Bossanova Struts Gate-to-Wire in Fall Highweight

Speedster Bossanova opened up a two-length advantage in the stretch and held on under Edgar Prado for a gate-to-wire victory in Thursday's $108,300 Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.

The 8-5 favorite in the field of six, Bossanova crossed the finish line one-half length ahead of Papua, who rallied in the stretch to defeat Savoy Special by a length for the place spot. The final time for the six furlongs on a fast strip was 1:10.

Bossanova, a 3-year-old New York-bred colt by Pine Bluff-Street Tappin (by Housebuster) carried 128 pounds to his fourth win in nine career starts.

The James Bond-trained dark bay broke on the lead and established a sensible pace with a :22 4/5 opening quarter-mile and :45 4/5 for the half. As the field squared away for the stretch run after five furlongs in :57 3/5, Prado roused Bossanova on a bit and the colt opened up in stretch, winning in a drive under steady handling.

Bossanova will likely get a break, as trainer H. James Bond maps out a campaign for 2004.
"I couldn't get a flight up there, but he ran pretty good without me," said Bond, who was in Florida on Thursday. "When I'm out of town, I think he runs faster. He's pretty quick, and I really thought he won this race in the first quarter. Edgar (Prado) rode a tremendous race with him.

"Bossanova is just a nice, handy horse to have around. I will talk to the owners (Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez) and see what they want to do, but I would love to give him a little break and get him ready for next year. I think he will win a lot of races and make a lot of money next year. The owners are great people and I have another horse, Roman Dancer, with them. They have a great eye for horses and they've given me two runners. That's what I'm thankful for." 

Savoy Special, ridden by John Velazquez with 127 pounds, rated in second while applying moderate pressure to the leader, and was outrun in the stretch. Papua, carrying 132, was fourth down the backstetch, ranging into contention in the stretch for jockey Richard Migliore. He rallied gamely while closing in on the winner on the outside in the closing stages.

"The only one that could have put pressure on us was Savoy Special," said Prado. "He sat right next to us, but my horse is real fast. He was trying real hard today. There is a lot of difference between going :22 4/5 and :21 4/5. He was very relaxed today, and I was confident in the stretch. I took my time to make him switch leads. He finished up well and he keeps getting better."

Peeping Tom, breaking from the inside post and carrying top weight of 138 as the second choice, finished fifth.

Bossanova, a $220,000 Ocala buy in February 2002, earned $64,980, improving his career bankroll to more than $234,426. Coming off a state-bred allowance win in his only previous start at Aqueduct Nov. 8, he won for the third time in seven starts this year.

The winner paid $5.40, $3.60 and $2.50. Papua returned $5.20 and $2.80. Savoy Special's show was $2.50. The $2 exacta was worth $29.20.

(Chart, Equibase)