Pomona, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2009) – Jockey Victor Espinoza has ridden only one horse at Fairplex Park this meet, Quindici Man, a three-quarters of a length winner of the $50,000 Pomona Derby on Saturday.
Residing in sixth place early in the 1 1/16 mile race, Quindici Man gradually moved up within striking distance on the final turn, rallied four wide into the stretch and collared All Saint, the 2-1 favorite, in the final 100 yards to win the race in 1:45.37 for an $8 payoff.
Singer Island finished third, 2 ¼ lengths behind the top pair with Premiere Flyer fourth.
“Craig (winning trainer Craig Lewis) told me I was on the best horse and just to keep him in the clear on the outside turning for home,” said Espinoza with a smile. “And that’s what I did.”
Lewis, who also saddled Sally Says So to beat maidens in the eighth race, was a happy man.
“When we came to Pomona, I was hoping to get Gallant Gent to win the (C.B.) Afflerbaugh and he did, “said Lewis. “And I wanted to win the Pomona Derby with this horse and he did. So, it’s been a great meet.
“I would like to say Quindici Man (Quindici is a town in Italy) is a better dirt horse than a synthetic horse, but I don’t really know. I would like to get him back on turf. When he first arrived in California, I tried him on the grass, but he wasn’t acclimated.
“He’s a real mean bastard. He tries to bite and kick you every chance he can, but he can run.”
Quindici Man now has won four of 16 races and pushed his earnings to $131,880.
In the $50,000 Las Madrinas Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles Made for Magic continued her ascent up the class ladder while Ashley’s Kitty proved once again she cannot route.
Claimed for $16,000 by trainer A.C. Avila at Golden Gate on Aug. 21, Made for Magic won her next race against $20,000 foes at Del Mar and returned $43.40.
Two weeks ago she finished second to Smooth Performer in the E.B. Johnston Stakes.
On Saturday she battled Champagne Eyes head-and-head for the final half-mile and beat her to the wire by a neck as the timer blinked 1:44.98. She paid $17.60 for the victory, her sixth triumph from 22 career races.
“A.C. wanted me to work the horse several times, so I could learn any quirks she might have,” said winning jockey Omar Berrio. “I was told to keep her in the race and be close up turning for home and she did the rest.”
Ashley’s Kitty finished third nearly 2 ½ lengths behind the top pair, her best showing in four distance races.
A graded stakes winner sprinting, Ashley’s Kitty just had no punch in the Las Madrinas Handicap and raced evenly to the wire as the 8-5 favorite.
For 13 days now one has been able to isolate all the winners in the $1 win pick nine. The carryover pool stands at $119,867 for Sunday’s 12-race card.
On Saturday three tickets correctly tabbed eight out nine winners for a return of $2,782.90 each.
If no one correctly selects all the winners on Sunday, there will be a mandatory payoff on Monday, closing day.