09/21/2001 11:00PM

Budroyale on fence for Hinds


POMONA, Calif. - Even while the Los Angeles County Fair race meet faces an uncertain future at Fairplex Park, added ambiguity surrounds the meet's biggest race. Eight older horses entered the $100,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Invitational Handicap, but the complexion will change greatly by post time Sunday.

Budroyale is only 50-50 to start in the about mile and an eighth race. L'Effaceur, winner of the Pomona Derby last year, entered but may run Monday in the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Cup. Finally, a bruised foot has sidelined Fairplex specialist Native Desert.

The race now revolves around Irisheyesareflying, winner of the Grade 3 Longacres Mile on Aug. 19 at Emerald Downs. Trainer John Dolan was second-guessing himself for skipping the $400,000 Kentucky Cup Classic Saturday at Turfway Park, and will settle instead for favoritism in a race that may be the last 100-grander at Fairplex Park. The Los Angeles County Fair race meet is expected to be run next fall at Hollywood Park.

Meanwhile, Irisheyesareflying is ready for a top effort in his first start in five weeks. "He's had a lot of time between races, he has a lot of flesh on him," Dolan said. "He's happy, he's doing good, and when I give him time between races he's fired for me every time."

Dolan claimed Irisheyesareflying for $50,000 in May 2000, and this year alone the 5-year-old has earned $357,100. The principal autumn objective for Irisheyesareflying is the $250,000 California Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita. Irisheyesareflying has won six of 30, and will be ridden by Iggy Puglisi. He was assigned 121 pounds, the same as Budroyale.

Trainer Ted H. West upgraded Budroyale's chances to start from 75-25 against, to 50-50 after learning that Native Desert would skip the race. "I don't mind being in with 121 if Native Desert and Irisheyesareflying aren't in there, but we shouldn't be on even terms with a horse who just won a Grade 3," West said.

A Fairplex workout early this week by Budroyale met with mixed reviews, but West said the drill had no bearing on the decision to run. "He's worked twice here, and worked just like we wanted." Budroyale has won 17 of 51 and earned more than $2.8 million, but his two races following a 14-month layoff were supbar efforts at Del Mar. Isaias Enriquez would ride Budroyale.

The likely pacesetter is L'Effaceur, who showed his affinity for Fairplex Park's five-eighths-mile track winning the Pomona Derby last year. However, trainer Jeff Mullins is reluctant to start the headstrong 4-year-old without regular rider Chance Rollins. In his last two starts, L'Effaceur ran off and tired. There is a back-up plan - the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Cup on Monday, though the purse is only $50,000.

"I don't think anyone can stay with him, but if he goes to fast again, he'll [tire]," Mullins said. "We'll go in the easiest spot, and the best place we draw."

L'Effaceur drew post 7.