Updated on 09/16/2011 6:53AM

It's official: Bonapaw will race in Dubai


NEW ORLEANS - After his run in Sunday's Taylor's Special at Fair Grounds, will head for Dubai early next month to run in the $2 million Golden Shaheen on March 23.

Dennis Richard, who co-owns Bonapaw with his twin brother, Jim, feared he had been passed over for an invitation to the race, but was contacted again last week. According to Richard, the shipping company coordinating travel for American horses to Dubai told him Bonapaw had been invited to race.

"It's official," Richard said Friday. "We heard this morning."

Bonapaw, a 6-year-old Sabona horse with more than $624,000 in earnings going into Sunday's race, is the pride of the twin brothers, who own tire stores in the New Orleans area. "We're tickled pink to go," Richard said. "How many times do you have the opportunity to run against the best horses in the world?"

Richard said Bonapaw is scheduled to ship from New Orleans to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where he will depart March 9 for Dubai.

Day gets mount on Bob's Image

Jockey Pat Day has picked up the mount on the Dallas Stewart-trained 3-year-old Bob's Image, who will make his next start in the March 10 Louisiana Derby.

Day replaces Lonnie Meche, who began riding Bob's Image when the gelding came to Fair Grounds this winter and won his maiden by nine lengths and an allowance race by 2 1/2 lengths. Bob's Image set the pace in last Sunday's Risen Star Stakes until deep stretch and finished a strong second to Repent.

"He was 0 for 2 when Lonnie first got on him, so Lonnie did a great job," Stewart said. "It's not to say Lonnie won't ever sit on him again, but when you get a chance for a Hall of Famer, you have to take it."

Day is known for his ability to relax headstrong horses, and Stewart hopes Bob's Image won't go as fast early as he did in the Risen Star, when he set a very fast early pace, running his opening half-mile in about 46 seconds. "We don't think he's a horse that has to be on the lead," Stewart said. "If somebody else wants to go in 46, then we want to sit back off of them."

Day rode Stewart's top 3-year-old last season, Dollar Bill, who was favored in the Louisiana Derby but clipped heels and nearly went down on the far turn. It was the first of three straight tough trips for Dollar Bill, who ran troubled races in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Nasty Storm resumes training

Stewart also reported that 4-year-old filly Nasty Storm had her first breeze of the year Friday morning, working a half-mile in 49.60 seconds. Nasty Storm came on strong in the second half of last year, finishing third in the Grade 1 Test Stakes before winning her last three starts of the season, the last of which was the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Distaff on Nov. 3.

Stewart considered shipping Nasty Storm to California for a start in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes early in the Santa Anita meet, but canceled the trip when Nasty Storm came up with a foot bruise. "We didn't push on her," Stewart said.

Stewart basically ruled out a start in the Victoria Lass here next month, saying he doubted Nasty Storm would be ready to run at this meet. Instead, Nasty Storm will tentatively point for the $100,000 Madison Stakes on April 10.

Amoss draws even

After falling off the pace by several wins earlier in the month, Tom Amoss caught Steve Asmussen in the race for leading trainer here with three wins on Thursday's card. Going into Friday's card, both Amoss and Asmussen had 47 wins, Amoss with 124 starters and Asmussen with 228 starters. The two tied for leading trainer here last season.

Amoss won with favorites Continental Lady in a Louisiana-bred maiden turf race and Dyna Penny in a first-level turf allowance, and with Run For Little Bit, who won the featured ninth race.

"It's been a fantastic meet so far, but we've got plenty of races to go," Amoss said. "[Asmussen] can hang up three wins in a day at any time."

Run For Little Bit ran her career record to 4 for 4 winning in a fourth-level allowance race, though she was eligible for a third-level allowance. Aloha Bold, who won twice at this meet, also started his career with four straight wins for Amoss. Run For Little Bit, who's owned by Nelson Bunker Hunt, scored by a neck and a head in her two previous wins at the meet, but won by

1 1/2 lengths Thursday.

"I was really excited about her race," said Amoss, who will point Run For Little Bit to the March 16 Victoria Lass Handicap here.