07/05/2008 12:00AM

Much-improved Scrumpy wins first stakes


PLEASANTON, Calif. - Scrumpy ($4.80), a $4,000 claimer last October, became a stakes winner Friday when he rallied along the rail to capture the $60,300 Sam J. Whiting Handicap at the Alameda County Fair.

The victory was the 5-year-old Scrumpy's ninth straight Northern California victory, a string that began with a win in a $4,000 claimer last Oct. 20 at Bay Meadows. Scrumpy, who was coupled with Thoughtuknew, went off as the slight 7-5 favorite. Multiple stakes winner Vicarino, who finished fourth, also went off at 7-5.

Scrumpy was last down the backstretch as Magic Texan opened a one-length lead over Thoughtuknew through a 21.63-second opening quarter. He continued to extend his lead through a 44.12 half and 56.30 five-eighths.

Scrumpy rallied along the rail and took advantage of an opening as Magic Texan drifted out a bit, winning the six-furlong race by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:09.10. Magic Texan held second by a head over Cause to Believe.

The win was Scrumpy's third straight since owner Lamonte Isom claimed him for $20,000 on Feb. 17. He lost his first two starts for Isom at Santa Anita before returning to Northern California and moving into Billy Morey's barn. He earned $39,650 for his first stakes victory, increasing his earnings to $170,100 with his 12th victory in 21 starts.