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Spunky Gal Tries Dirt Surface

September 15, 2002|MARK RATZKY

Spunky Gal hasn't raced in the afternoon on the main track since March 2001, when she made the second appearance of her career, but trainer Vladimir Cerin believes the time is right to return to a dirt surface in today's E.B. Johnston Stakes.

She was claimed for $50,000 by David and Holly Wilson after a victorious debut over two years ago. The owners had to show a lot of patience with the daughter of Runaway Groom; she didn't race again for about eight months. She has made good use of her time since, however, earning about $100,000 while making her last nine starts over the turf, including a wire-to-wire victory on turf at Del Mar two weeks ago.

It's often a smooth transition from grass to Fairplex because grass runners are usually very nimble around the tight turns. Even though Spunky Gal, being ridden by Scott Stevens, is being asked to give a minimum of eight pounds to her seven rivals this weekend, she deserves marquee treatment. Look for her to settle behind Happy Michelle and Demidoll, and then set sail going to the last of those three bends.

Spunky Gal has captured a respectable three of 10 starts, but she's a long way from the long-term numbers turned in by Johnston foes Revillew Slew and Lookn Mighty Fine, who have recorded 12 and 11 victories, respectively.

Revillew Slew was second in her only try over this course, and Lookn Mighty Fine has a place and show in her two local attempts.

The picks: 1. Davis 2. Kg Jim Dandy 3. Oh To Win 4. Roberta's Mango 5. Silky Goose 6. Oh Jazzy Day 7. Wiley Grey 8. Gold Scammer 9. Count Your Cards 10. American Pastime 11. Spunky Gal 12. Morning Storm.

Post time: 12:30 p.m.

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