12/22/2012 6:35PM

Fair Grounds: Good's audible results in $74 win by China in Bonapaw

Lou Hodges Jr.
China holds off Icon Ike to spring a $74 upset in the Bonapaw Stakes.

The trainer John Good brought the decent 5-year-old horse China to Fair Grounds with the thought of racing him in the several dirt-sprint stakes at the meet, but when China finished a distant sixth in the Thanksgiving Handicap, Good wasn’t sure what to do. China worked back a couple times after that race, and nothing seemed to be amiss, so Good stuck him in the Bonapaw Stakes.

“This race itself was kind of an audible,” said Good.

The Bonapaw was on turf, and China had finished off the board in his only previous grass try, but he ran a game race Saturday, breaking like a rocket and making the early lead, fighting off several pace challengers, and holding off a late charge from Icon Ike to win the Bonapaw by a neck.

“I know how quick this horse is, and he always digs in at the end,” Good said.

China, with John Jacinto up, set splits of 22.14 seconds for his opening quarter-mile and 46.04 for his first half. Hollywood Hit came up to challenge in the first quarter-mile before backing off, and Cash Refund made a major push for the lead going into the turn. Cash Refund actually led coming off the turn and into the stretch, but China shrugged off his challenge and continued resolutely along the inside. He stopped the timer in 1:04.76 for 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf, and paid $74.20 to win. China, a 5-year-old son of Tale of the Cat, is owned by Black Sheep Racing.

Icon Ike was a distant last going into the turn but ran on steadily to finish second. Global Power, turning back from routes, went evenly for third, while Chamberlain Bridge, the 2011 Bonapaw winner, turned in a flat performance by his lofty standards, rallying mildly for fourth.