07/02/2009 12:00AM

Bonde and friends eye Nevin win

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There's no place that trainer Jeff Bonde would rather be than in the winner's circle of the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif.

He was there Wednesday with his first starter of the meet, Tango Mango, and joked that there were so many friends in the winner's circle there wasn't room for the horse.

Bonde would like to get back to there again Saturday when he sends out Excessive Passion and Ministers Power in the $50,000 Everett Nevin, a 5 1/2-furlong stakes race for 2-year-old California-breds.

Bonde's duo face a tough challenge from a Walther Solis-trained pair: Sweet Tigger, the runner-up in the June 13 Lost in the Fog at Golden Gate Fields, and Running Bear, coming off a maiden claiming win June 12 at Hollywood Park.

Excessive Passion won his debut in a March 28 two-furlong race at Golden Gate Fields. Having a 2-year-old win his first start is nothing new for Bonde, who always seems to have a number of good ones.

"It's all about education," said Bonde. "If you look at the top 2-year-old trainers, you'll see they have power in numbers.

"You don't have to be the fastest worker but the most prepared."

Bonde has the good fortune to be stocked with good young horses, and he works them together in groups of three or four, simulating a race.

"You can put them on the lead one day and take them back another," he said. "You can put them inside horses, between horses, outside horses. A horse may work well by himself, but when it comes to racing, and there's other horses around him, he may not run the same."

Excessive Passion has turned in good works over the track here.

"It's always good with a young horse to run where he's been training, but he's a professional horse," said Bonde. "We took him over to Golden Gate Fields, and he ran very well."

Ministers Power got in early trouble breaking from the rail in his only start in what Bonde calls a "wasted race." Ministers Power, a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Epic Power, disappointed Bonde with his sixth-place finish.

"We really thought he'd run a big one," Bonde said. "We know he can run. He just didn't get a chance to show it."

Bonde adds blinkers to Ministers Power for Saturday's race.