09/24/2002 11:00PM

Reba's Gold no stranger to some tight turns


POMONA, Calif. - Reba's Gold and Hot Market are 119-pound co-highweights for the $100,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Invitational Handicap on Sunday. Trainer Craig Lewis said Hot Market may run instead in a sprint next month at Bay Meadows, but Reba's Gold is a confirmed starter, according to trainer Dan Hendricks. Reba's Gold has won five races and $353,212 from 25 starts. Third behind Congaree in his most recent start at Del Mar, Reba's Gold will race Sunday on a five-eighths-mile track for the first time.

"I'm not concerned about his handling this track," Hendricks said. "He's got speed and he handles the turns." Hendricks noted that Reba's Gold trained on the short training track at Santa Anita, and that "he's got speed to be in position. It looks like a good spot to win a nice little stakes with him."

It won't be easy. A full field is expected for the about 1 1/8-mile Pomona Invitational, in which Sigfreto and Out of Mind will be among the leading contenders. Sigfreto won the $100,000 Pomona Derby last year at Fairplex, and kept his bullring record perfect by winning the Phil D. Shepherd Stakes on Sept. 4. Trained by Doug Peterson, Sigfreto will be ridden by Matt Garcia.

Out of Mind won the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap in May 2000, but since has lost seven straight. Trained by Richard Mandella, Out of Mind has not raced since finishing fourth Aug. 3 at Santa Rosa. "We freshened him a little bit, and he seems to be doing well," Mandella said.

Expected runners include Reba's Gold, David Flores, 119; Nates Colony, Martin Pedroza, 117; Sigfreto, Garcia, 117; Dig For It, undetermined, 16; Out of Mind, Rollins, 116; and San Nicolas, Tyler Baze, 115.

Posadas over slumping Ayanna

The continued form decline of even-money favorite Ayanna allowed Posadas to score a mild upset in the $48,000 Bangles and Beads Stakes on Tuesday at Fairplex Park. Ayanna, who had defeated only two rivals combined in her last three starts, opened a four-length lead after a half-mile, but stopped suddenly into the lane and finished a dull fourth.

Posadas, ridden by Martin Pedroza, raced in second position most of the race, surged to the lead at the eighth pole and held off the $20,000 claiming filly Absolutism by three-quarters of a length. Posadas completed the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.61. Trained by Jim Chapman, Posadas returned $7.20. Sister Patricia finished third; Green Eyed Lady ran last in the field of five fillies and mares. Ayanna, a two-time stakes winner last year as a 2-year-old, has now run four consecutive subpar races.

Valenzuela rides with appeals pending

Pat Valenzuela, leading rider at Hollywood Park and Del Mar, will ride three horses Friday at Fairplex Park, including the defending Las Madrinas Handicap winner, Mimi's Cafe. Valenzuela received three suspensions for riding infractions at Del Mar, two of which are on appeal. A five-day suspension for an infraction on closing day was to be served the first week of the Oak Tree meet. Valenzuela's agent, Nick Cosata, said Valenzuela would have accepted the suspension, except that it prohibited Valenzuela from riding in designated races.

While most suspensions allow jockeys to ride in designated races, California Horse Racing Board rules allow for stewards to "prohibit a jockey or driver from participating in designated races if such jockey or rider has been suspended at least twice during the race meeting." There are eight graded stakes scheduled opening week at Santa Anita, and Valenzuela has calls in two Grades 1's on Oct. 5 - Golden Apples in the Yellow Ribbon and Crafty C.T. in the Ancient Title.

Trainers thinking ahead

Trainers Mel Stute (Warren's Whistle) and Darrell Vienna (Covincing) will focus on the Las Madrinas Handicap Saturday at Fairplex Park, but the Breeders' Cup is close to their thoughts. Stute said Juvenile Fillies contender Buffythecenterfold recently has not trained "as good as I'd like." Buffythecenterfold got sick after winning the Sorrento at Del Mar, and finished off the board in the Del Mar Debutante. Plans call for her to run Oct. 6 in the Oak Leaf Stakes.

Vienna is pointing two to the Breeders' Cup - graded stakes winner Disturbingthepeace will train up to the BC Sprint, and Atto Mile third-place finisher Nuclear Debate is pointing toward the BC Mile.

* A six-runner field of mules and expanded exotic wagering Wednesday proved slightly more popular with bettors than the mule match race between Black Ruby and Taz. Total handle on Wednesday's race was $77,200 and included trifecta, exacta, and quinella wagering. In the Black Ruby-Taz race on Sept. 14, which offered only win betting, handle was $71,894.