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FAIRPLEX

Road Grader Gets Tested for Class Today

September 13, 2002|BILL CHRISTINE

There are few throwouts today in the $50,000 Foothill Stakes, the feature on the 11-race opening-day card at Fairplex Park.

The most intriguing horse in the 10-horse Foothill for three-year-olds is Arizona-bred Road Grader, who has already run 24 times and is a dual derby winner at Turf Paradise and Yavapai Downs, tracks in Arizona. Recently, I made my first bet ever on a Yavapai (YAV-a-pie) race, at a racebook in Las Vegas, and the clerk said to me: "You're the first one I've had who's ever said the name of that track right." Unfortunately, it was the right pronunciation, but the wrong horse. I won't be betting Yavapai horses anytime soon.

Road Grader, for all his stakes credentials, is more suited for longer distances than the 6 1/2-furlong Foothill around the sharp turns at Fairplex. Crooked Key ran twice at Fairplex as a 2-year-old, winning an allowance at six furlongs. The 3-year-old gray gelding is going back to dirt after three tries on grass. Chaos N Confusion is making his first start since trainer Wesley Ward claimed him from Bob Baffert for $62,500 at Del Mar on Aug. 28. The colt was used up early and ran fifth in that start, his first race back since breaking his maiden on opening day at Santa Anita last year.

The picks: 1. Jewel Case. 2. Black Team. 3. Taylorman. 4. Cookie Cutouts. 5. Bronx. 6. A Colt For David. 7. Danceascore. 8. Further. 9. Buttertart. 10. Chaos N Confusion. 11. Culley.

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