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Sway Away Gets Acid Test in Best Pal

Sway Away, a 2-year-old son of 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex, is something of a question-mark colt coming into Sunday's 40th edition of the Grade II, $150,000 Best Pal Stakes.


The obvious question: Can a colt that broke his maiden at Pleasanton manage the jump into graded stakes company against top-rated runners on the Southern California circuit?


The answer will come Sunday in the 6 1/2-furlong Best Pal, the prime prep for the Grade I Del Mar Futurity on Wednesday, September 8, the final day of the 2010 meeting. But trainer Jeff Bonde, who has had notable success with juveniles during his long career, believes he already has the answer.


When asked if Sway Away was perhaps making too steep a jump from Pleasanton to a Grade II race, he was quick to say, "I don't think so. He was the favorite up there and he won like the favorite. He's been training really well here and we expect a big effort from him."


His effort at Pleasanton certainly was impressive as he tracked the leader and then blew past on his way to a 3 1/4-length win.

He'll be smartly tested in the Best Pal, running up against two-time stakes winner J P's Gusto and the sharp Western Mood, who missed by only a neck to J P's Gusto in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship at Hollywood Park July 5, the most recent start for both.

David Hofmans trains J P's Gusto and Jerry Hollendorfer, a long-time competitive colleague of Bonde's in Northern California, conditions Western Mood.


Also in the six-horse field, reduced from seven by the scratch of the filly Wickedly Perfect, are Comma to the Top, trained by Peter Miller; River's Chapel from the Walther Solis barn, and Minutesandtouches, trained by Terry Knight. 






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