11/21/2007 12:00AM

Zann aims for elusive graded win

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - Mike Machowsky kicked around the Breeders' Cup in New Jersey or a trip to Hong Kong for Zann this fall, but in the end decided that the best opportunity was to stay at home for Friday's $400,000 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park.

The Grade 1 Citation may provide Zann with the graded stakes win that has eluded him in his 13-race career.

"It's a great spot for a Grade 1 for us," Machowsky said.

Zann ran the best race of his career in his last start, a nose loss to Out of Control in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 7. Zann made up two lengths in the final quarter-mile of that race, but never reached the front.

The Citation is run over 1 1/16 miles on turf, which Machowsky said suits Zann.

"A mile and a sixteenth will be a little better for my horse than a mile," he said. "He's one of those horses that is very talented, and I don't think we've seen the best of him yet."

In the Citation, Zann may get an ideal trip under jockey Garrett Gomez. Willow O Wisp, who has earned $668,468, and Lang Field, a winner of five races, are expected to set the pace.

Zann typically races from well off the pace. Among the horses he must outfinish are Palace Episode, the third-place finisher in the Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park in September; Silent Name, who was 12th in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27; and Proudinsky, who won an allowance race in his 2007 debut earlier this month.

Silent Name carries high weight of 117 pounds, two more than Zann, but is winless in his last three starts, dating back to his victory in the Grade 2 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes at Keeneland in April. Making his first start for trainer Bobby Frankel, Silent Name appeared unsuited to soft turf at Monmouth Park and was not a factor in the final half-mile.

Palace Episode won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy in England in 2005, but is winless in three subsequent stakes, including a seventh as the favorite in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Handicap at Aqueduct on Oct. 28.

"He'll get firm ground, which he wants," said Rick Mettee, an assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. "We're hoping off that third in the Kelso he can be competitive."