09/12/2011 2:49PM

Fairplex: Pick six carryover, twilight racing add spice to Wednesday card


POMONA, Calif. – Times are changing at Fairplex Park, and not just post time.

The first twilight card at the Los Angeles County Fair will be run Wednesday with a pick six carryover of $39,460 on a nine-race program that begins at 4 p.m. Pacific and will finish under the lights.

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The carryover and evening start time jazz up the $50,000 C. B. Afflerbaugh Stakes for 2-year-olds and reflects the influence of increased field size (7.7 starters per race) and a low win rate of favorites (22 percent) the first three days of the short, 13-day meet.

The changes are a welcome divergence from 2010, when average field size was 7.1 starters, and favorites won 45 percent of Thoroughbred races. Furthermore, the race for top 2011 jockey is not yet a foregone conclusion. Martin Pedroza, meet leader 12 straight years at the Fair, enters Wednesday tied with Christian Santiago-Reyes at six apiece.

Santiago-Reyes might be on the right horse in the Afflerbaugh, race 8. He rides Blacky the Bull, one of two maidens in the field that are trained by Jeff Bonde. Martin Garcia rides Bonde-trained Call Me Kelly. Both are making their second career start.

“Every once in a while a [stakes] comes up light, and seven furlongs is a good distance for both horses,” Bonde explained. In fact, maidens winning stakes for 2-year-olds is not unusual, and both horses showed enough run first out to merit respect. The field includes Del Mar maiden-claiming winners Senor Rain and Plenny of Henny.

Bonde said Blacky the Bull is a “big, tall rangy horse,” whom he expects to improve second time out after a good fourth-place finish behind sharp winner Sweet Swap, a full brother to Sidney’s Candy.

“It was a pretty strong maiden race,” Bonde said.

Blacky the Bull raced greenly early while inside and behind horses, but finished evenly to miss by less than three lengths. He earned a 74 Beyer Speed Figure, highest in the Afflerbaugh field.

Call Me Kelly also ran well first out. He broke slowly, pressed the pace, and finished second to Longview Drive, who is 2 for 3, in a $55,000 stakes at Santa Rosa.

“He caught a seasoned horse and was kind of spotty, but he got interested late,” Bonde said.

Pick six bettors will consider also using Senor Rain and Plenny of Henny in the Afflerbaugh, while other races are not as deep. The sequence is on races 4-9.

Race 4 is a $5,000 claimer for nonwinners this year, with a key qualification. Claiming races for $4,000 or less are not considered. The conditions are ideal for likely favorite East From West, winner of a $4,000 restricted claimer last out at Golden Gate. His recent Beyer Figures in the 70s stamp him as a potential single in the six-furlong race.

Race 5 is an “about” four-furlong race for $20,000 maiden-claiming fillies and mares; Barbary Coast Girl should be long gone. The speed of the field, she is listed even-money on the preliminary morning line.

Race 6 is a $32,000 maiden claimer for 2-year-olds at six furlongs. Candy and Nuts and Purple Rain are the top contenders.

Race 7 is an $8,000 claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs in which Unusual Jazz, Gold Star, San Darino, and Bold Type are the main threats.

The pick six concludes with race 9, a restricted $5,000 claimer that is a split of race 4. Sufi Dancer is the horse to beat.