Chamberlain Bridge Like Old Self in Bonapaw

Chamberlain Bridge Like Old Self in Bonapaw
Photo: Hodges Photography/Lynn Roberts
Chamberlain Bridge and Jamie Theriot take the Bonapaw Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Million-dollar earner Chamberlain Bridge snapped a six-race losing streak Dec. 17 when he led throughout to capture the Bonapaw Stakes at Fair Grounds (VIDEO), one of three $75,000 stakes races on the New Orleans program.

Trained by Bret Calhoun for owner Carl R. Moore Management, the multiple graded stakes winner posted his fifth victory in seven starts on the Fair Grounds turf, which was yielding for the Bonapaw. The 7-year-old War Chant gelding ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.41 with Jamie Theriot aboard, defeating 4-5 favorite Country Day   by one length.

Two races later, Cherokee Queen rallied from fifth at mid-stretch on the turf to win the Blushing K. D. Stakes (VIDEO), one of five wins on the program for Shaun Bridgmohan. The jockey also won the $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes for 2-year-olds aboard favorite Exfactor (VIDEO).

Clark Brewster's Cherokee Queen, a 6-year-old daughter of Cherokee Run saddled for the first time by Steve Margolis, came six wide in the stretch and got up at the wire by a neck over Pleasantly Blessed. Bet on the Blue was a second neck behind in third. Ravi's Song, the 9-10 choice in the field of 10, failed to menace and finished ninth. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile test for fillies and mares was 1:45.23.

In the other major stakes event on the card, Jim Taefel's homebred Fast Alex nosed out Gleam of Hope as the 8-5 favorite in the Tenacious Handicap (VIDEO). Robby Albarado guided the 4-year-old son of Afleet Alex   to victory for trainer Greg Geier.

Winning for the 18th time in 39 lifetime starts, Chamberlain Bridge ($8.40 to win) boosted his career earnings to $1,732,231 with the Bonapaw victory. Winner of the 2010 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT), Chamberlain Bridge, winning for the first time since taking the Rail Splitter at Sam Houston in February, finished eighth in this year's BC Turf Sprint.

“You know, we had a rough year with him," Calhoun said. "Physically he’s been the same horse as he was last year during his great campaign and this year he just really mentally hasn’t seemed to be the same."

Breaking from the far outside post in a field of nine, Chamberlain Bridge outfought Great Mills for the early lead and edged away in the stretch after drifting wide. The veteran held on late under steady urging to defeat Country Day, whose chances were diminished when he bumped hard at the start.

“I’m feeling a lot better," Calhoun said. "It was getting to the point where I was starting to wonder if he was going to lay down and really run again, so it was nice to see him run a big race and maybe we got his attention today."

Bred in Kentucky by Eugene Melnyk, Chamberlain Bridge is out of the Trempolino mare She's Got Class. Chamberlain Bridge has won 16 of 33 tries at 5 1/2 furlongs on grass.

Cherokee Queen ($9.20), bred in Kentucky by J. Mack Robinson, earned her 10th victory in 33 lifetime starts while extending her earnings to $568,312. The dark bay/brown mare is out of the Virginia Rapids mare Virginia Bee. She won last year's Suwannee River Stakes (gr. IIT) on the Gulfstream Park turf in February.

In the Tenacious, Fast Alex ($5.20) defeated four rivals. The dark bay/brown colt came from just off the pace to challenge Gleam of Hope on the outside at mid-stretch and prevailed in a terrific finish. He completed the 1 1/16-mile event in 1:45.31 over a fast track.

With his first stakes win, Fast Alex, out of the Unbridled mare Unaffordable, improved his career mark to 4-0-2 in 13 starts with earnings of $150,605.

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