Updated on 09/18/2011 1:03AM

Bonfante wins return in Cal Turf

Vassar Photo
Bonfante wins the $100,000 California Turf Sprint Championship on Saturday at Bay Meadows.

Bonfante ($5.40), making his first start since running second in this race last September, made a big move on the turn and pulled away for a victory in the $100,000 on Saturday at Bay Meadows.

Bonfante was third down the backstretch of the five-furlong turf race, as even-money favorite Greenie and Whatsthenameman dueled for the lead. Kept in the clear by jockey Russell Baze, Bonfante swept past the leaders on the turn and was three lengths in front as the field of seven straightened for home. Although he tired a bit late, Bonfante defeated Old Man River by 2 1/4 lengths, winning in 57.04 seconds.

"He just seems to accelerate on the turn," said winning trainer Steve Specht. "I told Russell I wanted him sitting third or fourth, about two or three lengths behind the leader."

"He switched leads on the turn and jumped through the bridle," said Baze. "He got a little tired inside the sixteenth pole, but the game was over at that point."

Bonfante was given time off last fall. He earned $55,000 for his seventh career win in 16 starts and has now earned $286,682.