04/28/2006 12:00AM

Turf Paradise: Tedo favored to beat locals


It has been a recurring theme in many of the stakes at Turf Paradise this meet - put up the money and the raiders from Southern California will try to steal it away. The move has worked many times, and it may again Sunday, when Tedo invades for the $40,000 Wildcat Handicap, a 1 3/8-mile turf event that has lured a field of 13.

The company Tedo has kept makes him the horse to beat. Trained by Doug O'Neill, who just won the Santa Anita training title, Tedo was good enough to earn a run in the Group 1 Italian Derby 11 months ago, finishing seventh. He went on to score a seven-length win over lesser in Italy before moving to the U.S. In his first two U.S. starts, Tedo was second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby last September and won the Sir Beaufort on the turf at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. His other three U.S. starts, however, haven't been nearly as sharp - a seventh and two ninth-place finishes. Tedo was last seen chasing the early pace and tiring to end up ninth of 10 in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita on April 8.

Tedo will receive a stiff challenge from Western Act, one of the best horses on the circuit. Trained by Cory Kellogg, Western Act had a smashing start to the season, winning the Last Chance Derby here Dec. 31 and the Cotton Fitzsimmons Handicap on Jan. 7, before finishing second in the Turf Paradise Handicap here Feb. 11. Western Act bounced back to win the Captain Billy Boogie here Feb. 26.

All of those races came on the turf, and in his two subsequent starts, both on the dirt, he failed to threaten, finishing 10th and fifth.

Two other local threats are Aza, who finished second in the 1 1/16-mile Blaze O'Brien on this course April 9, and Itstufftobegood, who won a one-mile dirt stakes race here March 24 and was third in the Blaze O'Brien.