RACING NOTES: BLACK RUBY DEFEATS TAZ IN FAIRPLEX MATCH RACE; SIGFRETO WINS
POMONA, Calif., Sept. 14--Black Ruby, billed as the Secretariat of mules, enhanced her reputation by running down arch-rival Taz late in their 350-yard match race at Fairplex Park Saturday to win by a half-length under 129 pounds and regular rider James Burns. It was the 49th win from 56 starts for Black Ruby, a 10-year-old mare who earned the full $10,000 purse in the winner-take-all match. Black Ruby, owned by Sonny and Mary McPherson and trained by Ron White, has defeated Taz 25 times in their last 27 meetings. "This one looked in doubt, even at the 16th pole," Burns said. "Ruby didn't get away real good. She broke good but she just didn't get her footing underneath her because of all the weight she carried. She just kind of floundered the first 50, 100 yards and Taz was in front me, and I thought, 'Oh gosh, today is the day (Black Ruby gets beat). Taz is a helluva campaigner and he makes her run hard all the time. You can see by the time (:20.42), that's a damn good time for mules." Black Ruby paid $2.60 to win in the win-betting only event. Taz, owned by Donald Jacklin and trained by Ed Burdick, carried 124 pounds and jockey Cowboy Jack Kaenel. In Saturday's featured thoroughbred event, Sigfreto established himself as a leading candidate for the $100,000 Ralph M. Hinds Memorial Invitational Handicap at Fairplex Park on closing day, Sept. 29, with a game half-length victory over pace-setting Most Likely in the $50,000 Phil D. Shepherd Stakes. Sigfreto, winner of last year's Pomona Derby at Fairplex, is unbeaten in two starts at the Los Angeles County Fair oval. "He got off bad today," said trainer Doug Peterson of the 4-year-old Florida-bred son of Spunky Rascal. "He's a little funny in the gate and he lost a little there. But he's an aggressive horse and a free-running horse. He just loves to go around this track. I think he'll do very well because we have a little time before the big one (Hinds)." Matt Garcia rode Sigfreto, who carried 115 pounds over 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:41.80. Sigfreto, winless in six starts since winning the Pomona Derby last Sept. 22, paid $7 to win as the mild favorite in the field of seven. He earned $27,00 for his sixth win from 20 starts. J.T.'s Song was third, 5 1/2 lengths behind Most Likely. Moving's Gold, Dr. Park, Sign of Fire and Reef Diver completed the order of finish. Dereck was scratched. David and Holly Wilson's Spunky Gal is the 8-5 morning line favorite in Sunday's 21st edition of the $50,000-guaranteed E.B. Johnston Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles. The field in post position order: Bold Roberta, Matt Garcia, 114, 8-1; Lookn Mighty Fine, Martin Pedroza, 114, 2-1; Spunky Gal, Scott Stevens, 122, 8-5; Chastity Belle, Goncalino Almeida, 114, 30-1; Revillew Slew, Iggy Puglisi, 114, 8-1; Sister Patricia, Danny Sorenson, 114, 10-1; Happy Michelle, Felipe Martinez, 109, 4-1; and Demidoll, Joey Steiner, 114, 15-1.