Bonde Seeks Repeat in Vernon O. Underwood

Bonde Seeks Repeat in Vernon O. Underwood
Photo: Benoit Photo
Anillo is 1 of 2 runners for trainer Jeff Bonde in the Vernon O. Underwood Stakes.

Jeff Bonde will send out Anillo and Majestic Stride as he seeks a repeat victory in the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III) on the Thanksgiving Day card at Betfair Hollywood Park.

A six furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up over Cushion Track, the Underwood is the fourth of eight races on the Nov. 28 program. First post is 11 a.m. (PST).

Bonde, who took the 2012 edition with Smiling Tiger  , could become only the third trainer to go back-to-back in the Underwood, which will have its 33rd renewal Thursday.

Wesley Ward teamed with Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. to earn consecutive victories with Men's Exclusive in 2000 and 2001. John Sadler won with Olympic Prospect (1989) and Frost Free (1990) before adding a record third victory with Cost of Freedom in 2010.

Owned by Rontos Racing Stable Corporation, Rick Mace, and George and Mary Clare Schmitt, Anillo has won five of 16 with earnings of $125,697. A gelded son of Aragorn, he will be making his Hollywood Park debut after finishing third behind Zeewat and Flashback   in the Damascus Stakes Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park.

Majestic Stride will also be making his first local appearance for owners Edward Brown, Jr., Alan Klein, and Phil Lebherz. The 4-year-old Trippi   gelding was fourth, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by winner Secret Circle, in the grade I Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. In his only previous race over an artificial surface, Majestic Stride was second in his career debut Jan. 2, 2012 on the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields. He has won half of his six starts and earned $183,600.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will seek his second Underwood win with Roman Threat. Owned by breeders Patti and Hal Earnhardt III, the 5-year-old Roman Ruler   gelding has won two of five and banked $130,508. Roman Threat is 1-for-1 at Hollywood Park, capturing the grade III Los Angeles Handicap as the 9-10 favorite May 28, 2012.

Handsome Mike switches surfaces after finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 2 for Reddam Racing LLC and trainer Doug O'Neill.

A 4-year-old son of Scat Daddy, Handsome Mike has won three of 21 and banked $908,823. The Kentucky bred is only 2-for-17 since the beginning of last year, but he's made his victories count. Handsome Mike won the grade II Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing as a 19-1 outsider in 2012 and his lone success this year was by 1 1/4 lengths in the grade III Commonwealth April 13 at Keeneland.

$100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III, Race 4, approximate post 12:30 p.m. PST), 3YOs & Up, 6 Furlongs (all weather track)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Anillo (KY), M A Pedroza, 118, J Bonde
2. Handsome Mike (KY), M Guitierrez, 124, D F O'Neill
3. Roman Threat (KY), M Garcia, 122, B Baffert
4. Majestic Stride (KY), E A Maldonado, 120, J Bonde
5. Chosen Miracle (FL), C S Nakatani, 118, J Hollendorfer
6. Color of Courage (KY), O Mojica, 116, J Gutierrez

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