09/06/2005 11:00PM

Beau Soleil may stretch out

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Benoit & Associates
Wild Fit is expected to make her next start in the Oak Leaf Stakes on Oct. 1.

POMONA, Calif. - Despite a reputation as a sprinter, Beau Soleil may be pointed toward the 1 1/8-mile Ralph M. Hinds Handicap on Sept. 25 at Fairplex Park. The $100,000 race, formerly known as the Pomona Invitational Handicap, is the biggest of the Los Angeles County Fair meet, and the ease with which Beau Soleil rolled through the tight Fairplex Park turns Wednesday morning suggests he may be able to carry his speed.

"A mile and an eighth is asking a lot, but he's bred for it and he looks like he could get an easy lead," said Ted West, who, with his son Ted H. West, trains the 5-year-old Beau Soleil.

West was looking for a half-mile workout Wednesday in something slower than 48 seconds, but Beau Soleil rolled easily through a work in 47.20. It was the fastest of 23 at the distance.

West and owner Jeffrey Sengara claimed Beau Soleil for $62,500 off a July 31 comeback win at Del Mar in which he earned a 104 Beyer. In that race, Beau Soleil raced the first half-mile in 43.60.

"I have a rule of thumb that a horse that goes a half in 44 is not going to be able to run two turns, but he's a long-striding horse that will run three seconds slower than that here," West said.

Beau Soleil finished fourth in the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Handicap in his first start for West, and has won 6 races and $340,780 from 13 starts.

The West stable figures to be prominent in Fairplex stakes. The improving 2-year-old colt Bengal Lore won his fourth start Aug. 27 with a 90 Beyer and is aiming for the $120,000 Barretts Juvenile on

Sept. 18. Dee Dee's Diner, third in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap on Aug. 19, is aiming for the $60,000 Pio Pico Stakes on Sept. 16.

Cohen hopes to make his mark

The end of the Los Angeles County Fair race meet also marks the end of the weight allowance for apprentice jockey David Cohen. He hopes to make it as a Southern California journeyman rider when the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita begins, and the fair meet is his last chance to make an impact.

"This is where he learned to ride, he knows this track very well," agent Tom Knust said. "He's a very aggressive rider, and he has improved a lot. It's just a matter of how much people support him."

Wild Fit preps for Oak Leaf

Wild Fit, the undefeated winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante last month, worked a half-mile in 50.20 at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

Trained by Jeff Mullins, Wild Fit is being pointed for the $200,000 Oak Leaf Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 1. A prep to the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park on Oct. 29, the Oak Leaf Stakes will be Wild Fit's first start around two turns. She is widely considered the top 2-year-old filly in California.

Mullins also worked Choctaw Nation, the two-time winner of the San Diego Handicap. Choctaw Nation worked five furlongs in 1:03.40, the 10th fastest of 12 recorded times at the distance.

Owned by Bob Bone, Choctaw Nation finished fourth in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 21 in his most recent start. He is a candidate for the $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup in Chicago on Sept. 24.

* The Fairplex wagering menu has been slightly tweaked and will include rolling daily doubles throughout the card. In addition, Fairplex is offering $200,000 guaranteed pools in the pick four on Saturdays and Sundays, and a $100,000 guaranteed pick-four pool on Monday.

* Television Games Network is holding a contest through the Los Angeles County Fair meet that requires picking one horse each day to finish in the money in a Fairplex Park race. The contest, called "Showvivor," is fashioned similar to contests held by New York Racing Association. The TVG contest is open to account holders. For more information, go to www.tvgnetwork.com.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen

At a glance: Fairplex Park

RACING SCHEDULE: 16 days; Friday through Sept. 26; dark Tuesdays

POST TIME: 1 p.m. Pacific, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; noon, Friday through Sunday.

HIGHLIGHTS:

DATERACEPURSE
Sept. 17Barretts Debutante$120,000-est.
Sept. 18Barretts Juvenile$120,000-est.
Sept. 23Las Madrinas Handicap$100,000
Sept. 24Pomona Derby$100,000
Sept. 25Hinds Pomona Handicap$100,000

ADMISSIONS: Fair admission includes access to track. Weekends, $15; weekdays, $10; free on Mondays. Reserved seats: Grandstand, free; box seats, $3.

PARKING: General, $8; preferred, $10; VIP, $15. Mondays, $5.

LOCATION: North of Interstate 10 at White Ave.; 45 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

PHONE: (909) 623-3111

INTERNET: www.lacountyfair.com