Updated on 09/16/2011 8:15AM

Spunky Gal, dead fit, goes for hot trainer

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POMONA, Calif. - One of the hottest trainers in Southern California entered the sharpest horse in the the $50,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes at Fairplex Park. Vladimir Cerin, who ended Del Mar by winning with six of his last 11 starters, starts Spunky Gal in the 1 1/16-mile stake for fillies and mares.

"If she has a chance to be stakes placed, I'm definitely running," Cerin said.

In fact, Spunky Gal has more than a chance. The 4-year-old filly overcame a pronounced anti-speed bias to win a turf allowance two weeks ago at Del Mar, and hits the Los Angeles County Fair meet in top form.

Spunky Gal's main rival is Lookn Mighty Fine, a $5,000 claimer two years ago at Fairplex before she developed into a consistent $50,000 claimer. The E.B. Johnston field is completed by Bold Roberta, Chastity Belle, Sister Patricia, Happy Michelle, Revillew Slew, and Demidoll.

Spunky Gal has won three races and $128,780 from 10 starts, and Cerin said she came out of her allowance win "super." A stakes win Sunday would increase Spunky Gal's value as a broodmare prospect and add to Cerin's overall Fairplex success. He has won 12 stakes at the L.A. County Fair, fifth on the all-time list. His 42 wins overall place him 14th all time.

Scott Stevens rides Spunky Gal. All-time-leading Fairplex jockey Martin Pedroza rides Lookn Mighty Fine. Pedroza has won 322 races at Fairplex, and next stakes win will move him into fourth all-time. He entered the meet with 26 stakes wins.

Lookn Mighty Fine is trained by Jeff Mullins, last year's Fairplex leader, and co-leader in 1998.

Mullins said Fairplex Park is one reason why he moved his year-round operation from Arizona to California more than a year ago.

"If it wasn't for this place, I probably wouldn't be in California," Mullins said. "This place gives the small guy a chance. It'll be a sad day when they close this place down."

Lookn Mighty Fine has not raced at Fairplex since 2000, when

she finished second in a $6,250 claimer. Mullins claimed her for that price one start later. She won seven of her next 13, and was claimed from Mullins for $62,500

a year later. He re-claimed her

Aug. 30 at Del Mar, out of a $50,000 claimer in which she finished

second.

A sharp work this week at Fairplex hints she is ready to roll. She has won 11 of 38 overall.

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