04/27/2006 11:00PM

Pederson sends out dangerous pair in Walnut Creek


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Dean Pederson has two threats for Sunday's $40,000-added Walnut Creek overnight stakes on the Golden Gate Fields turf. Pederson sends out Kilgowan, a former El Camino Real Derby winner, and Now Victory, who has won two straight but has not raced since Jan. 22 because of the lack of turf racing.

There are four other horses in the 1 3/8-mile Walnut Creek: Balustrade, who won the 1 7/8-mile Hasta La Vista at Turf Paradise last year; Sharp Writer, coming off a win in a one-mile allowance race; comebacking Azarouak, a winner at the distance; and Apollo King.

Neither Kilgowan nor Now Victory has tried Sunday's distance. Pederson said he is concerned about whether Now Victory can harness his speed sufficiently.

"He's a monster," Pederson said. "He's so big and physical. We've worked on trying to get him to relax."

Exercise rider Gregorio Arriaga has worked patiently with Now Victory, getting Now Victory to do his opening quarter in his works in 25 seconds. In most of his other works, Now Victory has gone 22 and change.

"He's learned in the morning to relax," Pederson said. "It's a matter of transferring that to the afternoon. If he relaxes, I don't think distance will be an issue. He can run big. If he's headstrong the first half-mile, it could be tough."

In his first race for Pederson, Now Victory lost a Nov. 20 allowance here by a neck. He then won two straight before rain in northern California prevented turf racing for nearly three months.

Kilgowan will be looking for his first victory since the El Camino Real Derby on March 13, 2004, a span of 13 races. He is 0 for 4 on turf, but finished third in last year's Grace Handicap at Santa Rosa on grass. In his last start, he was third after a freshener in an April 7 allowance race here.