09/21/2005 11:00PM

Texcess looks too tough


POMONA, Calif. - Texcess starts over Saturday in the $100,000 Pomona Derby at Fairplex Park. Although the 1 1/8-mile Derby is his first race in four months, it is a race Texcess should win.

Will he fire first start back?

"He's acting like he will; he's acting dead fit," trainer Paul Aguirre said.

That would be bad news for his Pomona Derby rivals because Texcess already is the most accomplished in the field of 11 3-year-olds. He has won 3 races and $770,625 from 9 starts, is graded stakes-placed, and proven over the Fairplex track.

The chief rival for , who is dropping out of a Grade 2. Also entered are Take a Chance and Chummin, the one-two finishers in the derby trial; Khyber Pass; over-raced stakes winner Dover Dere; overmatched claimer Go Coyote Joe; and longshots Top This and That, Rocket Ready, Mudweiser and Ninety Fine.

None has credentials that compare to Texcess, who won the $1 million Delta Jackpot in December and was temporarily on the Kentucky Derby trail. After finishing third in the Grade 2 San Rafael and second in a Bay Meadows stakes, he tailed off.

"We shipped him around too much, and it was getting to him," Aguirre said. "I couldn't keep weight on him. We will race him a little more sparingly, and I think he will come back a better horse."

Aguirre, a co-owner of Texcess with Omar Aldabbagh, was reluctant to call the Pomona Derby a prep race for the $250,000 California Cup Classic on Nov. 26, though that would be the logical next start.

Orbits World finished sixth in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby last time, beaten five lengths.

"I thought he would win, but the rider never put him in the race," trainer Barry Abrams said.

Orbits World is a two-turn presser, but he was ineffective rallying from last place in the Del Mar Derby. The question Saturday is if he can be effective on dirt.

"He's definitely better on grass, but grass horses run well at Pomona," Abrams said. "And the bottom line is, he's a good horse."

Orbits World has won 2 of 13, and the best races of his career have all been since returning from a five-month layoff.

Dover Dere is qualified to win, but his form appears to be declining after shipping this year to Golden Gate, Sunland, Mountaineer, Del Mar, and Hollywood Park.