POMONA, CA, SEPT, 25, 2010-Bench the Judge won the $50,000 Pomona Derby at Fairplex Park Saturday by 3 lengths, giving jockey Martin Pedroza his fourth victory on the day and an all-time best 645th of his career the five-eighths of a mile track.
Pico Rico rallied to take second under David Flores, outfinishing 11-10 favorite Gallant Gent, ridden by Victor Espinoza, by a half-length. Twenty Hawks and Stacy's Hope completed the order of finish in the mile and one sixteenth event for 3-year-olds.
A Kentucky-bred son of Benchmark owned by Robert Master of Newbury Park and trained by Doug O'Neill, Bench the Judge covered the distance under 118 pounds in 1:43.92 and paid $6.20 as the second choice.
"He definitely needed his last race," said O'Neill assistant Leandro Mora, referring to a Sept. 10 race, the colt's first start in nine months. "Martin used good judgment in rating the horse until the three-quarter marker and the horse responded well."
Bench the Judge earned $29,000 for his third win from nine starts.
Earlier, Briecat led from start to finish to win the $50,000 Las Madrinas Handicap by 3 lengths under Alonso Quinonez. Trained by Vladimir Cerin for owners David and Holly Wilson, Briecat covered 1 1/16 miles under 117 pounds in 1:45.06 and paid $5.80 as second choice in the field of fillies and mares reduced to four with the scratch of Calle Vista.
"I just followed instructions and everything worked out perfect," Quinonez said. "Vlado told me to take the lead no matter what. If she lost, it wasn't my fault, so it worked out perfect."
Added Cerin: "the jockey, the trainer and the horse had the same plan, and we won."
Briecat, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare by Adcat, earned $29,000 for her seventh win from 22 starts. Her career bankroll is $366,165.
Madel finished second with Paul Atkinson aboard, while Dance to My Tune, the 7-10 favorite ridden by Martin Pedroza, weakened to third after pressing Briecat to the six furlong marker. Value Stream completed the order of finish.
Sunday's feature is the $75,000 Ralph M. Hinds Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at about 1 1/8 miles. The entry of Red Door Drive and Spurrier trained by Bob Baffert is the 6-5 morning line favorite in Fairplex Park's marquee race. First post time is 1 p.m.
Racing concludes Monday on Fan Appreciation Day. Admission, parking and programs are free, and pop corn, hot dogs and soda will be available at discount prices.