06/26/2008 11:00PM

Pepsi's top three meet again


AUBURN, Wash. - Margo's Gift, Easy Going Cecil, and Gallon, who raced to a blanket finish in the June 1 Pepsi-Cola Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs, will have a rematch at a mile in Sunday's $50,000 Tacoma Handicap for 3-year-olds. The Tacoma will go with a field of seven.

Margo's Gift, a son of Polish Gift from the barn of trainer Doris Harwood, finished fast along the rail to edge the pacesetting Easy Going Cecil by a neck in the Pepsi-Cola, which was run in 1:16.20. It was another head back to Gallon, who finished well on the outside.

The Pepsi-Cola was the sixth win and the fifth stakes win from nine starts for Margo's Gift, who has amassed more than $283,000 in earnings, but he has yet to prove he can win around two turns. Margo's Gift was eased in his initial route try, which came in last year's WTBA Lads at a mile. He came back to run a respectable third in the 1 1/16-mile Gottstein Futurity, but he was 5 3/4 lengths behind the exceptional filly Smarty Deb and 2 3/4 lengths behind Gallon.

"He needs to improve on his Futurity effort to win on Sunday," conceded Harwood. "He is a more mature, more relaxed horse this year, though. I really can't think of a single reason why he shouldn't be able to get a mile."

Easy Going Cecil also needs to demonstrate that he can handle a mile, as he has never raced beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. Easy Going Cecil, a son of The Deputy trained by Blaine Wright, won three straight races going into the Pepsi-Cola, rising from the maiden $12,500 level to $40,000 claiming, and he led every step but the last couple in his initial stakes try. He is bred for a route of ground, being by a Santa Anita Derby winner, and he has been improving with every outing.

Gallon is the lone two-turn stakes winner in the Tacoma field. Gallon, a Victory Gallop gelding trained by Jim Penney, won last year's WTBA lads at a mile before finishing second in the Gottstein. This year he has raced twice, finishing second to Fear No Evil in the six-furlong Auburn Stakes before his third in the Pepsi-Cola.

Fear No Evil, who finished a distant sixth in the Pepsi-Cola, is back to try the top three again on Sunday. Rounding out the field are Jaton Carries On, Red Redding and Jimmy Da Brick.