09/23/2011 4:32PM

Fairplex: Lack of pace in Hinds could hurt Quindici Man, Norvsky


POMONA, Calif. – Quindici Man’s trainer, Craig Lewis, describes the veteran as a “blue-collar, working-class stakes horse.”

Norvsky is an unheralded California-bred racing this year in the shadow of a celebrated stablemate, Acclamation.

Quindici Man and Norvsky each has a score to settle Sunday at Fairplex Park in the signature race of the Los Angeles County Fair – the $75,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Invitational Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.

One year ago, Quindici Man finished second by a neck in the Hinds. Two years ago, Norvsky stablemate Acclamation finished second by a length in the Hinds. Sunday, the likelihood of a soft pace compromises the closing style of Quindici Man and Norvsky.

“That’s the detriment, there is no speed,” said Lewis. “And, it’s a relatively decent group of horses.”

In addition to 121-pound top weight Quindici Man and turf specialist Norvsky, the field includes potential lone front-runner Atticus Jack, and graded stakes winners Chocolate Candy and El Gato Malo. Achak and Poke Ir will be the longest shots in the field.

Quindici Man is the only Hinds entrant that has raced at Fairplex, a five-eighths mile oval he adores.

“Yes he does,” Lewis said. “He worked well over the track, won the Pomona Derby two years ago, and barely got beat last year in the Hinds.”

This year, he runs for red-hot connections – Lewis won with 8 of his first 17 starters at Fairplex. Quindici Man will be ridden by Martin Pedroza, who is on his way to his 13th consecutive Fairplex riding title. Six-S Racing Stable owns Quindici Man, who has won 7 races and $512,316 from 35 starts. Last out, he finished fifth in the Pacific Classic.

While the pace scenario does not favor Quindici Man’s closing style, Norvsky faces the same challenge in his first start on dirt. Trainer Don Warren shipped Norvsky midweek from his Santa Anita base to Fairplex.

“He’s been galloping to familiarize him with the racetrack,” Warren said. “The surface switch is a question mark, but most turf horses well at Pomona because they are used to the sharper turns.”

Joe Talamo rides Norvsky, whose last-out loss in the restricted Harry Brubaker at Del Mar was partly due to a strategic miscue by jockey Rafael Bejarano. He did not ask Norvsky to run until the quarter pole of the 11/16-mile race; he made up 10 lengths but missed by a nose.

“He has a big, long stride, and he’s got to get rolling earlier,” Warren said.

Norvsky is owned and bred by Old English Rancho connections, the same California breeding farm that produced Acclamation. Norvsky has won 4 races and $273,844 from 14 starts.

Atticus Jack should set the pace. His five-furlong bullet workout Sept. 20 at Fairplex in 59.80 seconds suggests trainer Brian Koriner will instruct the jockey to use his speed. Chocolate Candy has not won since the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby in 2009, but problematic feet issues have been resolved. He makes his second start back.

El Gato Malo, Grade 3 Lone Star Derby winner in 2008, should be forwardly placed. Achak and Pole Ir will rally late. The Hinds is race 11 on a 12-race card.