10/13/2008 12:00AM

Top Emblem surprises in Bull Dog


FRESNO, Calif. - Top Emblem ($11.20) unveiled a new running style as he scored the first stakes victory of his career in winning the $64,000 Bull Dog Stakes at the Big Fresno Fair on Sunday.

Top Emblem, who faded to seventh in the Cal Cup Classic after sitting closest to the pace through six furlongs just seven days before, was last down the backstretch in the one-mile Bull Dog as trainer Ron Sticka changed tactics with the 4-year-old Old Topper gelding who usually shows speed. He had run second in an Aug. 16 Del Mar allowance race when he lagged early.

Highweight Saratoga’s Magic, part of an odds-on 4-5 entry with early pacesetter Our Partner, took over the lead in the lane but could not hold off Top Emblem, who rallied wide under Osman Cedeno and quickly assumed the lead.

Top Emblem, a William Ehmcke homebred, won the one-mile race by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:35.79. He carried 120 pounds, five less than Saratoga’s Magic. Summer Survivor was third, 4 1/4 lengths behind Saratoga’s Magic.

Top Emblem earned $40,100 for his fourth career win in 30 starts to increase his career earnings to $165,004.