06/21/2006 11:00PM

'Smokin' can challenge Candy Jo


STOCKTON, Calif. - Candy Jo appears the best bet on paper on Saturday's San Joaquin County Fair race card as she comes north to run in the $40,000-added Sweepida.

But will she be the best bet on the racetrack?

Trained by Jeff Mullins, the 3-year-old Candy Jo's best Beyer is 20 points higher than any of her eight rivals in the 5 1/2-furlong race. All her Beyers in her past five starts are higher than anyone else's best.

But there's something Devons Smokin has that Candy Jo doesn't. Make that two somethings: two stakes victories.

, the runner-up in two stakes, should be in front, but there are plenty of fillies in the race with contending speed, and she'll surely be challenged a bit early.

, who won the $125,000 CTBA at Del Mar last year and the U. S. Bank at Emerald Downs this year, has some speed, although she prefers a stalking role.

"She's a good, solid filly," trainer Jeff Bonde said. "Sometimes you're better off being versatile at this distance, because they can tend to go a bit fast early."

Candy Jo won't outclass Devons Smokin, who has faced the likes of graded-stakes winners Hystericalady, Press Camp, and Victorina.

The Sweepida includes a solid bunch of runners and should be a handicapper's delight - or nightmare - when playing exotics.

has won two straight after missing by a nose in her comeback. Star Quality, who returns from a two-month layoff, lost by less than one combined length in her only two defeats. Snowdrop has never finished off the board, and River Song has a first and second in her two starts this year following a $62,500 claim last year.

Even Angels Awaiting, claimed for $4,000 from a victory in her last start, is a fit in the mix to earn black type.