06/25/2009 11:00PM

Carbonite has Patterson thinking win at Stockton


You don't have to twist trainer Dennis Patterson's arm to find out what he really thinks about Carbonite.

"He's as nice a horse as I've trained," said Patterson, who saddled his first winner in 1981.

And Patterson is not shy about assessing his chances in Sunday's $50,000 Pink Ribbon Invitational, a six-furlong stakes that drew eight other 3-year-olds at the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton, Calif.

"I feel good about his chances," Patterson said. "He's trained up to the race exactly as we wanted. I'm happy with his post position, too."

Carbonite, a stalker, drew post 9. He won his first two starts before finishing sixth in the Grade 3 Laz Barrera at Hollywood Park May 24. Carbonite earned a pair of bullets among his four works since the Laz Barrera. He finished in front of Pink Ribbon rivals Backbackbackgone and All Saint in that race.

"That was a tough field, but he ran a credible race," Patterson said. "He was in heavy traffic. It was a problem, but it was no excuse."

Carbonite won his debut with ease. He broke last from the rail against allowance company in his second start, rallying through the lane after moving into contention with a four-wide trip on the turn.

"He was third at the head of the stretch," Patterson said. "The field was bunching up, and he was between horses. He could have finished anywhere from first to fifth, but he showed gameness and won."

Patterson has always liked Carbonite, a Mercedes Stables homebred, even before breezing him.

"You hear this all the time, but from Day 1 I knew this was a good horse, and he never let us down," said Patterson.

"Better horses have an extra spark of energy and can be tough to handle and gallop. This horse is not that way. He has a high energy level but gives you no trouble in the morning.

"He's beautiful physically, and mentally he's just what you want. He's turned out exactly as we wanted."

Also entered in the race are the stakes winners Maidens Justice, Backbackbackgone and All Saint as well as stakes-placed Control Seeker, Mr. Monkey Jones, and Gato Go Win.

Gato Go Win was third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths in the Grade 3 San Vicente at Santa Anita in February. Backbackbackgone has won four stakes, including the Golden Bear and Harry Henson this year. Maidens Justice, who was injured winning the Lost in the Fog last year, comes off a May 21 starter allowance victory.