By Prof. Gordon Jones
Once upon a time, the reigning king of Fairplex Park was a smooth and patient rider named David Flores.
Year after year, he rode off with the riding crown at Pomona.
When Flores decided to ease up some on his year-round riding schedule and concentrate more on Del Mar, Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, hard-riding Martin Pedroza stepped up. He began stealing race after race at Fairplex until he charged right past Flores to record the most happy endings in Fairplex Park history. He even rode more winners in a single season than Flores ever did.
Unnoticed by many Fairplex fans last season, Flores began casting covetous looks back to the colorful oval.
He didn’t challenge his old rival for the riding title. But he sure looked good winning with 28 percent of his mounts while Pedroza was scoring “only” 25 percent of the time. You made a 14 percent profit betting Flores to offset a 27 percent deficit backing the over-bet Pedroza.
Surprisingly, the champs take different routes to the winners’ circle.
Pedroza likes to gun pell-mell for the lead and say “Come catch me if you can!” In fact, 16 of his 26 winners went wire-to-wire for a big 62 percent ratio of sheer early speed over fast finishers.
Flores was almost Pedroza in reverse. He stole just two of his 11 winning races out on the lead, preferring to rally from off the pace.
As the fall season draws nigh, Flores w