09/12/2004 11:00PM

Fairplex: Verkade wires

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POMONA, Calif. - The Jeff Mullins-trained Verkade ($5.40) returned to a fast track and raced gate to wire in the $58,800 Phil D. Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex Park. Martin Pedroza rode front-runner Verkade to the three-length victory over the 3-2 favorite, Anziyan Royalty. Sigfreto finished third in the 1 1/16-mile race for older horses, run in 1:42.48.

The Shepherd was Verkade's first win in three tries for Mullins, and his fourth from 16 career starts. He finished seventh last out in the wet-track Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs. Verkade may return Sept. 26 in the $100,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Invitational Handicap.