09/03/2004 11:00PM

Fairmount: Hammond optimistic

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COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - Local 2-year-old Yukon's Gambler is fourth choice in a field of six at 4-1 on the morning line for the $25,000 Buckpasser Stakes at Fairmount Park, but trainer Kim Hammond likes her horse's chances.

"I've always been one who feels that the people from the hometown track have the edge," said Hammond, a Fairmount regular who through Thursday has sent out 25 winners from 162 starts this meet. "He's been training excellent, and he had such a good showing with [Rafael] Bejarano."

Hammond was referring to Yukon's Gambler's a second-place finish in the Aug. 24 Marluel's Troy Stakes, when national wins leader Bejarano took the reigns.

Hammond views Kahok as her fiercest competition in the six-furlong Buckpasser, the most lucrative remaining stakes race of the Fairmount meet, which ends Sept. 18.