Bordonaro Repeats in Count Fleet Sprint 'Cap

California sprinter Bordonaro went gate to wire to successfully defend his title in the $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Oaklawn Park Friday, but he had to work harder to do it.

Jockey Richard Migliore, who gave up his call on the Maker's Mark Mile (gr. II) winner Kip Deville at Keeneland earlier in the afternoon in order to ride the prohibitive choice Bordonaro, was forced to go to the whip approaching the eighth pole. Following a couple of smacks, the 6-year-old gelding proved his resiliency with a half-length win over a game Semaphore Man, who was within striking distance mid-stretch but could not get on even terms. The winning time for the six-furlong event was 1:09, two-fifths slower than last year's running when Bordonaro finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of Friendly Island. Semaphore Man finished a distant third in that race.

The fourth-place finisher in last year's TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), Bordonaro carried top weight of 121 pounds.

Owned by Fred Carrillo and Daniel A. Casella, the grade I winning Bordonaro won for the 10th time in his 15-race career while boosting his earnings to $876,794. Trained by Bill Spawr, the chestnut son of  Chilean sire Memo paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.20. Bordonaro's first win of the 2007 season snapped a two-race losing string that included a third-place finish in his previous start Jan. 27, the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita where he was easily handled while the 11-10 choice by the fast-developing Smokey Stover.

Bordonaro broke quickly Friday to get the early jump on his five rivals, but he was never far clear while racing a bit off the the rail through moderate fractions of :22 and :45 1/5. Given a breather on the turn as Semaphore Man moved into contention from mid-pack by Tim Doocy, Bordonaro got serious in the final furlong as his rival threatened along the inside.

Semaphore Man, who boasted a win and a second in earlier sprint stakes this meeting at Oaklawn, returned $3.80 and $3 while finishing 1 1/2 lengths clear of the show horse, Off Duty. Ridden by Stewart Elliott, Off Duty nosed Junior College for third and paid $4. Mach Ride and Rodeo's Castle trailed.

(Chart, Equibase)

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