02/26/2008 12:00AM

Leonides dominates at Turf Paradise

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PHOENIX - Southern California invader Leonides had too much class for the locals, easily capturing Monday's $50,000 Palo Verde Stakes at Turf Paradise.

Trained by Vladimir Cerin, who is now 4 for 6 with Southern California raiders this meet, Leonides sat a couple lengths off the pace of El Mirage, pounced on that rival into the lane, and drew away to win easily by 4 1/4 lengths under Richard Migliore. El Mirage stayed on well to be second, 6 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Midnight Wish in a field reduced to five after three scratches.

Leonides, the 3-5 favorite, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.91. He paid $3.20 for the victory and the winner's share of $30,000 pushes his earnings to $95,580 from 2 wins in 4 starts. The son of Richter Scale finished second by a nose in last summer's Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile and was fourth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.