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
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
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.