Warren Stute was occupied mastering a new cell phone in his stable office in Barn 63 South at Hollywood Park on Thursday. For a trainer who some think is a contemporary of Alexander Graham Bell, the adaptation to the marvels of modern technology is no small feat.The venerable Stute, 81, remains a respected cum laude graduate of the "old school" of training, which still works well enough for him to have entrants in both of Saturday's graded stakes. He'll saddle Watching You in the $376,500 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies and Grey Memo in the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap (gr. III)."The pressure is on," said the wiry veteran, who seeks his second Starlet victory after annexing the 1991 running with Magical Maiden."Magical Maiden had a little more bottom to her when she ran in the Starlet," recalled Stute. "This filly has only run twice."Watching You acts like a nice filly, and the owner (B. Wayne Hughes) wanted to give her a shot," said Stute. "The way she ran the first time, it looked like she liked to come from behind. But in her last race, Kent (Desormeaux) said there was no speed and she found herself on the lead."After winning her debut, Watching You finished second to Puxa Saco in the seven-furlong Moccasin Stakes here Nov. 16. She was supplemented for $10,000 to the Starlet at 1 1/16 miles.Although Composure ranks as a short-priced Starlet favorite, Stute echoed advice from 65 years of experience on the track: "You can't win if you're not in." While Watching You is the young star on the rise in the stable, Grey Memo is the proven veteran. The 5-year-old roan horse won the Godolphin Mile in Dubai in March and has earned $1,359,659. But his favorite surface is Hollywood Park.
The California-bred son of Memo has posted four of his eight career victories on the main track here. He won the 1999 Hollywood Prevue Stakes, the 2000 On Trust Handicap and 2001 Ack Ack Stakes. He'll have his last chance for a fourth stakes win at Hollywood in as many years in the Native Diver at 1 1/8 miles."I hope the third time is the charm," said Stute of Grey Memo, who was third in the 2000 Native Diver and fourth in the 2001 race. Mike Smith has the call."He always seems to like this track, and he's fine," concluded Stute after the horse breezed four furlongs in :50.80. "He acts a little better than when he was 2 and 3. Some horses get better with age." So do some trainers.