07/21/2005 12:00AM

El Roblar still undefeated


DEL MAR, Calif. - El Roblar remained unbeaten after three starts and Becrux revived his career with wins in divisions of the Oceanside Stakes on Wednesday's opening day at Del Mar.

Both handle and attendance on Wednesday increased from last year's opening day. Wednesday's ontrack crowd of 40,046 was an increase of 1.7 percent and the second-highest opening day in track history. The all-sources handle of $14,880,714 improved 1.9 percent over last year, while the ontrack handle of $4,673,891 jumped 7.3 percent. The all-sources handle was an opening-day record.

"I was delighted to see us go over" last year, said track president Joe Harper. "It seemed to be a smooth day for as many people as we had."

El Roblar ($6.60) ran the faster of the two $85,400 divisions of the , a restricted one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds, roaring from fifth to finish in 1:33.67. Trained by Richard Mandella for Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stable, El Roblar was making his stakes debut and first start on turf in the second division.

"The versatility of the horse has been proven on both turf and dirt," Jackson said. "I hope he can stay sound and become a champion."

Ridden by Alex Solis, El Roblar stalked pacesetter Khyber Pass and rallied wide on the turn to hit the front in the final furlong. He finished three-quarters of a length in front of In Excelsis, who was a head in front of Juliesugardaddy in the field of eight.

El Roblar's previous two wins were in dirt sprints. Wednesday's win left Mandella excited about the colt's future.

"I haven't set any limits," Mandella said. "I think he loved the grass. I hope he doesn't forget about the dirt, either."

Becrux ($28) won the first division by leading throughout under jockey Garrett Gomez. Becrux set fractions of 23.73 and 47.77 seconds and won by 1 1/2 lengths over Legal Precedent in 1:33.91. Leo Getz, who stalked Becrux to the eighth pole, finished third in the field of nine.

Eastern Sand, the even-money favorite, finished seventh.

A stakes winner in Italy last year, Becrux was last of 12 in the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai in March and last of nine in the Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park in June. Becrux arrived from New York on Sunday and worked at Del Mar on Monday, although the work was not recorded by track clockers.

Co-owner Gary Barber said Becrux was found to be suffering from breathing problems after the Hill Prince and underwent a minor operation after that race.