08/14/2010 2:18PM

Bonifacio could be sign of things to come for Dollase


DEL MAR, Calif. – The upset win by Bonifacio in Friday’s $83,025 Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar may be the start of a remarkable stretch for trainer Craig Dollase through the end of August.

Wednesday, Dollase runs My Summer Slew in the $75,000 Green Flash Handicap over five furlongs on turf. On Aug. 28, Awesome Gem, the top horse in his stable, will start as a leading contender in the $1 million Pacific Classic.

Winning with Bonifacio was a pleasant surprise for Dollase who said the 4-year-old filly had an excuse for a last-place finish in a field of five in the Culver City Stakes over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park on July 2, having displaced her soft palate which caused breathing problems.

“We fixed that and what a difference that makes,” Dollase said.

Bonifacio ($42) closed from last in a field of seven to win the Daisycutter, a victory that pleasantly surprised jockey Alonso Quinonez, who was not sure he had won. “I thought I was a little bit in front” at the wire, he said.

Bonifacio won the Daisycutter by a nose, taking the lead at the last second.

Owned by Bruce Chandler and Decourcy Graham Jr., Bonifacio was timed in 56.03 seconds. Pasar Silbano finished second, a neck in front of Dotsy Jean. Quinonez said he had no option but to go wide when he reached the turn in last-place.

“She’s got a big turn of foot,” Quinonez said. “I knew I’d have to go wide, but I had no choice. I thought it was best. She tried so hard.”

Bonifacio, who is by Even the Score, has won 4 of 7 starts and $129,874. The filly began her career in an $80,000 claimer for maidens in June 2009 but has not raced for a claiming price since.

Bonifacio is a half-sister to Kantharos, who starts as a leading contender in Monday’s Grade 2 Saratoga Special for 2-year-olds.

My Summer Slew faces a tough field in the Green Flash, which is expected to include California Flag, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last November, and Cost of Freedom, a multiple stakes winner in sprints on the main track who is making his turf debut.

Awesome Gem won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup last month, the most prestigious victory of his 36-race career. The 7-year-old gelding will prepare for the Pacific Classic a bit differently in the next two weeks. Dollase said that Awesome Gem was scheduled to work on turf on Sunday and then have another workout on the synthetic main track about a week before the Pacific Classic.

“I want to get him off the synthetic for one work,” Dollase said. “My horses are running lights out on the turf. I’ll give him a major prep [work] on the turf.”

Two shippers expected for Pacific Classic

Awesome Gem will face a large field in the Pacific Classic, including at least two likely shippers from the East Coast – Hold Me Back and Coolcullen Times.

Hold Me Back won the Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine on July 1 and is based at Belmont Park with trainer Bill Mott. Coolcullen Times was third in the John’s Call Stakes over 1 5/8 miles at Saratoga on Aug. 6 for trainer Graham Motion, and won twice on a synthetic surface in Ireland.

The other probable starters include Crowded House, Dakota Phone, Enriched, Isle of Giant’s, Richard’s Kid, Temple City, The Usual Q.T., and Unusual Suspect.