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FAIRPLEX : Early Duel Benefits Angi Go


Trainer Roger Stein, who was upset at everybody connected with Steff Graf on Sept. 14 when that filly challenged his Southern Truce for the early lead in the E.B. Johnston Stakes, is the one who has to answer that same question today.

Why did he allow David Flores and Southern Truce to hook up with heavily favored Magical Maiden in Friday's $100,000 Las Madrinas Handicap at Fairplex Park?

The two horses covered the first half-mile in 45 4/5 seconds, the fastest time of the meet for a distance race and it compromised both of their chances.

Stein couldn't be found for an answer, but Angi Go, under a skillful ride by Fernando Valenzuela, was positioned perfectly to catch the tiring front-runners and he scored a half-length victory over Kelkyko, ridden by Paul Atkinson.

Corey Nakatani got Magical Maiden home in third place in the 1 1/16-mile race, much to the relief of one bettor in Viejas who plunked down $14,000 on the horse to show. It created a minus pool when Magical Maiden finished third and the track lost $3,011. The bettor made a $700 profit.

Magical Maiden, clearly the class of the five-horse field, broke quickly along with Southern Truce and the two of them were clear by five lengths at the half-mile pole.

"That was fine with us," trainer Dave Hofmans said. "Our filly has won in the bullring before. I had told Fernando to play it by ear. She has a lot of speed and could have gone out with the leaders, but he rode her just right."

Valenzuela was also happy with Angi Go's early position. "I didn't want to make the lead too early because she kind of gets to holding herself back, which she tried to do today. If not, we would have won easier."

Angi Go made her move around the far turn and ran outside of Magical Maiden, then beat Kelkyko to the wire.


It was a strong day for chalk players, which made for a low Pick-Six, $116.40, the smallest of the meeting. . . . Berillon, a 24-1 upset winner in last year's Pomona Invitational Handicap, has drawn the No. 8 post position for Sunday's 16th edition of the $150,000 race. Berillon will face nine rivals in the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. The field in order: Southern Wish, Corey Nakatani, 116; Half Past Ten, Joy Scott, 106; Lyphard Lizard, Paul Atkinson, 114; Sand Lizard, Danny Sorenson, 113; Risen Roman, Gary Stevens, 114; Seahawk Gold, G.F. Almeida, 117; Lovely One, Martin Pedroza, 114; Berillon, Adalberto Lopez, 114; Nancys French Fry, Fernando Valenzuela, 118; Marfamatic, David Flores, 115. . . . Wing It heads a field of seven in the $15,000 Silver and Gold Invitational Handicap for Appaloosas, which will be the second race on Sunday. . . . Letthebiggatorout and P.V. Battle, both thoroughbreds, will take on quarter horses in the Pomona 870 Handicap, the third race on Sunday's card. . . . Trainer David Bernstein has recovered from a recent bout of periocarditis, an ailment in which excess fluid forms around the heart. Bernstein says he hopes to have The Wicked North ready to race again in January.

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