09/17/2002 11:00PM

Warren's Whistle making Stute look good


POMONA, Calif. - Trainer Mel Stute will provide no further advice to the owner of Warren's Whistle.

After Warren's Whistle won the 2000 Black Swan Stakes at Fairplex Park, owner Tony Everard was offered $100,000 for the 2-year-old. Stute's advice?

"I said leave her alone, I think she'll win [$200,000] or $300,000," Stute said.

Stute was right. Warren's Whistle surpassed the $300,000 earnings mark in summer 2001, and another offer was made for her, this time for $200,000. Stute's advice: "I said hold on, I think she'll make $500,000."

Right again.

Warren's Whistle won the 2001 Pio Pico Stakes at Fairplex, passed the $500,000 earnings mark this year, and Friday will try to win a Fairplex stakes for the third year.

Warren's Whistle, now 4, is the class of the field Friday at Fairplex, where eight fillies and mares race 6 1/2 furlongs in the $50,000 Pio Pico Stakes. This may be the last season for Warren's Whistle to race at Fairplex. According to Stute, plans call for the filly to be sold at auction later this year. This time, Stute will not advise against it.

In the Pio Pico, Warren's Whistle is in a field that includes front-runners Cinnful Bride, Harvest Girl, and Miss Santa Ana, as well as Always the Lady, Filigree, Proud Tammie, and Song of Summer. The race should set up well for Warren's Whistle, a late-running gray who has won six races and $557,558 from 38 starts. She is 2 for 4 at Fairplex.

"This racetrack has a [reputation for] speed, but a good come-from-behinder has a better chance here than a speed horse, because they can lay back where there's no bumping, get out in the clear [and rally]," Stute said.

The trainer is qualified to offer the handicapping analysis. Stute is the Los Angeles County Fair's all-time leading trainer in wins (169) and stakes wins (41). Both totals are through Tuesday.

Martin Pedroza rides Warren's Whistle, whose Del Mar form was strong. She won a minor stakes Aug. 3, finished second in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo, and was off the board in a two-turn turf race. Back sprinting Friday on one of her favorite racetracks, Warren's Whistle enters the Pio Pico as a deserving favorite.

If an upset occurs, it probably would be on the front end. Miss Santa Ana, 3 for 7, exits a strong two-other-than allowance and is the one to catch if she disposes of 3-year-old claimer Cinnful Bride. Harvest Girl was re-claimed for $62,500 last out by Bruce Headley, and she should drop into a good trip just off the speed.

Jimmy O goes all the way

A pronounced speed bias Tuesday at Fairplex Park propelled Jimmy O to a front-running upset in the $49,500 Beau Brummel Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Jockey Matt Garcia guided Jimmy O ($17.60) to the front. He set rapid fractions of 21.50 seconds and 44.95, opened up by three lengths at the quarter pole, and coasted home to win by a 1 3/4 lengths in 1:16.85 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Hell Cat, the 2-1 favorite, rallied against the grain of the bias to finish second, a nose in front of Spensive. Pine for Java, runner-up to Vindication in his most recent start, finished fifth. Jimmy O, a gelding by Stormy Atlantic trained by David La Croix, won for the second time in six starts. La Croix said he will consider Jimmy O for the Gateway to Glory Stakes at a 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 26. The stakes win was the third of the five-day-old meet for Garcia.

Looking for solutions

A 20 percent decrease in Fairplex Park handle (through Tuesday) will lead to a 5 percent reduction in purses, effective Saturday. Michael Seder, L.A. County Fair vice president of finance, said Wednesday the reduction will bring purses back to 2001 levels, while officials continue to seek answers for the decrease in handle. Out-of-state handle is down 11 percent; in-state and ontrack handle combined is down 22 percent.

Despite the wagering decline, fair officials are moving forward with long-term plans for Fairplex Park to continue as a venue for racing, training, and sales. Negotiations are underway to hire Del Mar racing secretary Tom Robbins as a consultant to the fair. Pending an agreement, Seder said Robbins would provide consultation for the live race meet, year-round training, and the sales program at Barretts, in which the fair holds a majority interest.

"We think those three programs are very important; it's what makes Pomona unique," Seder said. "We're trying to find ways to bring them together."

Asked if the hiring of Robbins could be interpreted that fair officials are committed to Fairplex Park's continued existence as a racetrack, Seder said: "Absolutely."

* Truly a Judge, winner of the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel on Aug. 31 at Philadelphia Park, is being considered for the $100,000 Pomona Invitational Handicap on Sept. 29. Racing secretary Richard Wheeler plans to invite the first three finishers from the Phil D. Shepherd Stakes - Sigfreto, Most Likely, and J.T.'s Song. The Pomona Invitational also is the target for Mysterious Cat, beaten favorite in the Longacres Mile.

* In an effort to fill more mixed-breed races, racing officials will begin carding mule races next week.