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HORSE RACING

Chandtrue Makes It Look Easy

June 21, 2004|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Three starts into his career and Chandtrue has yet to be challenged.

A winner by a combined 8 1/2 lengths in his first two starts for owner Harold Greene and trainer Bob Hess Jr., the 2-year-old colt was even more dominant in the $80,025 Haggin Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park.

The 3-2 second choice in the field of six, the son of Yes Is True was reserved off the pace early by jockey Corey Nakatani, then powered away late to win by seven lengths in 1:04.02 for the 5 1/2 furlongs.

"This was by far his best effort," Hess said. "Before he ever ran I thought he was a one-dimensional rocket ship, and now I think we have a pretty nice little horse."

Gentleman Count, a maiden making his second start, finished second, a half-length in front of 32-1 Fallfree. Actxecutive, the even-money favorite on the strength of a 10 1/2-length win at Calder last month, was a distant fourth.

Purchased privately out of the win by trainer Bob Baffert for owner Jim McIngvale, the Noactor colt dropped well back early, then made some progress late, but was beaten 11 lengths by Chandtrue.

"He's not quick enough," Baffert said. "Some horses get over here and struggle at the start. Dirt hit him, he backed out of it, then he started running at the end. But, he's not bred to be a sprinter, he's bred to run all day long."

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Be A Bono, the 3-5 favorite, remained unbeaten in seven starts with a narrow win in the $159,250 Spencer L. Childers California Breeders' Championship Handicap on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

One of three Grade I races on the 13-race California Champions night card, the Childers was won by the man the event honors. Childers, 92, bred and owns Be A Bono, a 3-year-old Bono Jazz gelding who is trained by Dan Francisco.

"We'll give him some time now," Childers said. "We'll look to run him where the money is. I think the best is yet to come, though.

"We're looking to have him better when the big-money races come calling at the end of the year."

Ridden by G.R. Carter, Be A Bono covered the 400 yards in 19.73, and the win pushed his career earnings to $520,382. Dealadash was second, and Deefirst finished third.

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The other two Grade I races were swept by trainer Dennis Ekins. He won the $120,000 Governor's Cup Derby with 7-1 shot Not For Long and took the $334,000 Governor's Cup Futurity with 5-1 outsider Ocean Runaway.

In the process, Ekins became the first trainer to win the Governor's Cup Derby and the Futurity on the same night.

With Alex Bautista aboard, Ocean Runaway, who is owned by Gary Muller, covered the 350 yards in a stakes-record 17.39, bettering the old mark of 17.49.

In the Derby, Not For Long, who is owned by Pete Parrella's Legacy Ranch, won by a half-length over Honor And Cherish in 19.82 for the 400 yards. He was ridden by Sam Thompson.

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