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HORSE RACING

Balance has chance to rebound

December 30, 2006|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Balance, the best 3-year-old filly in California in the early portion of 2006, will make her first start since finishing far back in the Kentucky Oaks on May 5 in the $250,000 La Brea Stakes today at Santa Anita.

Owned by John and Jerry Amerman and trained by David Hofmans, the daughter of Thunder Gulch will be looking to remain unbeaten in Arcadia in the Grade I at seven furlongs.

Before two failures in Kentucky -- she finished a well-beaten third in the Ashland at Keeneland before her debacle in the Oaks -- Balance won a pair of Grade I's locally, taking the Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks.

Sidelined after having a bone chip removed from an ankle, Balance is the 123-pound highweight in the La Brea, which is the first leg of Santa Anita's three-race La Canada series, and she will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.

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Swiss Diva, the 5-2 second choice, remained unbeaten in three starts, rolling to an 8- 1/2 length victory in the $138,750 California Breeders' Champion Stakes on Friday.

Agapito Delgadillo rode the 2-year-old Swiss Yodeler filly for owner-breeders Rick and Sharon Waller and trainer Paddy Gallagher. She completed the seven furlongs in 1:23.10. Prenuptial was second, Pokomoke was third and 2-1 favorite Double Major finished fourth.

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Jockeys Clinton Potts and David Cohen escaped injury in a spill in the eighth race on Friday in which their respective mounts (Western Matriarch and Polo Lounge) fell.

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Because of telecommunications problems, Santa Anita was unable to post pick-six prices at the conclusion of its card on Friday.

George Haines, the track's vice president and general manager, said the results would be made available as soon as possible, as the problem, which cost Santa Anita in terms of handle during the afternoon, was being worked upon.

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Before he had the first of his four victories on opening day, Gomez presented a check for $10,000 to the Winners Foundation, a racing industry-funded organization that helps people involved in the sport with problems related to alcohol and other substance abuse.

The leading jockey in the country this year in terms of purse earnings and the favorite to win the Eclipse Award, Gomez had substance abuse issues that derailed his career for almost two years.

bob.mieszerski@latimes.com

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