07/02/2012 4:29PM

Pleasanton: Excessive Passion defends title in Sam J. Whiting


Defending champ Excessive Passion will be looking for his first 2012 victory in Wednesday’s $75,000 Sam J. Whiting Handicap at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif.

The Jeff Bonde-trained Excessive Passion has run locally twice, winning the Everett Nevin Alameda County Futurity in 2009 and the Whiting last year.

Excessive Passion has started twice this year. He faded to seventh in the May 5 Cool Frenchy at Betfair Hollywood Park in his first start since suffering a narrow defeat to course specialist California Flag in the Grade 3 Morvich at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf at Santa Anita last Oct. 10. He held on better in his second start, running fourth in a June 9 five-furlong turf sprint at Golden Gate Fields, while finishing behind two of his Whiting rivals, Bailouttheminister and Sanger Silver.

Bonde said he has been pointing Excessive Passion to this race since bringing the 5-year-old to the races this year.

Bailouttheminister has four straight Beyers in the 90s. He won two straight main-track sprints at Golden Gate Fields before running second in the June 9 turf sprint.

Sanger Silver was third in that turf race but did win his 2012 debut in an optional $62,500 claimer at six furlongs.

Live Sundays missed by a half-length to Shudacudawudya in the Jan. 28 Albany after setting the pace. Trainer Victor Trujillo planned to run him in Sunday’s 1 1/16-mile Alamedan Handicap but the horse missed some time with a minor foot problem.

“He’s versatile, and he’s done well sprinting,” said Trujillo. “He just missed a little time. I have no doubts he’s all right for this. This is a pretty tough race. I probably would have run in the Alamedan if he hadn’t missed the time.”

Shudacudawudya, who was eased in the June 9 Golden Gate turf race, is the race’s 120-pound highweight, spotting at least three pounds to all his rivals. Owner Brett Mason credited jockey Francisco Duran for his caution in pulling up Shudacudawudya when he had trouble with his footing on the turn in the June 9 race.

Shudacudawudya is arguably Northern California’s top sprinter and has a career record of 6 wins and 4 seconds in 10 starts at the distance.

Ain’t No Other, who won last year’s Livermore Valley Wine Stakes here, and Solar Rocket both come north for the race.