09/13/2010 3:34PM

Pedroza starts meet at a record pace

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Benoit & Associates
Jockey Martin Pedroza, shown during the Hollywood meet, won the Bangles and Beads for Bob Baffert aboard Via Veneto.

POMONA, Calif. – Jockey Martin Pedroza used 17 racing days during the 2004 Fairplex Park meet to establish the single-season record for wins at the Los Angeles County Fair. Pedroza won 51 races; 2004 was the last year the Fair meet was that long.

The following season, Fairplex reduced the meet to 16 days and in 2009 trimmed again to its current 15-day format. It appeared the meet record of 51 wins would never be topped.

That is, until now. Pedroza went on a tear the first four days of the 2010 meet. He won 20 races from 41 mounts, putting him on pace to break the single-season record even with two fewer days to work with.

Pedroza scored his second six-bagger of the meet Sunday to extend his all-time Fairplex record to 626 wins. Surprisingly, a $2 win bet on each of Pedroza’s mounts would have produced a flat-bet profit. His onslaught Sunday included the $50,000 Bangles and Beads Stakes with odds-on Via Veneto ($3.20).

Via Veneto is trained by Bob Baffert, whose assistant Mike Marlow oversees a large Baffert contingent at Fairplex. The Baffert stable currently is split between Hollywood Park and Fairplex. Via Veneto won the 6 1/2-furlong stakes by 1 1/2 lengths over pacesetter Terrify. The final time was 1:18.00; Via Veneto earned a 72 Beyer Speed Figure.

Claim of Pinal pays off for Siegels

Owners Mace and Samantha Siegel are not known as claiming owners. But in July at Hollywood Park, the Siegels and trainer Ron Ellis reached for the 3-year-old Pinal and claimed him for $50,000. The gelding’s role was simple.

“He was going to be the pacemaker for Golden Itiz,” Ellis said.

Golden Itiz was expected to be favored July 17 in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes. The plan was for front-runner Pinal to set it up for him. But then Golden Itiz worked poorly and did not run in the Swaps.

They were stuck with Pinal. It turns out they got stuck with a stakes winner. Pinal finished fourth at Del Mar, then rebounded to top form Friday at Fairplex, where he won the $50,000 Jim Kostoff Stakes. Pinal ($10) was ridden by Alonso Quinonez and earned a career-high 90 Beyer for his half-length win over Bench the Judge. It was the fifth win from 12 starts for Pinal.

As for Grade 3 Affirmed winner Golden Itiz, he remains in a holding pattern.

“Something is bugging him, we have to figure out what it is,” Ellis said.

Northern California-based Sourdough Sam finished fifth as the 3-2 Kostoff favorite. Jockey Chad Schvaneveldt said he was climbing and never leveled off while racing on dirt for the first time.

U R All That I Am leads them all the way

U R All That I Am capped a five-win day by Pedroza on Saturday, winning the $50,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes in gate-to-wire fashion. U R All That I Am ($2.80) was given an aggressive warm-up by Pedroza, who recognized that the scratches of Celebration and U Turn Me Crazy left the 1 1/16-mile race without a pacesetter.

Pedroza put U R All That I Am on the lead and won by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:45.83. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, U R All That I Am earned a 79 Beyer and is expected to run six furlongs on turf next in the $100,000 California Cup Distaff on Oct. 30 at Hollywood Park. The win was her ninth from 19 starts.

◗ Daily handle for the first four days of racing at Fairplex Park exceeded $5 million as bettors wagered $20,155,567 on the Los Angeles County Fair races. The figure represents a 6.16 percent drop over the first four days of the 2009 meet.