06/24/2008 11:00PM

Zin Man merits shot at Cal Derby Challenge

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Zin Man appears ready for the rise in class when he runs in the Grade 3, $40,410 Bayer Legend California Derby Challenge on Friday night at Los Alamitos.

A Dennis Ekins-trained gelding, Zin Man showed he is ready after easily winning a non-winners-of-two allowance race by 1 1/4 lengths in his most recent start. He drew out in the 350-yard race with a quick 17.33-second clocking, and should relish the 400-yard distance of the California Derby Challenge.

Also in the California Derby Challenge is Cartel Sizzle, who has won 2 of his 11 starts while finishing on the board nine times. He won a minor stakes and ran second in the Kingman Kid Stakes and third in the Quarter Horse Journal Stakes.

Catchinon, another entrant, is in prime form with an allowance win and a second in the Dillingham Stakes in his latest two starts.

On Saturday night at Los Alamitos, the quick-starting Modem should relish the 300-yard distance of the $35,000 Independence Day Handicap

Modem comes off a win at the $50,000 claiming level, getting up by a nose in an excellent 15.13 seconds for the 300 yards. The 6-year-old gelding also has the back class to fit at this level. He won the 350-yard Kaweah Bar Handicap and placed in two other stakes at that distance last year.

Leading Spirit makes his first start in nearly five months. A close second in last September's Go Man Go Handicap, he got his first stakes win in two years in the First Down Dash Handicap on Dec. 21.