10/01/2002 11:00PM

Crackup gets first big test in Cavonnier

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Crackup left trainer Rafael Becerra shaking his head in amazement after an eight-length maiden win at Del Mar on Sept. 1.

"I knew going into that race I had the best horse," Becerra said. "He did it the right way, letting the speed go and then going around them. I really think he's a nice horse."

On Friday, Becerra's opinion will be tested when Crackup makes his stakes debut in the $75,000 Cavonnier Stakes for 2-year-old statebreds at Santa Anita.

Owned by Stan Fulton, Crackup was making his second start on Sept. 1, having finished second to Siberland in his debut on Aug. 18. Crackup's debut was flattered when Siberland won the I'm Smokin Stakes on Sept. 9.

While Siberland was not nominated to the seven-furlong Cavonnier Stakes, there are nine other 2-year-olds ready to challenge Crackup. The Cavonnier Stakes is a prep for the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2.

Martinblestme may be a slight favorite in the Cavonnier. Trained by Bob Baffert, Martinblestme has won 2 of 4 starts and finished second in the I'm Smokin Stakes after a tough start. Two others runners from the I'm Smokin Stakes are in the Cavonnier field - Excessive Barb and Johnny Ola, who were third and fourth.

Both Crackup and Martinblestme are likely to stalk the early pace, which should be set by Natural Balance, Unfurl the Flag, and Judge Swiss, who is also trained by Becerra.

Judge Swiss was claimed for $40,000 following a win at Del Mar on Sept. 11.

"He's got a lot of speed," Becerra said. "Who knows if he can go seven-eighths."

Two of the starters won maiden races at Fairplex Park - Bold N Broke and Raise the Heat. Trained by Barry Abrams, Raise the Heat won a six-furlong maiden race by 3 1/4 lengths on Sept. 19. Bold N Broke won his debut on Sept. 14, impressing trainer Clifford Sise with a mid-race rally on the short backstretch at Fairplex Park.

"He got a little pinched off leaving the gate and was fourth going onto the backstretch," Sise said. "When he came out behind the tote board, he was three in front."

There is one stakes winner in the field. Oberwald, who won the Haggin Stakes at Hollywood Park in June, makes his first start since finishing seventh in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar on July 31. Trained by Mike Harrington, Oberwald has been gelded since his last race.

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