12/17/2016 4:43PM

Green Mask outfinishes Latent Revenge in Bonapaw

Lou Hodges Jr.
Green Mask, with Robby Albarado aboard, defeats Latent Revenge and Cisco Torres by a neck in the Bonapaw.

The favored Green Mask, dropping in class from the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, got a perfect trip under Robby Albarado but still needed the length of the stretch to catch pacesetting Latent Revenge in the $75,000 Bonapaw Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Green Mask, sitting on the fence in stalking position, came two wide for the stretch drive and gradually wore down Latent Revenge to win by a neck. Hogy, the only deep closer to make much headway in a race with a moderate-to-slow pace, finished fastest to nip Grand Candy for third.

On paper, there appeared to be several horses capable of leading or pressing, but Latent Revenge, who had won three of his four Fair Grounds turf races, burst out of the gate and quickly gained a clear advantage, setting splits of 22 and 45.67 seconds under Cisco Torres. Latent Revenge had plenty left for the homestretch, but Green Mask simply is a slightly better horse, getting his last furlong-and-a-half in slightly more than 17 seconds to get home in 1:03.10 for 5 1/2 furlongs on a firm course.

Trained by Brad Cox for Abdullah Saeed Almaddah, Green Mask ($4.20) is 5-year-old gelding by Mizzen Mast out of the Forestry mare Bonsai Beauty. Green Mask has kept strong company throughout his career, and was coming off a close fifth in the BC Turf Sprint, but this was just his second win in his last 16 starts and his first stakes win since May 2014. Green Mask finished a fine third two springs ago in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint on the Dubai World Cup undercard, and Cox said earlier this week that race is an objective again next season.

Proforma dominates Sugar Bowl

Proforma, making a strong move off the turn, cruised up to odds-on favorite Running Mate at the quarter pole and ran right past him before the eighth pole, going on to a three-length victory in the $50,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes for 2-year-olds.

Running Mate drifted in during the stretch run, causing Divine Kaleb to steady, and was disqualified to third because of the incident.

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Running Mate had won his debut at Delaware Park in a romp and a first-level Fair Grounds allowance race in similar fashion, but he proved no match Saturday for Proforma. Third in his debut to the talented Louisiana-bred Saint’s Fan, Proforma finished strongly second time out to win a Churchill maiden race, and turned in a performance at least as good Saturday, stalking from the outside before being let loose by jockey Florent Geroux.

“I felt like I was travelling better the whole race. I came to him pretty easy and put him away,” Geroux said.

Proforma paid $7.20 to win and was timed in 1:10.72 for six furlongs on a fast track. Owned by DARRS Inc., he’s a son of Munnings out of the Salt Lake mare Casey’s Irish Pride.

“Our horse is just starting to find his way,” said winning trainer Mike Stidham. “He’s built more like a one-turn horse, but we’ll experiment as we go down the road.”