09/17/2009 11:00PM

Three major stakes absorb purse reductions


POMONA, Calif. - Lingering purse overpayment from the 2008 Los Angeles County Fair race meet, along with modest handle in 2009, have forced officials to slash purses for three big closing-weekend stakes.

Purses for the Pomona Derby and Las Madrinas Handicap on Sept. 26 have been trimmed to $50,000. Both races were $100,000 races in 2008. The purse for the Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Invitational Handicap on Sept. 27 was cut to $100,000, down from $125,000.

The cuts are the second reductions to the derby and Las Madrinas. Fairplex previously cut the derby for 3-year-olds and Las Madrinas for fillies and mares to $75,000. Along with cancellation of the $50,000 Phil D. Shepherd Stakes on Sept. 12, racing secretary Tom Knust hopes to avoid another purse overpayment.

"Last year we overpaid about $600,000, so this year we looked at 10 percent cuts," Knust said. Those purse revisions were subject to wagering handle. "Our first two days were lighter than expected . . . we just can't afford a big overpayment," Knust said.

Through six days of racing, overall handle at the meet was down only a fraction ($30.8 million this year, $31 million through six days in 2008).

Mules can't run because of medication

Two mule races Thursday at Fairplex Park were canceled due to a medication error. Eleven of the 14 mules entered in races 1 and 2 received anti-inflammatory medication at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, which was inside the 24-hour limit.

The mule races were canceled about 30 minutes prior to the scheduled first race, according to steward Randy Winick.

"We did it to protect the public because 11 of the 14 mules that were to race were affected."

Another medication snafu on Friday led to the scratch of the mule Dashn Bobi McGee, the 1-2 favorite for race 1. The race was won by Iceman. Two jockeys were unseated after the finish line. Rodrigo Maldonado and Dhigi Gladney appeared to be unhurt.

Unbridled Meeting injured in stall

Unbridled Meeting, the 9-5 program favorite for the $50,000 Bustles and Bows Stakes on Friday at Fairplex, was scratched after she was cast in her stall Thursday night. Trainer Walther Solis said her right hind shoe was twisted, and she had heat in that foot.

"I hope it's not serious, because I still want to make the California Cup," Solis said.

Unbridled Meeting has won 2 of 6, including the CARF Debutante one start back at Golden Gate Fields.

Gallant Gent sharp in Afflerbaugh

The consistent 2-year-old Gallant Gent will be looking for bigger game after winning the $50,000 C.B. Afflerbaugh for 2-year-olds on Wednesday. Craig Lewis trains the gelding, whose victory under leading rider Martin Pedroza was his third win from four starts.

Gallant Gent ($3.60) earned a 79 Beyer Figure winning the seven-furlong race by 2 1/2 lengths.