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FAIRPLEX

Contentious Derby Field

September 28, 2002|MARK RATZKY

Today's $100,000 Pomona Derby is shaping up as the most contentious stakes race of the meeting, with each of the 10 entrants boasting the credentials to get the job done in this 1 1/8-mile headliner.

While Paxtecum got the worst of the draw, landing the far outside slot for his bullring debut, there are several reasons to embrace his chances at what figures to be a square price in a race filled with value plays. For starters, the colt showed promise when he began his career 11 months ago for Mike Machowsky, and even though all that early work was done on the turf, he's coming off a solid try in the El Cajon over the main track at Del Mar. He was beaten by a neck in that mile affair and was coming nicely at the end.

David Flores was aboard Paxtecum for the first time and will do an encore, and while he doesn't turn up regularly at this venue anymore, there was a time when he was the king around these parts. Add in the fact that Paxtecum was making his first start since early January in last month's Del Mar try and figures to move forward off the effort, and you have a trio of solid handicapping angles pointing in his direction.

The aptly named Derby Trial was decided here 12 days ago and Bold Mango was an emphatic winner of that race over 1 1/16 miles, so you have to give him respect. Asong For Billy passed that race, but he had little trouble handling Bold Mango when they met over the Del Mar turf, so he's going to be dangerous if he takes to this tight course.

The picks: 1. Mattys Super Star, 2. Kooba Dash, 3. Goldy Strike, 4. Bien Rullah, 5. King Kandy, 6. Demidoll, 7. Rare Stone, 8. Blazing Deputy, 9. J T's Song, 10. Avian, 11. Paxtecum 12. Subtle Irony

Post time: 12:30 p.m.

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