06/30/2005 11:00PM

Bonde determines facing males best for Devons Smokin


PLEASANTON, Calif. - Trainer Jeff Bonde always weighs his options carefully.

So when he decided to run the filly Devons Smokin against colts in Sunday's $50,000 Everett Nevin Alameda County Futurity instead of Saturday's 2-year-old filly stakes here, the Juan Gonzalez, it was a carefully thought-out decision.

"I entered because it was a Cal-bred race with a higher purse," Bonde said. "I didn't see a lot of difference between the colts and fillies that were nominated, and this gave her an extra day since her last race," a maiden win on June 19 at Golden Gate Fields.

Meeting the boys is nothing new for Devons Smoking. It was her loss to a Bonde-trained colt, Tiza Royal Cat, in northern California's first 2-year-old race of the year that prompted the trainer to purchase her privately.

"We bought her a week later," he said. "She ran just green enough to get beat that day, but I liked the way she finished."

While there is no standout in the field, Devons Smokin is far from a sure thing, even though she has the best Beyer Speed Figures of any entrant

Don Jaun Con, who set a very fast pace - a quarter in 20.97 - before tiring late in the Malcolm Anderson on June 18 at Golden Gate Fields, could prove the one to beat.

"When he ran his opening quarter in 20-and-change and they were really grinding, I was concerned," said Don Jaun Con's trainer, William E. Morey. "He was able to open in the lane, but I think the opening fractions hit him hard in the last 50 yards."

Devons Smoking has been stabled at Pleasanton since her closing-day victory at Golden Gate Fields. Although she has no listed works, she is stabled here and has been on the track daily.

"This track has a lot of foliage and stuff sticking out that can bother young horses," said Bonde, explaining why he likes to stable his young horses locally before they race.

Bonde has also entered Tiza Royal Cat, who will get a chance to make amends for his ninth-place finish in the Malcolm Anderson.

"He was in a good stalking position and just didn't fire," Bonde said. "I don't know why."

Though Tiza Royal Cat beat Devons Smokin in their debut, Devons Smokin has run better since and never finished worse than second.