Bordonaro and Carthage, two of the hottest sprinters in the nation, meet in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) at six furlongs on the Del Mar main track Sunday.
The horses' trainers --Art Sherman, who conditions Carthage, and Bill Spawr, who saddles Bordonaro-- are hoping to land a berth in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.
The pair heads a field of six.
Bordonaro, who carries top weight of 120 pounds, is rolling along on a four-win streak for Spawr, while Carthage, who totes 119 Sunday, has overwhelmed five straight fields, one of which included last year's Eclipse Award champion sprinter, Lost in the Fog.
In spite of Carthage's shiny record, trainer Sherman sees the Crosby as the 6-year-old Smoke Glacken
gelding's biggest test yet. Carthage outfought Crosby rival Tricky Trevor in winning the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap (gr. III) in their last start June 4.
"This will be a good test for him," Sherman said. "He'll be running against one of the best sprinters in the country in Bordonaro, and this gives me a chance to find out where I'm at with him -- if he's Breeders' Cup material or Dubai material."
Sherman is impressed with the former claimer's grit, saying, "You have to outrun him to get past him. He won't give up. He's sharp right now. He's coming into the race just perfect."
Spawr is equally impressed with Bordonaro, who didn't even get to the races until he was 4 years old last year and has won eight of 10 overall. Spawr, a longtime fixture on Southern California backstretches, says the California-bred Memo gelding is the best sprinter he's ever trained.
Spawr has history with sprinters, especially at Del Mar, where his Sensational Star won the Crosby and the Pat O'Brien (gr. II) in 1990 and Enjoy the Moment, a fast mare, won the Rancho Bernardo (gr. III) in 1999.
Bordonaro, whose last win came in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn April 13, originally was slated to run in the Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park. But Spawr said owners Fred Carrillo and Dan Cassella decided they wanted to try the $2 million BC Sprint and let him choose his next race.
"I told them I wanted to skip the Los Angeles and go into the Bing Crosby," he said.$300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Pure as Gold (WA), 113, Jon Court
2. Trickey Trevor (FL), 117, Corey Nakatani
3. Premium Saltine (KY), 114, Tyler Baze
4. Battle Won (KY), 114, Victor Espinoza
5. Bordonaro (CA), 120, Alex Solis
6. Carthage (KY), 119, Dennis Carr