improving Out of Control.

Bobby Frankel trains Out of Control, whose advantage over The Tin Man is youth. Bred in Brazil and foaled in October 2003, Out of Control is still young and still improving. By South American standards, he does not turn 4 until July.

"The thing is, he's a 3-year-old," Frankel said. "That's why you see these South American horses keep improving, because they catch up in age."

Out of Control carries 113 pounds, 10 less than The Tin Man, and he has class credentials. Out of Control finished second in a Groupo1 in his third start in Brazil, and enters the American on an improving pattern. He won a second-level allowance last out, and is 3 for 7 overall.

Frankel does not predict victory, but is confident Out of Control will run the best race of his career Saturday under Michael Baze. He will need it.

Lang Field was compromised by a kamikaze rabbit three weeks ago in the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham. He previously won three allowance races, and benefits Saturday from likely slower fractions. Willow O Wisp is the only other front-runner.

Right Special, who has won 4 of 13 starts, finished fifth in the slow-paced Shoemaker, and trainer Paulo Lobo raved about his final workout a week ago.

"He worked amazingly," Lobo said. "I loved the way he did it."