09/17/2002 11:00PM

Fairmount: Crack the Vault in upset


COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - Coming from off the pace on a day when steady showers turned the track from fast to sloppy, Crack the Vault ($24.20) won Tuesday's $25,600 Forego Handicap under jockey Vicente Flores, who was capping a riding triple. The win was the first in a stakes for trainer Carmelo Mendoza, who is on his own this year after serving as assistant to Ronnie Ward for several years. Crack the Vault, a 4-year-old homebred gelding, won his sixth lifetime start and raised his earnings above $145,000.

Secret Pride was the top local 2-year-old filly last year, winning 2 of 4 races and placing in a stakes. Trainer Jim Boehm gave her a long vacation and brought her back last Friday for an impressive 2002 winning debut. Secret Pride battled favored 4-year-old Dee Life around the far turn before drawing off in the stretch under Argelio Velasquez. Secret Pride is being pointed for the Slight in the Rear Stakes, part of Illinois Stakes Day here Oct. 1.

Luis Robletto didn't join the local jockey colony until May but he caught on quickly and has moved into fourth in the rider standings with 62 winners. On Saturday night Robletto teamed with trainer Leroy Hellman for three wins, all favorites.

Hellman, who started off the year with only one win in his first 31 starts but has been hot ever since, moved into a tie with Eddie Essenpries for second-leading trainer with 51 wins. Since mid-May Hellman has won with 50 of 150 starters.