09/16/2013 11:44AM

Barretts at Fairplex: Drill conceding weight to rivals in Governor's Cup Handicap

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Grade 1 winner Drill will concede 4 to 14 pounds to his rivals in the Governor’s Cup on Wednesday.

POMONA, Calif. – Good money is on the line during a twilight card Wednesday at the Los Angeles County Fair, where horsemen and horseplayers can take aim at higher-than-normal pots.

The purse for the Governor’s Cup Handicap was boosted from $50,000 to $75,000 and attracted a full field, and a pick-six carryover of $25,384 is at stake on races 5-10. First post is 4 p.m. Pacific.

The purse boost for the Governor’s Cup, race 9, was intended to help restore the race to its former status as one of the most intriguing stakes at the Los Angeles County Fair.

Mission accomplished.

Ten veteran sprinters entered the 6 1/2-furlong race, and there are reasons to wager against the best horse. Grade 1 winner Drill was assigned 125 pounds, conceding 4 to 14 pounds to a salty field that includes Basmati (121 pounds) and Kate’s Event (120).

Drill is trained by Bob Baffert, who has won the Governor’s Cup four times, including three victories by the venerable gelding Gundaghia (1991-92 and 1995).

When he starts Wednesday under Martin Garcia, Drill will be dropping into a non-graded stakes for the first time since April 2012. The winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in 2011 along with Grade 2 and Grade 3 stakes in 2012, Drill has won four races and $480,210 from 18 starts.

Drill, whose most recent win was in May 2012, is the tepid 3-1 favorite.

Meanwhile, the comebacker Kate’s Event is listed at 7-2.

Jerry Hollendorfer trains Kate’s Event, who skipped the Del Mar meet to point to dirt races. Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said Kate’s Event has been targeted for the Governor’s Cup all summer.

“This was the goal race from the first week of Del Mar,” Ward said.

Kate’s Event has won on synthetic, but the perception is that he prefers dirt. He is 4 for 7 on fast dirt tracks, Ward noted.

Martin Pedroza is scheduled to ride Kate’s Event, a 6-for-18 late-runner. Pedroza, the meet’s leading rider, was banged up in a spill Saturday and did not ride Sunday. His status for Wednesday is unconfirmed.

Kate’s Event needs help in the pace department, which could be a problem because the field came up relatively short on speed. The lack of pace could benefit Carbonite, a 7-year-old who won the Governor’s Cup two years ago. An 11-for-26 veteran, Carbonite might have lost a step, but the lack of pace works in his favor. Trained by John Sadler, he will be ridden by Ricardo Jaime.

Basmati is trained by Doug O’Neill, the meet’s leading trainer with six wins. Basmati’s recent form in turf sprints is solid, though he moves to the main track Wednesday. The surface should be fine, assistant trainer Leandro Mora said.

“He ran a big race on dirt at Santa Anita,” Mora said, “and maybe Baffert will not send Drill over.”

No such luck. On Sunday evening, Baffert said Drill would run.