03/22/2008 12:00AM

Desert Code rebounds in Joe Hernandez

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Desert Code salvaged an otherwise dismal meeting with a slight upset in the $76,850 Joe Hernandez Stakes at Santa Anita.

After finishing 14th in the Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 and 11th in the Daytona Handicap on Feb. 17, Desert Code wore blinkers for the first time in the Hernandez and won the hillside turf sprint by two lengths over pacesetter Tenga Cat. Ridden by Richard Migliore, Desert Code ($12) ran about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:12.36.

Tenga Cat finished a neck in front of Night Chapter in the field of six. Charmo, the 2-1 favorite who was making his first start since last May, finished last, never reaching contention.

Desert Code, 4, races for Tarabilla Farms and trainer David Hofmans. Desert Code won two Grade 3 stakes last year, the first of which was the Baldwin Stakes over this course and distance. By E Dubai, Desert Code has won 5 of 14 starts and $317,639.