10/26/2005 11:00PM

Once-mighty King Robyn seeks second Morvich win


ARCADIA, Calif. - The Grade 3 Morvich Handicap on Saturday at Santa Anita rarely attracts much attention. After all, the 6 1/2-furlong turf sprint runs annually on Breeders' Cup Day, when the attention of the racing world turns elsewhere.

But the Morvich sometimes carries more importance than a typical $100,000 stakes. And those paying attention to the race one year ago might have been impressed by a South American import returning from a six-month layoff - Leroidesanimaux, who won the Morvich by 1 1/4 lengths and paid $8 as the third betting choice.

Although the defending Morvich winner has a loftier agenda for 2005 - Leroidesanimaux is the 7-5 morning-line favorite Saturday in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Belmont Park - the Morvich is expected to attract at least one past winner.

won the 2003 Morvich while in the middle of a campaign in which he won stakes at all six Southern California race meets - Santa Anita winter, Hollywood Park spring-summer, Del Mar, Fairplex, Oak Tree at Santa Anita, and Hollywood fall. King Robyn is the only horse to win stakes at all six meets in one year.

On Saturday, the 5-year-old gelding will try to become an exception in another way, by being the first horse to repeat winning the Morvich after skipping the previous year. Based on his third-place comeback effort on Sept. 25, King Robyn may be up to the task.

King Robyn had been off 16 months when he returned in the $58,000 Governor's Cup Handicap at Fairplex Park. Pressed through blistering early fractions (21.07 and 44.32 seconds), King Robyn put away his pace rivals, opened up two lengths in the lane, and got collared by closers. It was a super effort.

King Robyn is trained by Jeff Mullins, who will be at Belmont on Saturday to run Wild Fit in the BC Juvenile Fillies and Choctaw Nation in the Classic. King Robyn has won 12 races and $548,042 from 24 starts. He was ridden last time out by Martin Pedroza.

King Robyn's up-front running style suits the speed-friendly course profile. Speed has reigned supreme in downhill sprints this fall.

The Morvich is expected to attract only a handful of its 15 nominees. and Zanzibar.

Saturday's first live race is at 9:40 a.m. Pacific.