In his final race before competing in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) next month, Bonapaw carried 125 pounds to the winner's circle while setting a stakes record time in the $100,000 Taylor's Special Handicap at Fair Grounds Sunday. Under Gerard Melancon, Bonapaw completed the six furlongs in 1:09.32 on a fast track after setting fractions of :21.69, :44.31, and :56.52.
"We're looking forward to Dubai," co-owner Dennis Richard said. "It's all even weight, and I don't know what kind of weight we would have had if we stayed here for the next one."
Abajo pressured Bonapaw through the quick early fractions before Bonapaw pulled clear en route to the victory.
"He was game today," Melancon said. "He was nice and relaxed. I knew we were going pretty fast, but I had plenty left. I didn't like the draw because I wanted to be on the outside of all the speed, but you can't get the luck of the draw all the time. I let him do what he had to do."
Crucible rallied from fourth to finish second, a neck ahead of Abajo. Prospector's Gift and Two Punch Sonny completed the order of finish.
The Tucker Alonzo-trained 3-10 favorite paid $2.60 for the win and led a $6.80 exacta.
Six-year-old Bonapaw (Sabona--Pawlova, by Nijinsky II) will travel to Dubai with a record of 14 wins from 29 career starts. His career earnings increased to $684,136 with the $60,000 winner's share from the Taylor's Special. Dr. William O. Reed bred Bonapaw in Kentucky. (Chart, Equibase