Bordonaro Buzzes Ancient Title; Sprint on Hold

Bordonaro Buzzes Ancient Title; Sprint on Hold
Photo: Benoit
Bordonaro earns Ancient Title win.
After Bordonaro's smashing front-running victory in the $220,000 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup (gr. I) Saturday at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meet, accomplished in a time of 1:07 4/5 for six furlongs, owner/breeders Fred Carrillo and Dan Cassella have a tough decision ahead of them.

Winning trainer Bill Spawr said afterward it would cost the owners $180,000 to start the 5-year-old California-bred gelding, who is not nominated, in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. With that, comes the privilege of facing monster Henny Hughes, who demolished the field in Belmont Park's Vosburgh (gr. I) earlier in the day.

"It's a lotta money," Spawr said. "That's the whole thing – is it worth it? The timing isn't good. He'd a have four weeks between races, and we'd like six. We'll watch him close over the next two weeks and make a decision on whether to supplement him."

Bordonaro, reunited with Patrick Valenzuela Saturday, popped the gate from his outside post in the field of six and never looked back while setting red-hot fractions of :21 2/5 and :43 4/5. Thor's Echo, the only horse in the field within shouting distance of the winner coming off the turn, edged up on the outside for David Cohen to challenge. But Valenzuela urged the son of Memo on in the lane, and he responded to tally by one hard-fought length over the game Thor's Echo.

"He's got so much speed, and he just keeps fighting every time they come to him," Valenzuela said. "You saw it today, 1:07-and-change, that's a heckuva race. As for having to supplement to the Breeders' Cup, off that performance today, I'd think they just might do that."

Dennis O'Neill, his brother Doug's assistant trainer, said they have a decision on Thor's Echo, who ran second in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) in March.

"We're definitely going to consider the Breeders' Cup," he said. "But this horse obviously likes Dubai. So we'd have to make a decision on which one to run in. He's good right now. He's really done well over the artificial track at Hollywood Park."

A controversial second-place decision in the Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) at Del Mar in his last start July 30 snapped a four-race winning streak that included a pair of grade III victories for Bordonaro. Alex Solis rode the chestnut, who lost to Ancient Title rival Pure as Gold in the Crosby while Valenzuela was sidelined. Overall, he has won nine of 12 in his career and picked up a winning share of $120,000 Saturday to boost his earnings to $644,164.

Spawr said he felt it was important for Bordonaro to get back on the winning track.

"I was so nervous today because he trained so well going into the race," Spawr said. "He's such a quick horse. You can see that. He's amazing. He goes a half (mile) in 43 and change, and he can finish. I wish he'd have won it in 1:09...but (Valenzuela) said he wasn't getting tired."

Pure as Gold tracked the leader between horses for Jon Court Saturday, but faded in the stretch as Jungle Prince came on to get third, 5 3/4 lengths behind the first two finishers.

The 2-5 favorite, Bordonaro paid $2.80, $2.20, and $2.10. Thor's Echo, who ran very gamely for second, returned $4.40 and $2.20. Jungle Prince, best of the rest with Agapito Delgadillo aboard, was $2.10 to show.

Pure as Gold, Spellbinder, and Zanzibar rounded out the order.

(Chart, Equibase)

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