03/24/2007 12:00AM

Fourty Niners Son finds niche in San Luis Rey


ARCADIA, Calif. - Fourty Niners Son's victory in Saturday's $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita may have set the tone for the 6-year-old horse's 2007 campaign.

The Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap was Fourty Niners Son's first win over 1 1/2 miles on turf, a distance that could be his specialty this year.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Fourty Niners Son ($8.80) finished a length in front of Notable Guest, and was timed in 2:27.50. Prospect Park finished third, with 5-2 favorite One Off last in the field of seven.

Fourty Niners Son was always near the front, tracking a slow pace of 25.78 and 49.31 set by A.P. Xcellent. The pace "worked in my favor because of where I placed him," Gomez said.

Gomez guided Fourty Niners Son alongside A.P. Xcellent on the final turn and took the lead in early stretch. "I thought the distance wouldn’t be a problem," he said.

The San Luis Rey was the first win for Fourty Niners Son since the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship in October 2005. Owned by breeder Tom Baxter and trained by Neil Drysdale, Fourty Niners Son has won 6 of 19 starts and $673,825.