07/10/2011 6:34PM

Pleasanton: Excessive Passion survives blistering duel to take Sam Whiting Handicap


PLEASANTON, Calif. – Excessive Passion won the drag race down the backstretch, building an insurmountable lead as he won the $63,000 Sam J. Whiting Memorial Handicap at the Alameda County Fair on Sunday.

Excessive Passion ($7.60) and Goggles McCoy both wanted the lead and engaged in a sizzling duel at the start of the six-furlong stakes.

Goggles McCoy, who drew the rail, was one-half length in front through a 21.40-second opening quarter, but Excessive Passion grabbed the lead before the pair reached the turn. Third-place Rooster City was eight lengths behind the speedsters at the opening call.

Excessive Passion didn’t miss a beat as Goggles McCoy began to wilt from the duel. The 4-year-old Excessive Passion , a son of Vronsky, had pulled 1½ lengths in front of his pace rival by the quarter pole with Rooster City still five lengths farther back in third.

Excessive Passion took advantage of his big lead to win the race by 1½ lengths over Rooster City with a 1:09.80 clocking as Rooster City held off Scofield Barracks by a neck for second. Turf router Whatsthescript finished fourth. The tired Goggles McCoy faded to last as he was not asked in the stretch.

Winning rider Frank Alvarado said trainer Jeff Bonde told him “not to let the other horse get off easy.”

“Wasn’t it fun watching the first quarter?” asked Bonde of the Quarter Horse-like start. “They were going ridiculously fast. You just hoped he hadn’t done too much.”

Excessive Passion, who won the Everett Nevin here as a 2-year-old and defeated stablemate Smiling Tiger as a 3-year-old in the Harry Henson on the turf at Hollywood Park, earned $40,500 for his third stakes win. He has earned $143,940 with 4 wins in 7 career starts for Rusty Brown and Smiling Tiger’s owner Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz.

Klein, Lebherz and Bonde also teamed up to win the Alamedan Handicap with Slew the Man on July 4.