09/14/2006 11:00PM

Favorites not helping Fairplex figs


POMONA, Calif. - Autumn racing at the Los Angeles County Fair is not quite the same as summer racing at Del Mar. But six days into the Fairplex Park meet, at least two similarities to Del Mar have emerged: a slight handle decline and a swollen win rate for favorites.

All-sources wagering at Fairplex is down slightly from the record 2005 season and is averaging $6.3 million daily.

"It is kind of mirroring the Del Mar meet," said Fairplex equine manager George Bradvica.

All-sources handle at Del Mar was down 4.3 percent from a record 2005 meet, and the downward pattern has continued into fall.

Fairplex officials have not attributed the unusually high win rate of favorites to the handle decline, but the 51-percent win rate (30 of 59) for favorites may have tempered wagering enthusiasm. The odd thing is that a similar early-season pattern unfolded at Del Mar, where during the meet's first two weeks favorites won at a 44-percent clip.

The chalk eventually waned, and Del Mar favorites finished the meet winning 35 percent. One thing that cannot be blamed for the chalk rate is field size. Fairplex has held steady the first six days, averaging 8.3 starters per race.

Pedroza jumps to lead in standings

Fairplex's all-time leading rider, Martin Pedroza, was expected to receive a challenge this fall in an unusually deep riding colony. It has not happened. Pedroza and David Flores, the second all-time leading rider, have dominated the meet. They entered the second weekend well clear of the pack.

Pedroza rides more horses than any jockey at the fair and entered the Friday card with 15 wins from 44 mounts. Flores, meanwhile, rides one-third the number of horses while making the most from limited chances. Flores had 7 wins from just 14 mounts and ranked second in the standings.

In the second echelon, Los Alamitos rider Agapito Delgadillo has ridden well during the Fairplex meet and has won 4 of 29 to rank third; Tyler Baze has 3 wins but 8 second-place finishes from 23 mounts.

Boyce not hurt in spill

Jockey Robert Boyce was the second Thoroughbred rider this week to escape unscathed from a spill. He was unseated from Viewmeflyn at the quarter pole of race 8 on Thursday.

Viewmeflyn set the pace and was backing up into the far turn. The filly to her outside, Warren's Summer, drifted inward. Boyce told stewards his filly became intimidated and bumped with Warren's Summer, then shied inward and bumped the rail, at which point Boyce lost his balance and fell off.

The incident occurred a day after Ramon Guce escaped injury in a spill.

Stewards took a long look at the video to see if Warren's Summer, who won the race, initiated the interference. They ruled no change. Fairplex steward Tom Ward said Boyce "put most of the blame on his own horse."

Shipper takes Bustles and Bows

Marianne Rose, a 2-year-old filly based in the Northwest, shipped in from Emerald Downs and won the $63,030 Bustles and Bows Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on Thursday. Marianne Rose ($5.40) shipped into trainer Jeff Mullins's barn early this week and won by 2 1/4 lengths under Emerald Downs-based rider Ben Russell. Miss Melissa, the second favorite, finished second. Program favorite Little City was unable to make the lead and finished last.

Owned by John and Marianne Becker, Marianne Rose is expected to return to trainer Richard Wright at Emerald Downs, according to Mullins. The Bustles and Bows was her third win in five starts.

Strong field in Governor's Cup

The $125,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Invitational Handicap is the richest race on the Sept. 24 card, but the best race on the card may be the $65,000 Governor's Cup at 6 1/2 furlongs. The Governor's Cup features Grade 1 winner Captain Squire, graded-stakes-placed Jet West, 2005 Governor's Cup winner Jungle Prince, and Zayed, who earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure in his last start.

Captain Squire, a 7-year-old millionaire, has never raced at Fairplex, but trainer Jeff Mullins said "he worked like a monster" Friday morning in 48.40 for four furlongs. Captain Squire has won nine races and more than $1.2 million from 33 starts. He won the Grade 1 Ancient Title Handicap last fall during the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.

Silent Name to Keeneland

Trainer Gary Mandella had wanted to run Silent Name in the Woodbine Mile on Sunday, but he could not find satisfactory flight arrangements from his base in California. So, Mandella has decided to regroup and said he will point Silent Name to the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 7.

The Shadwell Mile is run the same day as the Oak Tree Mile at Santa Anita. The Oak Tree Mile is expected to include Aragorn, the nation's leading turf miler, who comes off a win in the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Mile. Mandella did not run Silent Name in the Del Mar BC Mile, in part because he wanted to avoid Aragorn.

Mandella has been training Silent Name at Santa Anita since leaving Del Mar, but he said Silent Name would have his final two works before the Shadwell Mile on Hollywood's new Cushion Track surface.

Matos adds Gryder

Tony Matos, the agent for jockey Victor Espinoza, will also represent Aaron Gryder, beginning with the Oak Tree meeting that begins Sept. 27 at Santa Anita, Matos said.

Gryder finished sixth at Del Mar. His agent was Nick Cosato, who began representing David Cohen during Del Mar.

Espinoza was the leading jockey at Del Mar for the second straight year. He is second to Garrett Gomez nationally in purse earnings among jockeys.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman