Pomona, Calif. (Sept. 20, 2008) -- Although he stumbled a bit at the start, Bingham, ridden by jockey Alonso Quinonez, was able to control the early tempo of the 54th running of the $100,000 Pomona Derby, winning the 1 1/8 mile race by 2 lengths over Pistol Pete Afleet in 1:-51.89 at Fairplex Park on Saturday.
However, Bingham had to survive a steward's injury for a minor incident entering the stretch when Dreamed Day, who finished fourth, steadied momentarily after clipping the heels of the winner.
"When I came back (after the race to be unsaddled), I saw the inquiry' sign and I didn't know what it was about. I didn't do anything."
The Fairplex stewards agreed ,and Bingham went into the winner's circle, his fourth victory for seven career races.
Quinonez took advantage of his paceless six rivals, leading throughout while setting soft fractions of 24.61, 49.39, 1:14.29 and 1:39 26.
"I looked at the pps (past performance sheets) and there didn't look like there was any speed in the race," said winning trainer Jeff Mullins. "He's a free running horse and I told Alonso, if they let you have the lead, take it'."
Bingham paid$8.60 and earned $55,000 for the victory.
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The stakes action continues this afternoon at Fairplex with the marquee race of the meet, the $125,000 Ralph M. Hinds Pomona Invitational Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.
Also on the 13-race program are the $65,000 Bangles and Beads Stakes for fillies and mares at 6 furlongs, the $65,000 Governor's Cup Handicap at 6 furlongs for the best sprinters on the grounds and the $100,000 Las Madrinas Handicap at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares.
Jockey Martin Pedroza, who already has clinched his 10th consecutive Fairplex riding championship and 11th overall, became the all-time stakes winning jockey in Pomona when he guided Gambler's Justice to victory in Saturday's $65,000 CTBA Marian Stakes for 3-year-old fillies bred in California.
The CTBA Marian was Pedroza's sixth stakes victory of the 2008 session, and he now leads David Flores in that category, 63-62.
However, to win the CTBA Marian Stakes Pedroza had to use all his previously acquired skill over the Pomona course.
While Flores was on the lead with Quid Non, Pedroza had placed Gambler's Justice right behind along the fence.
But down the backstretch=2 0jockey Martin Garcia aboard Debating Society ranged up outside of Gambler's Justice, giving Pedroza very little wiggle room.
"I was kind of trapped on the rail," said Pedroza. "I looked around to see where everybody was, and knew I was on the best horse and eventually something would open up. And it did."