02/13/2002 1:00AM

Kedington finds softer spot


ARCADIA, Calif. - Despite a minor training mishap on Wednesday, Kedington has a good chance to win his second race in a $54,000 allowance race at Santa Anita on Friday.

After facing top 3-year-olds Labamta Babe and Siphonic in the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes on Jan. 19, and finishing a well-beaten fifth, Kedington retreats to California-bred company in a first condition allowance race over a mile.

"That was a tough race," trainer Paco Gonzalez said of the Santa Catalina. "We didn't have any place else to go."

The allowance race is a more logical spot for Kedington and his four opponents, none of whom have placed in a graded stakes.

The one-mile distance should pose no problems for Kedington, who won his maiden over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park on Dec. 7.

Instead, Gonzalez is concerned about Kedington's right front foot, which he grabbed during a gallop on Wednesday. The trainer said the incident was not severe.

"We'll see how he is when he goes to the track," Gonzalez said. "He doesn't look too bad."

Kedington is likely to be the second choice behind Joey Franco, who finished third in the open division of the $150,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes over seven furlongs in his career debut on Dec. 28.

Trained by David Hofmans, Joey Franco returned to win a six-furlong maiden race for California-breds.

The other three runners have started for a claiming price and run a mile or farther. Gobi Dan was second in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes and returned to finish a fast-closing third in a sprint for California-breds on Jan. 24. Gobi Dan won a $62,500 claimer over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park in late November. He is the only member of the field with two wins.

Kith and Iza Chili Bean were third and fourth, respectively, in a $62,500 claimer over a mile on Jan. 9. That form was flattered when race winner Captain Squire returned to win the Turf Paradise Derby on Feb. 2.

Both Kith and Iza Chili Bean are on four-race losing streaks. Kith pulled a 34-1 upset in his debut on turf last October.

Iza Chili Bean emerged from the Jan. 9 race with a lost shoe, according to trainer Bob Bean.

"He wasn't going to beat the winner, but he might have been second," Bean said.

A win by Gobi Dan, Kith, or Iza Chili Bean would be an upset.

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