Bordonaro wins Underwood Stakes, Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Bordonaro wins Underwood Stakes, Saturday at Hollywood Park.


Bordonaro Blitzes 'Captain' in Underwood

Razor sharp Bordonaro sped to the front for jockey Patrick Valenzuela shortly after the start of the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood (gr. III) and drew away for a three-length victory in his first graded stakes race Saturday at Hollywood Park.

The 4-year-old Bordonaro completed the six-furlong event in 1:08, matching the time he turned in while winning the California Cup Starter Sprint Handicap across town at Santa Anita last month.

The California-bred Memo gelding simply ran away from Ancient Title Breeders' Cup (gr. I) winner Captain Squire, who chased the winner through sizzling fractions of :21 3/5 and :43 4/5 before falling 3 1/2 lengths behind after five furlongs were completed in :55 2/5. Bordonaro was not challenged in the stretch.

"I told (Valenzuela), if he makes the lead to just go on and open up on them," winning trainer Bill Spawr said.

Valenzuela had little trouble following instructions.

"He's quick, a pretty easy horse to ride," said Valenzuela, who had been off his mounts for the past two day with stomach flu. "He's got a lot of speed and he sticks pretty good, too. Our plan for the race was to go to the front, but Captain Squire broke half a step quicker than we did. It usually takes this horse a couple of strides to get going. But when he did, he took off, put away Captain Squire, and went about his business."

Bordonaro, carrying 120 pounds, broke three wide in the field of four and inched away on the backstretch before angling in on the turn. He opened up coming off the turn and was in command while urged home by Valenzuela.

Turnbolt, ridden by Corey Nakatani, engaged Captain Squire and Alex Solis near the eighth pole and finished second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of the 9-10 favorite. Lifestyle trailed throughout and finished last in the field, which was reduced to a quartet by the scratch of Indian Country in the post parade. Show bets were refunded due to the scratch.

Bordonaro earned $60,000 for owner/breeders Fred Carrillo and Daniel Cassella. The victory was his sixth in eight starts and pushed his bankroll to $207,164. The winner is out of the Rajab mare Miss Excitement.

The chestnut finished sixth in his career debut in February at Santa Anita Park, then won his next four races before finishing fourth while testing stakes company for the first time in the restricted Pirate's Bounty at Del Mar in early September.

"He was never right behind," Spawr said. "He was winning and running good, but when he would go to the turn and go to the left lead, he wouldn't switch behind. We did nuclear scans – we did everything – nothing really showed up."

Bordonaro was off for two months after the Pirate's Bounty before returning on Cal Cup day.

"I walked him for 10 days or two weeks and just jogged him for a month and he got stronger and stronger," Spawr said. "When I started breezing him again, all my riders said he's not doing that behind anymore. We ran him in the Cal Cup and he was awesome that day."

The second choice, Bordonaro paid $6.40 and $4. Turnbolt, making his stakes debut, returned $6.40. Captain Squire, the 124-pound high weight, was seeking his third win in four starts following a layoff of more than 14 months.

(Chart, Equibase)