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Closing Sprinter Sway Away Finds Niche

Sway Away top story.

Sway Away has raced at distances from five furlongs to a mile and 3/16ths and at six different tracks in a seven-race career.


The 4-year-old son of 2005 Preakness winner Afleet Alex broke his maiden in a five-furlong dash at Pleasanton in his debut, on June 27, 2010, and finished 12th of 14 during a troubled trip in last year’s 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes.


Owned by the Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz and Cindy Olsen, Sway Away has a 2-2-0 record with earnings of $157,800.


Unraced since winning an allowance test at seven furlongs at Hollywood Park last June, Jeff Bonde feels the bay colt will be operating under favorable conditions when he runs in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs.


“He’s doing good,” the trainer said. “He was a typical young horse; you try to find out where you fit, and this is where we think we fit. He’s an off-the-pace sprinter.” Bonde was not consumed with strategy, leaving that up to jockey Rafael Bejarano and Sway Away.


“He makes his own race,” Bonde said.


Sway Away blew out three furlongs Tuesday in 38.40, breezing, on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track.


The San Carlos marks the 2012 debut of Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Amazombie. The 6-year-old California-bred gelding was scheduled to start in the Jan. 21 Palos Verdes Stakes, but was scratched due to an off track.


The field for the San Carlos, race seven of nine: Canonize, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Amazombie, Mike Smith, 8-5; The Factor, Martin Garcia, 7-5; Mensa Heat, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Rothko, Joel Rosario, 4-1; and Sway Away, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1.


Amazombie and The Factor share highweight of 123 pounds each. The others carry 118.


In other San Carlos news:


Having second thoughts about facing The Factor, the lone speed in the race on paper and unbeaten in three races at the seven-furlong distance of the San Carlos, trainer Ted H. West said Mensa Heat could scratch and point to the $70,000 Joe Hernandez Handicap for 4-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf on March 4.


Mr Gruff, who finished in a dead-heat with Regally Ready for third after an exacting speed duel in the Daytona Stakes on Jan. 8, also is a candidate for the Hernandez, trainer Ron Ellis said.


Rothko, second to The Factor in the Malibu despite traffic problems at the three-eighths marker, must make up the 3 ½ lengths he was beaten in that Grade I race at seven furlongs on Dec. 26.


“We need a clean run,” said trainer Steve Asmussen’s assistant, Scott Blasi. “I don’t know if we can beat him (The Factor). I just hope we get a clean run. When the running started last time, we got stood on our heads, so we’ll see what happens.”


Amazombie galloped a mile Friday morning.



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