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FAIRPLEX PARK : Foothill Stakes to Highlight Opening Day

For the insatiable horseplayer, the Los Angeles County Fair at Fairplex Park in Pomona is the answer. The fair opens its racing season today with 13 races, and by the Sept. 30 end of the meeting, about 235 races will have been run over 19 consecutive days.

The schedule includes races for thoroughbreds, quarter horses, Appaloosas and possibly Arabians. Today, there are two stakes for thoroughbreds and one for quarter horses. The highlight of the season is the $150,000 Pomona Invitational Handicap on Sept. 29.

The richest race today at the five-furlong track is the $50,000 Foothill Stakes, at 6 1/2 furlongs for 3-year-olds. One of the favorites is What a Spell, who will be ridden by David Flores, last season’s Fairplex champion jockey with 35 winners, three short of the record that Paco Mena set in 1981.

What a Spell returns to dirt after a second- and a last-place finish on grass in his most recent starts. The last time What a Spell ran on dirt, he won the Baldwin Stakes at Santa Anita in March.

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Fairplex will have a later post time of 1 p.m. for all days except this Sunday, when the first race is scheduled for noon to accommodate betting on the Woodward Stakes from Belmont Park. Fairplex also will offer betting on the Super Derby from Louisiana Downs on Sept. 22.

Last year, Fairplex averaged 14,772 in attendance and $3.1 million as a daily handle, off about $200,000 from the record year in 1989.


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