Thursday, July 4, 1996

By Mark Midland

With three daylight wins from three starts, Cinderella Stakes winner Starry Ice figures to be the overwhelming choice in Saturday's $100,000-added Landaluce Stakes. But don't tell that to trainer Jerry Dutton.

"Her half-sister was the odds-on choice last year and it didn't do her much good," said Dutton, who saddled Distinguish Forum to a fourth-place finish as the 3-5 favorite in the 1995 edition of the contest.

"(The Landaluce) is an awfully tough race," said Dutton, who has four 2-year-old victories from seven wins at the meeting. "But we're gonna have to try them anyway."

Odds-on favortism will be nothing new for Starry Ice, who has been favored in each of her starts. She captured the Nursery Stakes at $1.30-1, the highest price of her short career.

The Ice Age filly has made a habit of putting her competition on ice with her blazing speed, as she has never been headed on the racetrack.

"I think she could sit off the pace (if she had to), but with her natural speed, most of the time she doesn't have to," Dutton said. "I'll just leave it up to Eddie (Delahoussaye)."

In other developments:

Post positions for the Landaluce Stakes (Gr. II) from the rail out, to be run Saturday, July 6, at six furlongs: Really Rising, Corey Black, 116; Starry Ice, Eddie Delahoussaye, 119; Spirited Jaclyn, Laffit Pincay Jr., 116; Trav N' Kris, Omar Berrio, 114; Montecito, Corey Nakatani, 116; Cozy Angie, Alex Solis, 116.

Trainer Marty Jones has some tough shoes to fill. Taking over after his father, legendary trainer Gary Jones, Marty has been fortunate to inherit a stable full of runners. But living up to expectations can create plenty of pressure.

"I've been very fortunate," said Jones. "But in some ways it is a no-win situation. With horses like these, sometimes the only way you can go is down."

So far, the younger Jones has exceeded expectations. Through Thursday, he has saddled five winners from 26 starters at the meeting, including a Grade I win with Auriette in the Gamely Handicap on June 9.

Jones missed out on that celebration, as his father deputized for him saddling Auriette, while Marty returned from overseeing another runner in New York. Jones will send the 4-year-old filly to post as the favorite in Sunday's Beverly Hills Handicap (Gr. I).

"I hope to be around this time," he said. "But we might have to saddle a horse up north, so I don't know."

Auriette has been unstoppable in 1996, drawing away from her competition in each of her three starts. Jones credits the improvement to the vacation she had this winter.

"She's been pretty spectacular since she came back from her rest," he said. "She's been stronger, healthier and more relaxed. She's done a 180-degree turnaround."

The Caerleon filly captured an allowance race in her 1996 debut and the Grade II Santa Barbara while racing right off the lead. She then set all the pace while never seriously threatened in her 2 1/4-length victory in the Gamely.

"Her last was a paceless race, so Kent just let her do her thing," Jones said. "But I don't think she has to be on the lead. She came from 10 lengths out of it last year."

The transition of taking over his father's stable has been a smooth one. Gary can still be seen around the barn once in a while.

"He doesn't come around here too often, about once a week," Marty said. "But I call him a lot to ask for his advice. I'd be crazy not to."

According to the younger Jones, his father is enjoying his retirement.

"He's a completely different person," he said. "It's the best decision he's ever made."

In other developments:

Fanjica worked three furlongs in :34 3/5 for trainer Ben Cecil.

Grafin went three furlongs in :36 2/5 Thursday morning in preparation for the Beverly Hills.

Trainer Bobby Frankel sent Didina four furlongs in :50.

Probables for the $250,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (Gr. I), to be run Sunday, July 7, at 1 1/4 miles on the turf: Auriette, Kent Desormeaux; Didina, Corey Nakatani; Fanjica, Alex Solis; Flagbird, no rider; Grafin, Corey Black; Real Connection, Brice Blanc.

Possible: Bail Out Becky, no rider; Different, no rider.

Exotic Wood passed Wednesday's two-turn test with flying colors, capturing a 1 1/16-mile allowance race by three lengths for her seventh victory in eight starts.

"She dominated like I wanted her to," said trainer Ron Ellis.

Ellis said the Rahy filly could make her next start alongside stablemate Twice The Vice in the July 21 Vanity Handicap.

"They don't really compromise each other stylewise," he said. "If we have to run against Serena's Song, then we'll need them both."

Hollywood Park will feature a special 4 p.m. post time on Friday. The twilight racing program will be followed by a spectacular laser show.

Fans can enjoy a Barbecue Steak Dinner in the North Park picnic area for only $5.95. The barbecue dinner includes an 8 oz. top sirloin char-grilled, sweet corn on the cob, Texas style baked beans, roll & butter and soft drink.

As always, Friday night at Hollywood Park includes $1 admission for ages 30 and under, $1 soft drinks, beers and hot dogs.

FINISH LINES: Trainer Bobby Frankel began Thursday with 698 lifetime wins at Hollywood Park . . . Trainer Neil Drysdale is one win shy of his 200th Hollywood Park winner . . . Dramatic Gold worked six furlongs in 1:11 4/5 Thursday morning in preparation with his date with Cigar in the July 13 Arlington Citation Challenge. Trainer David Hofmans said the 5-year-old gelding would depart for Chicago next week . . . Larry The Legend continues to prepare for his comeback as he breezed five furlongs in 1:03 at Santa Anita . . . Jewel Princess worked four furlongs in :48 1/5 Thursday morning . . . Ski Dancer worked six furlongs in 1:13 4/5 . . . Lit De Justice worked six furlongs in 1:13 4/5 over the turf course . . . Track Gal went seven furlongs in 1:29 3/5 on the turf

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