Black Sheep Racing’s China
may have been the black
sheep as the longest price of the Bonapaw family field, but that didn’t
stop him from stealing off early and then holding off the rest for a
neck score – lighting up the tote board with mutuels of $74.20, $21.20
“I never thought I’d be on the lead but he broke so sharp I just let him go,” said winning rider John Jacinto in the winner’s circle.
Jacinto, who was unseated following the second race and needed
assistance from two others to walk off the track after that incident,
seemed none the worse for wear after the Bonapaw. Two races later, he
won the $60,000 Letellier Memorial astride the aptly named Finding More, owned by Daniel Kenny and trained by Kellyn Gorder, who paid $19 to win.
However, after the Bonapaw, winning trainer John Good seemed
as surprised as his rider. “Even putting him in this race itself was
kind of an audible,” Good said. “It was just that the surface switch
(dirt to turf) made sense.”
China dashed the about 5 1/2- furlong distance over a firm
Stall-Wilson turf course in 1:04.75 following his early fractions of
22.14 and 45.04. He increased his career earnings to $271,072 with his
sixth victory in 18 career starts.
Fletcher and Carolyn Gray’s Icon Ike finished second, returning $7.20 and $4.60, while Luch Racing Stables’ Global Power got up for third a length and a quarter farther back to pay $7.
The biggest disappointment in the Bonapaw came from 2010 Grade II Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge, who finished fourth as the choice of the fans.
“He just didn’t show up with his ‘A’ game today,” said his trainer Bret Calhoun. “We didn’t quite get the trip we were looking for.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Calhoun tasted sweet victory with Gary and Mary West’s Tour Guide
in the $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes, with Brian Hernandez Jr. up. That
speedy juvenile colt paid $2.60 to win and could possibly be stretched
out to longer distances for the upcoming local series for sophomores
that will conclude with the $1 million Louisiana Derby March 30.
Hernandez went on to win five races on the 12-race program, including two for trainer Al Stall Jr. and owners Claiborne Farm & Adele B. Dilschneider. In the 10th race, Bind returned from a 1 1/2-year layoff to win an entry-level allowance going six furlongs. One race later, first-time starter Departing won the deepest and most highly anticipated juvenile maiden special weight of the meet to date.