05/30/2013 12:32PM

Golden Gate: Unusual Way gives grass a try in Campanile

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Barbara D. Livingston
Unusual Way, winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filly Sprint Preview, is bred to like the turf.

Unusual Heat, a son of Nureyev, has been California’s leading turf sire for the past nine years, so when you purchase a filly sired by Unusual Heat, the possibility of running her on turf is in the back of your mind, trainer Jeff Bonde said.

Running her on turf for a $100,000 purse against California-breds pushed the thought to the front of Bonde’s mind, and on Saturday he will try Unusual Way on a new surface in the Campanile, a one-mile race for statebred 3-year-old fillies.

Bonde purchased Unusual Way for $65,000 as a yearling at the October 2011 Barretts sale for Rusty Brown and Phil Lebherz, and she has turned into a multiple stakes winner.

“She’s become a fun filly,” Bonde said.

Unusual Way won her debut at Hollywood Park last spring. She later won the Wine Country Debutante at Santa Rosa and then the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Sprint Preview Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Santa Anita. Since then, she has three stakes seconds and a third in the $245,000 Melair at Hollywood on April 27. Three of those four races were for California-breds, including the Melair.

“Thank goodness for the Cal-bred program,” Bonde said. “She’s been respectable in quite a few stakes down south, and now she’ll get to run on the grass.”

Though Bonde targeted the Campanile some time ago, he kept Unusual Way at Hollywood Park.

“We kept her down there because they let them breeze on the grass, which they don’t do up here,” he said. “She’s been over the course galloping around the dogs and seems to like grass.”

Her final prep for the Campanile came on the turf at Hollywood, and she covered five furlongs in 1:01.60.

Though it is her debut on turf, with her gaudy stakes record, breeding (44 of 345 Unusual Heat offspring have won their turf debuts), and the presence of leading jockey Russell Baze, Unusual Way is likely to go off favored.

But she’ll face some experienced turf runners.

Life Is a Stone lost a photo here in her turf debut and then came back to win a $50,000 optional claimer on the grass here.

Warren’s Veneda graduated in the Alphabet Kisses on the synthetic main track at Hollywood Park and came back to score in an optional claimer on turf there while overcoming trouble. Qiaona, who upset Unusual Way in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes in the mud in January, graduated last year in her turf debut.