Favored Bordonaro roared off the turn for jockey Patrick Valenzuela and held off the challenge of Tacirring in the final stages to win the $300,000 Padua Stables Sprint to kick off the Sunshine Millions program for California and Florida-bred horses at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
The California-bred invader Bordonaro was getting weary inside the final furlong but, under strong urging from Valenzuela, he got the job done by three-quarters of a length, clocking an outstanding time of 1:08 2/5 for the six furlongs.
"I think he's one of the best sprinters in the country," Valenzuela said. "He kept on his left lead, and I really didn't really try to make him switch. I just kept him going about his business."
Tacirring, ridden by Roberto Alvarado Jr., finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of Bushwacker, with Alex Solis aboard, for second. The pacesetting Thor's Echo, with Jerry Bailey astride, finished fourth.
It was the third straight win for the 5-year-old gelding Bordonaro, who is trained by Bill Spawr for owners and breeders Fred Carrillo and Daniel Cassella. The chestnut son of Memo was coming off a career-best effort in his first graded stakes win, a three-length triumph in the Vernon O. Underwood (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Dec. 3.
"He has been so upset since we got here," Spawr said. "I'm so surprised that he ran this well. He started out in a stall that was facing the racetrack, and all the excitement just had him so unsettled. He was way off his grain, but obviously not all the way off it. He just never seemed to settle down. To have him run this well is a very nice surprise."
The lightly raced Bordonaro, who could have been claimed for $32,000 as a maiden last April 1 at Santa Anita Park, won for the seventh time in nine starts while pushing his career earnings to $372,164.
Bordonaro was well spotted in third early on as Areyoutalkintome and Thor's Echo dueled on the lead through a speedy opening quarter mile in :21 2/5. Nearing the half-mile point Thor's Echo gradually pulled away from Areyoutalkintome, completing four furlongs in :43 3/5 as Bordonaro moved into contention on the outside of the pacesetters.
Bordonaro challenged for the lead at the head of the turn and grabbed the lead as they swung into the stretch with Tacirring and Bushwacker ranging up for the stretch run. Tiring after completing five furlongs in :55 2/5, Valenzuela kept Bordonaro to his task and Tacirring was unable to reach even terms late.
The 3-2 choice in the field of 13, Bordonaro paid $5, $3.60, and $3.60 while topping an $86 exacta with 19-1 shot Tacirring, who returned $12.60 and $8.80. Bushwacker, another California invader, was $23.40 to show.
Thor's Echo was followed by Nightmare Affair, Mister Fotis, Valid Video, Santana Strings, Areyoutalkintome, 2005 Sunshine Millions Sprint winner Red Warrior, Halos Sailing Sain, All Hail Stormy and Smokume.