09/09/2001 11:00PM

Beaumes de Venise has the speed to burn

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POMONA, Calif. - Speed handicappers will have trouble getting past Beaumes de Venise on Wednesday at Fairplex Park.

Fresh from earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 107 in a classified sprint at Del Mar, Beaumes de Venise will heavily favored over course specialist The Morris Monroe in the $50,000 Aprisa Handicap.

A field of six entered the six-furlong Aprisa, the first of two sprints for older horses at the 18-day Los Angeles County Fair meet. The 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Cup Handicap will be run closing day, Sept. 24.

In addition to 122-pound highweight Beaumes de Venise and The Morris Monroe (120 pounds), the Aprisa also attracted Profound Secret, Lucayan Prince, Strip, and Barley Talk.

The 5-year-old Beaumes de Venise had been off 14 months when trainer Craig Dollase brought him back Aug. 9 in a six-furlong allowance at Del Mar. He was ignored in the betting, and went to post at 6-1, highest of the five runners. Beaumes de Venise ran like he should have been favored. Adding blinkers, he popped the gate, made the lead after a quarter-mile, and widened to win by three lengths in a quick 1:08.93.

The win was the fifth in seven starts for Beaumes de Venise, who will be racing on a bullring for the first time Wednesday. Tyler Baze rides the likely favorite, whose main foe is Fairplex specialist The Morris Monroe. Trained by Paul Aguirre, The Morris Monroe has won five of 27, and has produced two of his best efforts at Fairplex Park.

The Morris Monroe won the Foothill Stakes for 3-year-olds here in 1999, and missed by a half-length in the Aprisa last year.

A 5-year-old by Snow Chief, The Morris Monroe has raced sparingly this year, starting just four times with three runner-up finishes. The record mirrors his career mark: The Morris Monroe has finished second 11 times.

Martin Pedroza rides The Morris Monroe, who finished second in his most recent start, on Aug. 17 at Del Mar against nonwinners-of-three-other-than optional $100,000 claimers. If the fastest horse wins the Aprisa, it will be Beaumes de Venise in front at the wire. The Morris Monroe's partiality for Fairplex may compensate for his speed-figure deficiency, however.

Profound Secret has not raced since October, when he won the nine-furlong Harvest Handicap at Fresno. Ken Tohill rides the 7-year-old Profound Secret, who has won six of 39, and enters with the highest bankroll in the field. He has earned $354,380.

A win by Lucayan Prince, Barley Talk, or Strip would qualify as an upset and likely send the pick six into carryover territory.