09/08/2005 11:00PM

Guidebook's style perfect for this track


POMONA, Calif. - Guidebook was made for the Los Angeles County Fair, and trainer Steve Knapp was one of six with the foresight to put in a claim for the front-running mare when she entered a $40,000 claiming race Aug. 21 at Del Mar.

"It looked like she was pretty sharp, and we decided if we got her, [Fairplex Park] is where we were headed," Knapp explained.

Knapp and co-owner Howard Roberts Farm won the shake, Guidebook won the race, and Sunday she will try to win her third straight by racing gate to wire in the $60,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes.

Seven fillies and mares entered the 1 1/16-mile race, and if Guidebook is a good fit for Fairplex, the mare's style is further complemented by the style of her jockey. Patrick Valenzuela is scheduled to ride Guidebook, and the 7-for-17 racemare is the one to catch.

"She's got speed, and she's got a lot of size to her," Knapp said.

will be racing for the first time on a five-eighths-mile track. To prepare for the turns, Knapp trained her on the six-furlong training track at Santa Anita.

"She galloped super; the exercise rider said run her," Knapp said. "That's what we're going to do."

Guidebook must put away sprinters Tialinga and Allswellthatnswell on Sunday, then hold off Bend, Ligacao Direta, and Willow Rush. It would not be the first time Guidebook has survived a pace battle. Last time out, Guidebook ran away from Simply Because, who returned Wednesday to win a six-furlong stakes at Del Mar.

is better qualified for a sprint stakes such as the Pio Pico next Friday, but the presence of overwhelming favorite Dee Dee's Diner in that race chased Tialinga into the Johnston. Tialinga has won four races and earned most of her $146,415 bankroll since she was claimed in May 2004.

Trainer Gary Stute admits that 1 1/16 miles could be a reach for Tialinga.

"She's better going short, but she can go long," he said.

Tialinga has won twice over a route of ground, but her best efforts have been sprinting, including two sharp sprints last month at Del Mar.

, owned by Buddy Johnston and trained by Don Warren, adds pace. Johnston's father was the legendary California breeder for whom the E.B. Johnston was named.

Bend and Willow Rush are the late speed. Bend finished two lengths behind Candy Factory last time, and the form of that race was flattered when Candy Factory returned to beat Valentine Dancer in a turf stakes.