Updated on 09/16/2011 6:53AM

Bonapaw takes Taylor's Special


NEW ORLEANS - Bonapaw is taking his show on the road early next month, flying to Dubai for the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen. Maybe someone there can keep up with him.

No one in New Orleans can, and Bonapaw cemented his position as the best sprinter in the region with a three and three-quarters lengths win in the $100,000 Taylor's Special Handicap on Sunday at Fair Grounds.

Bonapaw ran six furlongs in 1:09.32, setting a stakes record for the Taylor's Special. He paid $2.60 to win as the heavy favorite and was the subject of rampant show wagering. Crucible edged Abajo by a neck for he place spot.

Abajo paid the price for running with Bonapaw early in the race. Bonapaw broke from post three, Abajo from post four, and both horses went for the lead. The early fractions were very fast, 21.69 seconds for a quarter-mile and 44.31 for a half, and Bonapaw was pinned down on the inside.

"I knew were going fast," said winning rider Gerard Melancon. "I was a little worried at first, but he slowed up on the turn and took a little breather, and when he does that, I know he'll be okay."

Abajo stuck with Bonapaw into mid-stretch, then wilted, but Bonapaw continued on to the wire and was never threatened late.

The win was Bonapaw's third in a sprint stakes at this meet, and now there are new worlds to conquer. Owners Jim and Dennis Richards, twin brothers who own tire stores in New Orleans and have never had a horse like this, have had their hearts set on a trip to Dubai since last summer. Now they'll get their wish.

Bonapaw is set to depart for Dubai on March 9 from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Both Richards brothers will make the trip for the race, though trainer Tucker Alonzo will not. Melancon, too, will travel to Dubai, and thinks he can draw on his experience riding at Louisiana bush tracks as a teenager. Like races at the bush tracks, the Golden Shaheen is run over a straight course.