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Steel Ruhlr Goes Straight to Wire in Pomona Derby

September 28, 1997|CHRIS BAKER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Steel Ruhlr, ridden by Victor Espinoza, won the 43rd running of the $100,000 Pomona Derby on Saturday, the next-to-last day of the 18-day meeting at Fairplex Park.

A fourth-place finisher in the Santa Anita Derby Steel Ruhlr made his move on the last turn of the 1 1/8-mile race and went on to win by seven lengths.

Pete The Greek, with Matt Garcia aboard, was second, while General Royal, ridden by Goncalino Almeida, finished third, 3 1/2 more lengths back.

Steel Ruhlr, the 3-2 favorite, was timed in 1:50 2/5 in winning for only the second time in 21 starts. He increased his earnings to $252,348.

Trainer Edward Delaplane, a retired airline pilot from Canyon Country, said Steel Ruhlr will make his next start in the Oak Tree Derby on Nov. 2.

"This couldn't be any better," he said. "It's my first stakes win as a trainer and my first one-hundred grander.

"I was confident going in because he is a nicer horse than he's shown in the past. He always had a lot of trouble. In his maiden race, he almost lost an eye, but he's just a tough horse. He tries hard every time."

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