10/30/2010 8:06PM

He's Bonafide proves last year's Bucks Boy upset was no fluke

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Doug Clark/Fourfootedfotos
He's Bonafide, on the outside, wears down 4-5 favorite St. Maximum Gato by a neck to win the Bucks Boy for the second straight year.

He’s Bonafide upset the Bucks Boy Handicap for the second year in a row, while River Bear continued a longstanding trend of showing up for the big money, winning the Lightning Jet Handicap under a crafty ride. Those are old hands to Illinois-bred stakes racing, but the younger generation also showed promise Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course.

Two-year-old gelding Luck With a Kiss drew away from a solid-seeming group in Sun Power Stakes, while 2-year-old filly Third Chance was equally impressive easily winning the Showtime Deb. And in the Illini Princess for females three years old and up, it was one of the 3-year-olds, Dundalk Dust, comfortably capturing her dirt debut.

He’s Bonafide was 12-1 when he won the 2009 Bucks Boy for trainer Hugh Robertson. Trainer Larry Rivelli and owner Richard Ravin claimed the 4-year-old gelding for $40,000 on Aug. 6, and three starts later watched He’s Bonafide ($22.20) turn in his strongest performance since last year’s Bucks Boy. Getting the same outside-pressing trip that led to a blowout in the 2009 race, He’s Bonafide needed most of the stretch to wear down 4-5 favorite St. Maximus Gato by a neck. Color Me Blue rallied strongly from last to finish third. The winner was timed in 1:45.47 for 1 1/16 miles on dirt.

A race earlier, in the Lightning Jet, it had been River Bear running back to his narrow victory last spring in the Robert S. Molaro, another Hawthorne sprint stakes. Stuck behind horses turning for home, jockey Danush Sukie steered his mount inside before the three-sixteenths pole, straightening River Bear to go past tiring inside speed Royal Express. One final left turn and Sukie had found room on the rail, with River Bear scampering through to catch Mighty Rule and Last Wompus. Trained by Rusty Hellman for Dana Waier Thoroughbreds, River Bear paid $19.40 to win, getting six furlongs in 1:10.15.

That older-horse clocking in the Lightning Jet set the bar for the 2-year-olds in six-furlong stakes earlier on the card. Both cleared it. Third Chance ($2.60) was 6 3/4 lengths better than Joyce Marie while stopping the timer in 1:10.64 in the Showtime Deb. Jim DiVito trains Third Chance for owners Ron Magers and Bob Marcocchio.

Owned by Earl Trostrud Jr. and Greco Racing, the Mike Reavis-trained Luck With a Kiss did not look quite so smooth as Third Chance, but ran marginally faster than the filly, clocking 1:10.61 while beating favored Uncle Wayne by more than four lengths in the Sun Power. Uncle Wayne was almost four lengths clear of third, but might not have run to his synthetic-track form.

Dundalk Dust, on the other hand, may well have surpassed the best she had shown in five previous starts on turf or Polytrack. Without much pace to chase, Dundalk Dusk out-kicked pace-pressing favorite Souper Miss to win the Illini Princess by 2 3/4 lengths. Dundalk Dust, owned by Dundalk 5 LLC, is trained by Chris Block. She paid $12.80, and was timed in 1:45.47 for 1 1/16 miles.

Finally, Kathleen L ($13.20) won her first stakes race in the 25th start of her career, taking the Powerless Handicap by two lengths over favored Ripe Tomato.