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Chamberlain Bridge in tough spot at FG

Trainer Bret Calhoun, conditioner of 2010 Grade II Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champion Chamberlain Bridge, owned by Carl Moore Management, was quick to get to the heart of the matter when discussing Saturday’s $75,000 Bonapaw Stakes – one of three stakes heading up this weekend’s Santa Super Saturday program at Fair Grounds.


“You know, for $75,000, this turned out to be a very good race,” Calhoun said Friday morning. “There are a lot of good horses in there, but I can tell you that Chamberlain Bridge is doing just great and seems to be coming into this race just as good as he’s ever been. 


“Mentally, I know Chamberlain Bridge is as good as he ever was,” said Calhoun, gently touching on the age issue of his gelding now only a fortnight away from his 8-year-old season. “He still knows how to bear down and go about his business. We’ll see on Saturday if he’s still as good as I think he is.


“He just hasn’t had much luck in his last couple of races,” Calhoun said. “In that last start (Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs where he finished fourth in $100,000 optional claiming company) he lost all chance at the start. The ground was so soft he almost went down coming out of the gate. And in his start before that (eighth in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Nov. 5), he had to come out of the #14 hole, and I don’t think that helped him at all.


“On Saturday (breaking from the outside in the #9 post), I think he’ll be exactly where he wants to be,” Calhoun concluded, “and I expect him to give a real good effort once again.”


Just minutes earlier on Friday morning during Fair Grounds training hours, trainer Steve Margolis offered his own assessment of the Bonapaw Stakes and his sprinter Country Day, the 5-year-old son of Speightstown owned by Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein who finished second in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at last asking on Nov. 5.


“I’m looking forward to (the Bonapaw Stakes),” said Margolis. “(Country Day) is coming into the race just as good as I could wish for. People say my horse has only won one race on the turf but he has run really well in some others so I don’t worry about that. Nevertheless, I have nothing but respect for every other horse in there tomorrow. Chamberlain Bridge has a proven record that shows just how good he is, but there are others – like Steve’s (Asmussen) horse Great Mills (Millennium Farms) that we have to watch out for as well.”



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