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Score Quick and Stute Are Winners at Pomona


Trainer Mel Stute, who has won training titles at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, prefers the cozy atmosphere of Fairplex Park to big-time racing.

"Many years ago, they asked me what the biggest race in the world was, the Arc? The Derby?" Stute said. "I said 'The Pomona Handicap.' And I have it now."

Stute, 70, won his second consecutive Fairplex training title when Score Quick won the 19th running of the $99,800 Pomona Invitational Handicap on Sunday, the closing day of the 18-day meet.

Score Quick, with jockey Matt Garcia aboard, went wire to wire in the 1 1/8-mile race, holding off a late charge from 1996 winner Region to win by one length in 1:50 for his 10th victory in 41 starts.

Private Song was third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Region.

Stute, who trained 1984 Pomona Handicap winner Fabulous Dad and 1986 Preakness winner Snow Chief, has won a lot of big stakes races, but he prefers it at Pomona, where he captured his fifth Pomona title with eight wins this season. He leads all trainers at Pomona with 143 wins, including 38 stakes races.

"I was raised in Covina and Baldwin Park and I would always come to the Fair," Stute said. "My brother [trainer Warren Stute] won his first race here in 1939 and I was in the winner's circle. It's always been my favorite track. Everybody else used to knock it.

"My horses seem to fit better here. A lot of the bigger trainers don't run here. I'm kind of the Charlie Whittingham of Pomona.

"This is close to home. All the kids I went to school with are here. When I go to the barn now, there'll probably be 20 or 30 of them [there]."

Horse Racing Notes

Deputy Commander led most of the race and held off a challenge by favorite Free House to win the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

Trained by Wally Dollase and ridden by Chris McCarron, Deputy Commander started from the outside post but was in control most of the race.

Precocity finished second and Blazing Sword came in third. Free House faded in the stretch and finished last among the six colts that competed in the 1 1/4-mile Grade I race for 3-year-olds.

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