10/15/2010 11:32AM

Autism Awareness eyes another stakes upset at Fresno

Vassar Photography
Autism Awareness, winner of the 2009 Berkeley, will try to spring an upset in the Bull Dog.

Is it time for another upset by Autism Awareness?

The 5-year-old horse has won only 4 of 29 starts and is winless this year. But he has a knack for pulling off upset victories, including the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby as a 3-year-old and the Grade 3 Berkeley when he defeated millionaire Bold Chieftain by a head for his last victory, which came in May 2009.

Autism Awareness has five rivals in Sunday’s closing-day $50,000 Bull Dog Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on dirt at the Big Fresno Fair, and while he won't be a huge price, he should offer value.

None of the runners has won at Sunday’s distance. Autism Awareness was second at the distance in last year’s Governor’s Handicap at Sacramento when Bold Chieftain reversed his loss in the Berkeley. More recently, he comes off a pair of fourth-place finishes in Golden Gate allowance races, one at 1 1/16 miles on turf and the other sprinting on the Tapeta. Trained by Genaro Vallejo, Autism Awareness ran fourth the last time he ran on dirt, which came in the Alamedan at Pleasanton in July.

Quindici Man, winless in eight starts this year, comes off a second by a neck at this distance in the Ralph M. Hinds at Fairplex. Quindici Man has placed in three stakes this year, including a second in the Grade 3 Inglewood on the turf at Hollywood Park this spring.

Slew the Man, a 3-year-old who could set the pace under Russell Baze, comes off a victory in the one-mile Chinook Pass at Emerald Downs. Prior to that, he was fourth at this distance in the Emerald Derby. This summer, he ran third against older in the Alamedan at Pleasanton, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Autism Awareness.

Candy Store makes his stakes debut, having won five of eight starts this year. He’s won two straight, both on turf, and three of his past four starts.

Miami House has been the runner-up to Candy Store in his past two starts.

The multiple stakes winner All Saint makes only his third start of the year, all three coming in stakes races. He is looking for his first win of the year.

Thanks to his upset victories, Autism Awareness is the leading money winner in the field with a bankroll of $308,293. Owner Johnny Taboada named Autism Awareness in honor of his son who has autism.