03/17/2005 12:00AM

Munificence looks dangerous at Delta

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Munificence's stock rose in his last start, even though he experienced the first defeat of his four-race career. He was second by three-quarters of a length in the $100,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn, an effort that could look even better by the time Munificence goes to post Saturday night in the $50,000 Sportsman's Paradise at Delta Downs.

Munificence was runner-up in the Southwest to Greater Good, a Grade 2 winner who rates among the leading contenders in Saturday's Grade 3 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.

Munificence's connections had considered the Rebel, but have opted to stay home for the Sportsman's Paradise. Munificence is a stakes winner around two turns at Delta, having won the $50,000 Triple Sec by 8 3/4 lengths on Jan. 28.

Munificence also won a two-turn allowance at Delta, one start after winning his maiden at Lone Star Park in October. He will face seven others in the Sportsman's Paradise, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds that also drew El Batallon for trainer Steve Asmussen and Reno Bob for trainer Cary Carter.

Munificence has good speed and an inside post and figures to be prominent under jockey Steve Bourque. He goes to bat for a hot barn, as his trainer, Jim Hudson, has won with 38 percent of his starters at Delta.

El Batallon ships in from Sunland, where he finished sixth to the well-regarded Southern Africa in the $100,000 Borderland Derby, a prep for the $500,000 WinStar Derby. Guy Smith, the leading rider at Delta, has the mount.

Reno Bob should be sharp for the move back to two turns after finishing second in a stakes-quality allowance at Oaklawn on Feb. 17 in his first start of the year. He is an allowance winner at Delta, and will be ridden by Filemon Rodriguez.