08/11/2007 12:00AM

Medici Code gets first U.S. win in La Jolla

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Medici Code, whose trainer described him as "a very expensive gelding," looked like more of a bargain than a $585,000 purchase winning Saturday's $150,000 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar.

Winning the first stakes of his career, Medici Code ($12.40) won the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap for 3-year-olds by 1 1/4 lengths over 9-5 favorite Worldly. Latin Rhythms, who set the pace, finished a head back in third, a nose in front of Ten a Penny, who disputed the pace throughout.

Medici Code ran 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:42.57 under jockey Martin Pedroza. Owned by Herrick Racing and trained by Darrell Vienna, Medici Code was third or fourth early while stalking the leaders. He reached the front in the final furlong.

Medici Code has won 4 of 9 starts and $121,689. The La Jolla was his first win in the United States. In England last winter, he won three low-caliber races on the all-weather circuit before Herrick acquired him in a private transaction.