07/05/2012 1:03PM

Pleasanton: First-timer Broken Sword looks dangerous in Juan Gonzalez Memorial


Saturday’s $50,000-added Juan Gonzalez Memorial for 2-year-old fillies at the Alameda County Fair may have come up tougher than it looks.

The field of seven has three first-time starters in it, yet they could be the ones to beat in the 5 1/2-furlong race on Pleasanton’s dirt track.

Topping the list is Broken Sword, a Jerry Hollendorfer trainee who brings three straight bullet works into the race, including a 59.20 five-furlong drill Wednesday. Island Frolic and Honest Desire are also preparing for their racing debuts.

It’s still early enough in the year that first-timers are not always at a big disadvantage against rivals with a race under their belts. Northern California’s only 2-year-old stakes to date, the Lost in the Fog at Golden Gate Fields, was won by a first-timer.

Trainer Jeff Bonde entered the first-time starter Island Frolic as well as Cinderella Brite, who has run once.

Bonde described Island Frolic as “quick.”

“She’s got speed,” said Bonde of Island Frolic, a Concorde’s Tune filly he owns with Michael Rovner. Bonde said he tried to enter her in a maiden race, but it didn’t fill, so he decided to run her in the stakes.

Cinderella Brite rallied for third in a race that saw the first two finishers pull away late. Cinderella Brite had traffic trouble soon after the break in that race, and Bonde believes she’ll run better on Saturday.

Broken Sword was a $20,000 September Keeneland yearling purchase by Hollendorfer, Mark DeDomenico, and George Todaro. She’s by a good win-early sire in Broken Vow and out of a New Zealand-bred mare who was a stakes winner and graded-stakes placed in her native country.

“She’s coming along well and is good mentally,” said Russell Baze, who will ride Broken Sword in the Juan Gonzalez.

Baze has worked Broken Sword several times and said he was impressed. All of Broken Sword’s works have come at Pleasanton.

Baze said she worked easily in her 59.20 drill Wednesday and that returning to race in three days should not be a problem.

“I’m confident she’ll handle it,” he said.

The Ed Moger Jr. trainee Honest Desire, the other first-timer, drew the outside post. She doesn’t have particularly flashy works, but her rider, Francisco Duran, is confident she’ll do well.

“She learns really fast and seems to handle everything we’ve asked her,” Duran said.

Shesatopattraction beat $12,500 maidens here by nine lengths under Baze on June 29. She pulled away in the lane after dueling for the lead through fairly slow fractions.

The maiden winners Egyptian Femme and Set’n On Ready round out the field.