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Horse Racing | FAIRPLEX PARK

Flores and Gundaghia Eye Records

September 12, 1996|GRAHAME L. JONES

In the 57-year history of racing at Fairplex Park in Pomona, only two horses have matched what Gundaghia has accomplished.

But the 9-year-old California-bred can surpass Dawn Lark and Rob Bob in the meeting that begins today by winning one more stakes race. The three thoroughbreds share the record with six stakes victories apiece.

Then there is David Flores, who begins the 19-day meeting 12 wins shy of the all-time record of 248 held by Francisco Mena. Flores might have broken the record last year but rode for only four days before leaving to attend to family matters in Tijuana.

That left the door open for Jose Valdiva Jr. to become the first apprentice to win a riding title in Southern California since Aaron Gryder did so at Hollywood Park in 1987. Valdiva, from Lima, Peru, rode 21 winners in 111 starts.

Flores, the track's all-time leading stakes winner with 37 victories, is favored to regain the riding championship he has won six times.

Trainer Vladimir Cerin, meanwhile, will be seeking his third consecutive Fairplex training title, having saddled 42 winners at the 1994 meet and 19 last year.

The track's 58th season features at least one stakes race each day, with the meeting highlighted by the $150,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Invitational Handicap on Sept. 29.

Last year, attendance dropped to 270,759--an average of 14,250 a day--but the track set a record with a $95-million handle, or more than $5 million daily.

Major races will be simulcast from other tracks, including Cigar's appearance Saturday in the $500,000 Woodward Stakes.

First post will be 1 p.m. each day except for Fridays, when there is a 4 p.m. start.

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