11/12/2002 1:00AM

Intriguing prospect for Bonde


ALBANY, Calif. - There are few things as exciting in racing as a brilliant performance by a 2-year-old. There is the thrill of seeing it, as well as the fun of speculating about what the future may hold.

Golden Gate Fields was the scene of one of those performances on Saturday, when D's Bertrando won his second career start by 13 lengths and was given a 105 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest this year by a 2-year-old.

In his debut he broke slowly, raced greenly, and found traffic trouble down the backstretch. On Saturday, D's Bertrando broke alertly, set the pace, and pulled away to win.

When a 2-year-old runs nearly a full second faster than older stakes horses at the same distance on the same day, it's another positive. D's Bertrando ran six furlongs in 1:08.49, while Halo Cat won Saturday's Albany Handicap in 1:09.42.

Jockey Russell Baze said, "He'll go faster, too, but maybe not much faster."

Trainer Jeff Bonde said Saturday's time could have been even faster. "He propped at the quarter pole looking for company," Bonde said.

And the way D's Bertrando ran was even more impressive than the clocking itself.

"He justified everything we thought [Saturday]," Bonde said. "I was totally amazed the day he got beat at Bay Meadows. I thought he could win even though he got left, but then he got into trouble down the backstretch."

D's Bertrando did little running until he hit the lane that day and seemed to realize what racing was all about. He unleashed a strong stretch run to finish second.

Bonde has enjoyed a lot of success with young horses but says that D's Bertrando is "the best prospect I've had in many, many years.

"The farther [the distance] the better with him," Bonde said. "He's a May foal so he'll get better."

Baze, too, believes the colt will go farther, and he plans to be along for the ride.

Earlier this year, Bonde unveiled another nice 2-year-old when Mr. Technique made his debut at Vallejo. When Mr. Technique was entered in a stakes in his second start, Baze rode another colt and watched Mr. Technique roar away to a win.

"I won't be taking off this one," Baze said.

* Jockey Jason Lumpkins scored one victory Monday in his final day of riding in northern California. He is moving to Campbellsburg, Kentucky, where he has purchased a 165-acre farm. He will ride at Churchill Downs and Turfway Park.

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