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A Loaded, Lively Field

September 27, 2002|MARK RATZKY

Spunky Gal and Warren's Whistle, already stakes winners at the meeting, share top weight of 118 pounds in today's $100,000 Las Madrinas Handicap for fillies and mares.

A full and very competitive field is set for the 1 1/16-mile race, and a good case can be made for any number of horses.

By virtue of the rail draw and her strong score in the E.B. Johnston Stakes on Sept. 15, Spunky Gal may rate a slight edge. Trained by Vladimir Cerin, she will be eyeing the hat trick, having closed out Del Mar with a wire-to-wire win on the turf, then showing a passing gear in the Johnston when she tracked early, then won by 1 1/4 lengths. The water gets deeper now, but she looks up to the task under Tyler Baze.

Warren's Whistle is a multiple stakes winner over this tight course, including a repeat victory in the Pio Pico Stakes a week ago for trainer Mel Stute and jockey Martin Pedroza, who is locked in a duel with Baze for the riding crown. While this filly has earned a good deal of her $585,000 bankroll in shorter races, she has proved she can get the job done and should find a lively pace to stalk.

Jockey David Flores makes a rare Fairplex visit to handle Covincing for Darrell Vienna. It may have been two years ago, but this mare did break her maiden over this track by an eye-catching 10 lengths and figures to be forwardly placed at a decent price.

The picks: 1. Rover 2. Be A Winner JJ 3. Larkwood 4. Fleeting Term 5. Ruby Choise 6. In Season 7. Runaway Rubi 8. Too Excessive 9. Potus 10. Well Struck 11. Spunky Gal 12. Foxy Johnny

Post time: 12:30 p.m.

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