09/26/2010 1:14PM

Briecat, Bench the Judge win stakes by wide margins


POMONA, Calif. – Briecat and Bench the Judge returned to peak form Saturday at Fairplex Park, where each scored decisive stakes wins.

Briecat took control early and won the $50,000 Las Madrinas Handicap for fillies and mares by 3 1/4 lengths; Bench the Judge won the $50,000 Pomona Derby for 3-year-olds by 3 1/2 lengths.

The favorites in both stakes misfired. Dance to My Tune finished a distant third as the odds-on Las Madrinas favorite. Gallant Gent finished third at even money in the Pomona Derby. Subpar efforts by favorites have been rare the Los Angeles County Fair meet; through Saturday, favorites won 47 percent of the Thoroughbred races (64 for 134).

In the 1 1/16-mile Las Madrinas, jockey Alonso Quinonez was instructed by trainer Vladimir Cerin to put Briecat on the lead. He did, and Briecat ($5.80) led throughout in 1:45.06. She earned an 83 Beyer Figure. Madel finished second.

Briecat, winner of the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap in 2008 at Hollywood Park, won for the seventh time in 22 starts for owners David and Holly Wilson. Briecat, a 5-year-old, earned $29,000 and has earned $366,165, more than any horse sired by Adcat.

Bench the Judge gave leading rider Martin Pedroza his fourth winner on the card in the Pomona Derby. He defeated Pico Pico easily in 1:43.92 for 1 1/16 miles, and earned a 90 Beyer Figure. Bench the Judge, owned by Robert Master, has won 3 of 9 and $164,822.

Bench the Judge is trained by Doug O’Neill, whose 12 wins at the meet led the standings after Saturday.