09/11/2008 11:00PM

Triumphant Flight heavy choice in Barretts


POMONA, Calif. - If the 2-year-old colt Triumphant Flight has better luck this fall at the Los Angeles County Fair than he had this summer at Del Mar, he will be tough to beat in the $130,000 Barretts Juvenile on Sunday at Fairplex Park.

Triumphant Flight was expected to win the Graduation Stakes on July 23 at Del Mar. But he bobbled at the start and blew his right rear shoe, struggled with the Polytrack surface, squandered a one-length lead at the eighth pole, and lost by a nose at 7-5.

"He really got the worst of it in the Graduation," trainer Eric Kruljac said. "He was just spinning his wheels."

Things got worse three weeks later when Triumphant Flight bruised a foot in a five-furlong workout. Enough was enough.

"At that time, I elected to send him to Fairplex, and we had an eye on [the Barretts]," Kruljac said. Triumphant Flight's foot got well, and both his workouts on the five-furlong oval at Fairplex have been super.

"He's ready, he's training great, and he seems to handle the turns," Kruljac said. "He could be a pretty nice horse. Hopefully, we'll have him around for a while."

Victor Espinoza rides Triumphant Flight, who has a win and a second, and earnings of $56,000.

Twelve entered the Barretts but only 10 will run in the 6 1/2-furlong race restricted to 2-year-olds offered at a Barretts sale. With a debut victory and a runner-up finish in a stakes race, Triumphant Flight figures to start at a short price in a field that came up without much depth.

Bowie at Saratoga and Mr. Rod both are maidens, but they could be the main rivals for the favorite. Jeff Mullins trains Bowie at Saratoga, who followed his fourth-place debut with a good runner-up finish in a fast $100,000 maiden-claiming race.

Dan Hendricks trains speedball Mr. Rod. After battling through a hot pace and fading twice at Del Mar, his zip could be dangerous at Fairplex. In cooler weather Wednesday and Thursday at Fairplex, front-runners and pace-pressers had the advantage at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Danny Q is the only starter with a Fairplex win. He won his debut eight days ago for leading trainer Ted H. West and leading rider Martin Pedroza. A son of Bertrando, Danny Q will be rolling late.

* There was one winning ticket in the pick six Thursday at Fairplex Park, which had a two-day carryover. The ticket, purchased at a New York OTB facility, paid $364,602.