03/02/2007 1:00AM

Half Famous returns home for Palo Verde


Tie Rod is surely the best 3-year-old router on the circuit, but the issue of top 3-year-old sprinter at Turf Paradise remains up in the air. Sunday's $45,000 Palo Verde, which has attracted the best of the division, figures to go a long way toward settling that issue. A competitive field of eight is entered for the 6 1/2-furlong event, including major protagonists from earlier races in the division.

The home team is led by Half Famous, winner of the Lost in the Fog; Capt. Joe Blow, winner of the Sail on By, Fool the Experts, and Three Phase; Quinton's Fleet, who was third in the Three Phase; and In to the West, who finished second in the Lost in the Fog and Three Phase. They will face the Southern California shipper Top Emblem.

Favoritism may fall to Half Famous. Trained by Raul Hernandez, he has had a big fall and winter here. He romped in an allowance race, was second in the ATBA Sales and the Sail on By, and won the Lost in the Fog. He then went to Santa Anita. Half Famous was no factor in the Grade 2 San Rafael at a mile, won by Notional, but bounced back with a third there in the Grade 2 San Vicente at seven furlongs. Scott Stevens rides.

Capt. Joe Blow, trained by Lanny Sharp, has won three of his last four. After winning the Sail on By and Fool the Experts here in November, he was third in the Old Line Policy here Dec. 12. He was given time off, and came back in the Three Phase here Feb. 4. Capt. Joe Blow dueled for the early lead and drew away to beat In to the West and Quinton's Fleet. Glenn Corbett rides.

In to the West has been rock-solid this season for trainer Eddie Madden. He comes off a third in the Turf Paradise Derby behind Tie Rod and should enjoy moving back to a sprint. Ry Eikleberry rides.

Quinton's Fleet romped in his first two starts here last May. Trained by Kent Jensen, he was sidelined until the Feb. 4 Three Phase, ending up third. He could easily move forward off that run. Leslie Mawing rides.

Top Emblem won an allowance race at Santa Anita Feb. 14, and is trained by Ron Sticka. Sandi Gann rides.