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Stakes Recap: Bonapaw Stakes

            Unlike his seven-length romp last time in the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap, Maggi Moss’ Delaunay had to roll up his proverbial sleeves and work for his money on Saturday afternoon at Fair Grounds Race Course in the off-the-turf $60,000 Bonapaw Stakes.  Forced to chase one of the swiftest front-runners in the country in Rowell Enterprises’ Heitai, the son of Smoke Glacken took the length of the muddy stretch to run down that rival by a neck. 

            Ridden by James Graham for trainer Tom Amoss from post four, the Maryland-bred traveled the 5½-furlong distance in 1:04.34 over a sealed surface after Heitai set fractions of :22.12, :45.24 and :57.62.  Delaunay returned $3.80, $2.60 and $2.10 as the 4-5 favorite, earning $37,800 to boost his career bankroll to $1,094,291.  The win was his 18th in a 49-race career, 11th stakes victory and sixth win in seven main track starts at Fair Grounds.

“I wanted to be a little closer on the backside, but Heitai is so quick,” Graham said.  “I chased him down and got him in the last four or five jumps.  The last few jumps I saw Heitai getting a little tired and said ‘just keep coming, just keep coming – we got him, we got him!’ – and we did.”

“A couple of good old warriors,” Amoss added.  “Heitai is a great horse.  Delaunay, obviously I think the world of him.  It was a great race.  Delaunay rarely wins his races running somebody down at the end.  He likes to win his races in the first half-mile and we took him out of his game today.  Heitai gave him all he wanted.  It was a great horse race and someone had to lose and someone had to win – I feel fortunate that we got the win.”

            Heitai ran gamely throughout under Colby Hernandez for trainer Karl Broberg in what was his third consecutive second-place finish over the course, returning $3.20 and $2.80 as the 2-1 second choice.  Hugh Robertson-owned and -trained Bet Seattle ran third throughout to break a four-race winning streak under Francisco Torres, returning $3.20 to show. 

“Everything went good,” Hernandez said.  “We had a great trip.  He ran big; we just got beat by a good horse.  They’re both good horses.”

Torres, who was riding Bet Seattle off a five-month layoff, was pleased with his charge’s performance.  “I had a great trip I just couldn’t quite get there,” he said.  “It looked like I could get to them, but they kicked in and my horse got a little tired.  I can’t fault him; he ran big.”

Jasizzle, Unbridled’s Note and Officer Griffin completed the Bonapaw order of finish.