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HORSE RACING: SURF CAT'S FINISH EASES SOLIS' PAIN.

Byline: KEVIN MODESTI Staff Writer

INGLEWOOD -- A week after Alex Solis' Triple Crown dreams were dashed by Brother Derek's defeat in the Kentucky Derby, the jockey earned some consolation Saturday with a stakes triple started by Surf Cat at Hollywood Park.

``It took me three or four days to get over losing the Kentucky Derby,'' said Solis, who finished in a dead heat for fourth with Brother Derek behind winner Barbaro. ``But a day like today is fun.''

Solis went 3 for 3 in Hollywood Park's graded stakes, rallying Surf Cat ($2.40) to a 3 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, Grey Swallow ($3.20) to a five-length win in the $250,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap on turf, and Siren Lure ($12.40) to a one-length win in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap sprint.

Surf Cat's fourth victory in a row and seventh in 11 starts for trainer Bruce Headley sets up the 4-year-old for the June 17 Californian and July 8 Hollywood Gold Cup. Last in the five-horse field going into the far turn, Surf Cat quickly got to the lead and covered 11/16mile in a fast 1:40.65 as Spellbinder finished second.

Grey Swallow, an Irish-bred making his first start in California, buried early leader Brecon Beacon in the 11/2-mile Jim Murray. Siren Lure, fourth in the betting, was squeezed at the start of the 6-furlong L.A. Handicap and had to pass six horses on the inside.

--Baffert wins: Wanna Runner and Victor Espinoza rolled to victory in the $300,000 Lone Star Derby in Dallas as Bob Baffert's 3-year-old continued to be racing's hottest road team. The Southern California-based trainer's out-of-town winners this year included Sinister Minister in the Blue Grass Stakes, Bob and John in the Wood Memorial, and Record in the Derby Trial -- before Baffert's poor showing in the Kentucky Derby.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 14, 2006
Words:324
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