08/09/2004 12:00AM

Thresher best in Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Heavily favored Thresher ($3) had no problems defeating six rivals to win the $54,595 Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes at the Sonoma County Fair on Sunday.

Despite an incident in the gate that forced Sharp Strider to scratch and the rest of the field to be taken out of the gate and reloaded, Thresher was not bothered. He broke alertly and held the lead despite a challenge from Game Boy Johnny down the backstretch.

After putting Game Boy Johnny away, Thresher was challenged at the quarter pole by Glassy Act, but he quickly pulled away down the lane to win the 5 1/2-furlong race by 3 1/4 lengths over Glassy Act in 1:04.46.

"When I got up to him, he broke again," Glassy Act's rider Roberto Gonzalez said.

"I thought it was deja vu," winning jockey Chad Schvaneveldt said. "We had trouble in the gate in Pleasanton and had a delay, and he didn't break well. He left there running today and was just playing around with them all the way. He'd hear them coming and let out another notch."

Winning trainer Keith Bennett said he was concerned by the delay but added, "I was confident with the colt's disposition it wouldn't be a problem."

Bennett wasn't surprised to be on the lead but said he didn't think the Perry Bruno homebred needed the lead.

"I told Chad if (Glassy Act) wants to go, let him and if our colt broke sharp to use his own judgment," said Bennett, who will give his budding star a brief freshener.

The victory, worth $30,685 was the second in three starts for Thresher, who ran third in the Everett Nevin at Pleasanton. He has now earned $47,290.

Morning-line favorite Vicente was scratched after straining a muscle in a Saturday morning gallop.