09/17/2007 11:00PM

My Redeemer stretching for O'Neill

EmailPOMONA, Calif. - The only thing stopping My Redeemer on Thursday at Fairplex Park is two additional turns. But if My Redeemer's owner-breeder, Tom Stull, is correct, the 1 1/16-mile distance of the $65,000 Gateway to Glory Stakes is just right.

The Fairplex racetrack is five-eighths of a mile, which means horses run around three turns (1 1/2 laps) to cover the distance of the Gateway to Glory. It will be 2 1/2 furlongs, and two turns, farther than anything My Redeemer has tried.

Stull and trainer Doug O'Neill are confident the longer race benefits My Redeemer.

"I know he's going to love more distance. He's come on strong every time," Stull said, and he is right. My Redeemer has finished strongly his last four starts, and is facing easier company after two good efforts finishing third and second in stakes at Del Mar.

Eight 2-year-olds entered the Gateway to Glory, and a win by My Redeemer would establish him as one of the favorites for the 1o1/16-mile, $125,000 California Cup Juvenile on Nov. 3, closing weekend of the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.

My Redeemer, named after the gospel song, finished second by a length last out in the six-furlong I'm Smokin Stakes at Del Mar. "I'm sure six [furlongs] is not his cup of tea, and if he had another sixteenth, I think he could have gotten there," Stull said. There was no remorse - Stull also owns and bred Topper Shopper, the I'm Smokin winner.

Stull owns and operates the California breeding farm Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, home of the popular stallion Old Topper, and the place where My Redeemer's sire, Valid Wager, stood until he died this spring. Stull said he has two full siblings to My Redeemer - a yearling and a weanling.

Based on current form, class, and speed figures, My Redeemer enters the Gateway to Glory as a borderline standout. My Redeemer earned Beyer Speed Figures of 74 and 75 his last two starts. None of his rivals has exceeded 70. My Redeemer will be reunited Thursday with regular rider Isaias Enriquez, who happens to be Stull's son-in-law.

Peter Miller trains Black Mallou and Mix. Black Mallou won a $40,000 maiden-claiming sprint last out and, under leading jockey Martin Pedroza, will stretch out for the first time. Mix is dropping from the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes, and will roll from behind under Joe Talamo. Other starters include Premier Issue, One Only, Royal Thrill, Tide Water Bobby, and Bean Who.