When The Name's Bond scored his first career added-money victory and shattered a track record at the Ocala Training Center Monday, his trainer, Frank Gomez wasn't surprised.
"I've always been high on this horse," said Gomez after the colt captured the $100,000 colt and gelding division of the OBS Championship Stakes by three lengths. "He had trained super. He blew out for the race in :46 4/5. They don't do that too many times at Calder, so I said, 'We've got him right.' "
With Gary Boulanger aboard, The Name's Bond completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.20, blowing past the previous mark of 1:45 that was established by Plenty of Light in 2000. The 3-year-old son of Jules stalked the pace before joining three other rivals in a battle for the lead coming out of the final turn. He moved to the front for good in midstretch. Coach Jimi Lee finished second, and Just Say the Word was third in the field of eight.
A homebred who races for William and Annabel Murphy, The Name's Bond had won only a maiden claimer in his 11 races prior to the Championship Stakes. In his two other outings this year, he had finished fifth in a pair of allowance races at Gulfstream Park.
"He just didn't like the track at Gulfstream," Gomez said. "It was too hard for him, and it was stinging his feet. The track is fast here, but it's got a good cushion."
Gomez didn't know where The Name's Bond would run next.
"We'll have to see what happens," he said. "He's a neat horse to be around, and he looks the part. He's so intelligent, very smart."
There were five other races on the card for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's annual day of racing in Florida. Edgar Prado rode three winners, and another track record was broken.
Running Debate grabbed the lead on the final turn, then held off a determined Scapade to take the $100,000 filly division of the OBS Championship Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths. Carrying Prado, the winner covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.40 to notch her first victory in an added-money event. Fencelineneighbor was third.
Owned by Trilogy Stables and Laurie Plesa, Running Debate is a 3-year-old daughter of Open Forum. She had won only two of her nine career outings prior to the race.
"I've always thought she was a nice filly," said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. "But it took us awhile to get her running style down. She's got a particular way of running, and sometimes jockeys get a little impatient with her and allow her to sneak up a little bit more. She doesn't like that. She wants to be taken hold of and then make one run. That's what Edgar did today. He rode her perfectly."
After fighting off a challenge from Super Fuse, Valid Video pulled away late in the stretch to score by 3 ½ lengths in the $50,000 colt and gelding division of the OBS Sprint Stakes. Laughing Luke finished another 3 ¾ lengths back in third. The winning time for six furlongs was 1:09.60.
Owned by Mac Fehsenfeld, Valid Video was ridden by Prado. The 3-year-old Valid Wager gelding captured the 2002 Sapling Stakes (gr. III), then finished fourth in the Futurity (gr. I). Ill and running a fever following the Futurity, he did not compete again until January of this year, when he captured the Ocala Stud Dash, which was part of the Sunshine Millions program at Gulfstream Park.
"To be honest with you, he didn't seem like he was handling the track the way he should have today," said Valid Video's trainer, Dennis Manning. "But he switched leads inside sixteenth pole and drew out. The horse he beat (a multiple stakes winner) ain't no slouch; he's a nice horse."
Valid Video will run next in the Aventura Stakes in April at Gulfstream.
"We want to find out if he can stretch out," Manning said. "We'll see how he runs at a mile and a sixteenth in the Aventura, then we'll kind of play it by ear from there. If he runs well, we might take a look at some of the Derbys in Ohio and Illinois. If he looks like he can't get the distance of ground, then we'll turn him around and he'll just be a sprinter."
Shot Gun Favorite slipped in front of Hope for Love right before the wire to take the $50,000 filly division of the OBS Sprint Stakes by a neck. Crafty Brat finished third. Owned by Steve and Dr. Stanley Kaplan's Stevestan Stable, Shot Gun Favorite completed the six furlongs in 1:10.20. Trained by Kenny McPeek, the 3-year-old daughter of Eltish was ridden to victory by Prado. The effort improved her record to two wins in four races.
"We felt like we had the best horse in the race and the best jockey; that's a hard combination to beat," Dr. Stanley Kaplan said.
Sheila P. Arnold's Hana Highway smashed the track record for five furlongs, covering the distance in :56.40 to win the $35,000 Florida Thoroughbred Charities Stakes. The 5-year-old gelded son of Mister Jolie defeated last year's winner, Handsome Smile, by 9 ½ lengths while Winds of Love finished only a head farther behind in third. (Handsome Smile shared the former track mark of :58.20 with Rich in Glory.) Trained by Richard Arnold Jr., Hana Highway was ridden by Jose Rivera II.
John Franks' homebred Kiss Me Twice swept past Fly Borboleta deep in the stretch to win the $35,000 Florida Breeders' Distaff Stakes. Ridden by Carlos Gonzalez, Kiss Me Twice covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.40. Teresa Pompay trains the 4-year-old Kissin Kris filly, whose margin of victory was 1 ½ lengths. Sea Mist was third.