09/20/2007 11:00PM

O'Neill looking good with Raise the Bluff

EmailPOMONA, Calif. - Raise the Bluff leads the Doug O'Neill juggernaut into Fairplex Park on Sunday, where he is favored to win the $125,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Invitational Handicap.

O'Neill entered horses in seven races Sunday, including favorite Men Only in the $65,000 Governor's Cup for sprinters. Barring the unforeseen, O'Neill will win his fifth training title at the 16-day Los Angeles County Fair meet, which ends on Monday.

"You can't win if you're not in," O'Neill said, and this fall at Fairplex, O'Neill has been in most of the time. Going into Friday, O'Neill had started more horses (35) and had more wins (10) than any trainer. His Sunday arsenal includes four likely favorites.

Raise the Bluff is the highweight in the 1 1/8-mile Hinds, and if he reproduces his most recent start - second in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs - he will be tough to beat under Tyler Baze. In the Longacres Mile, Raise the Bluff rallied from seventh to second, losing by a head.

"Emerald Downs tends to cater to front-end horses," O'Neill said. "I thought it was a winning effort."

O'Neill and owner Ron Crockett considered several options before deciding on the Hinds. "It's a lot of money, and he's trained well over the track," O'Neill said.

Raise the Bluff has won 5 races and $327,706 from 18 starts, and is 8-5 on the early line. But he is not a cinch against tough-as-nails front-runner Railroad, a 9-for-32 veteran who will get a softer pace than at Del Mar in his last start, and Gaddingabout, who often outruns his odds.

The field includes four that have won stakes on the five-eighth-mile Fairplex track: 2005 Hinds winner Courtly Jazz, 2006 Derby Trial winner Plug Me In, 2006 Pomona Derby winner Sensational Score, and 2007 Phil D. Shepherd winner Bravo Maestro. Double Galore is the longshot in the field.

The field is not imposing, and Gaddingabout could spring an upset in his first start since being claimed from a Del Mar turf win for $50,000 by owners Bruce Fields, Marty Quinn, Bill Nevarov, and trainer Frank Monteleone.

Gaddingabout has won 5 of his last 9 at 5-1 or higher, and Monteleone said his half-mile workout last week in 45.80 seconds was actually five furlongs in 58.

"I don't care about the time, it was the way he did it," Monteleone said. "I will be disappointed if he doesn't run well."