09/28/2013 7:59PM

FrontRunner Stakes: Bond Holder wins maiden in Grade 1 race

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Benoit & Associates
Bond Holder, with Mario Gutierrez aboard, wins the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Paul Reddam works in the financial world, where he’s familiar with weighing risks and rewards. He decided the risk of running a maiden in the $250,000 FrontRunner Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita was worth it, and he was rewarded with a Grade 1 win.

Bond Holder ($23.80), winless in four prior tries, captured a race that offers a fees-paid berth to the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile through the Win and You’re In program. He ran down 2-1 favorite Dance With Fate in the final furlong and drew away to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Tamarando finished third, two lengths behind Dance With Fate.

Can the Man was fourth and was followed by Flat Gone, Test Ride, Better Bet, Ontology, Even Echo, and Roundupthelute.

Schoolofhardrocks was scratched Saturday morning because he was “a little off behind,” according to his trainer, David Hofmans.

“We scratched to be cautious,” Hofmans said. “We’re going to do some diagnostic work on him in the next couple of days.”

Hofmans said he could not pinpoint what was ailing Schoolofhardrocks, hence the need for tests.

“It’s too bad because we were looking forward to running,” Hofmans said.

Tamarando, Dance With Fate, and Can the Man were the first three across the line in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity earlier this month. But Bond Holder had been two turns, and that experience proved beneficial over a laboring track Saturday. He needed 1:45.02 to complete 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track.

“We thought having four starts and going two turns was a helpful foundation for a race like this,” Reddam said in the winner’s circle. “We thought going a mile a sixteenth would help. We take a lot of shots. We miss a lot, but sometimes we get lucky.”

Bond Holder reunites the team that won the 2012 Kentucky Derby with I’ll Have Another – Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill, and jockey Mario Gutierrez.

Gutierrez had Bond Holder in eighth place through the first half-mile, which was run in a quick 46.62 seconds. He began a steady advance on the far turn to creep up to sixth, moved to third at midstretch while rallying down the center of the course, and went on with it.

The FrontRunner was the first race for Bond Holder on dirt. He ran once sprinting on Cushion Track at Betfair Hollywood Park in July, then ran three times on Polytrack at Del Mar. In his only prior start around two turns, he was second going a mile in a maiden race won by New Year’s Day, who was forced to bypass the FrontRunner when he took ill earlier in the week.