02/18/2007 1:00AM

Bedlam Bertie scores first stakes win

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Bedlam Bertie took advantage of a field devoid of early speed to lead five rivals from start to finish in the $134,375 Sensational Star Handicap for California-bred turf sprinters on Sunday at Santa Anita.

The speedy Proud Tower Too, who would have been a heavy favorite in the Sensational Star, ran on Saturday in the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap. His absence benefitted Bedlam Bertie, who was able to comfortably dictate the pace under jockey David Flores.

Bedlam Bertie ($7) got away with an opening quarter-mile in 22.40 seconds and half-mile in 44.46 seconds, moderate fractions when coming down the hillside course. After crossing the main track, he quickly darted clear and checked in 2 3/4 lengths better than Areyoutalkintome, who nosed out Red Warrior and Debonair Joe in a three-way photo for second.

Epic Power, the 8-5 favorite, finished fifth in the field of five.

Bedlam Bertie was timed in 1:13 for about 6 1/2 furlongs on a firm course.

“It looked like there was no speed in the race, so I took my shot and put him on the lead,” Flores said. “Nobody was able to go with him and when we crossed the dirt, I let him roll and he was plenty fresh. He ran great.”

The victory was his fourth in 12 lifetime starts for Bedlam Bertie, who was scoring his first stakes win. Bedlam Bertie, 4, is a gelding by Game Plan whom Mike Machowsky now trains for Patricia Ford. Bill Delia was Bedlam Bertie’s previous trainer. For Delia, Bedlam Bertie finished third in last year’s Bay Meadows Derby.