04/29/2003 12:00AM

Rare turf start for Bonapaw


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Bonapaw, second in the Grade 3 Texas Mile Saturday, won his only start on turf, back in February 1999. He will return to that surface for his next start, which will come June 15 in the $150,000 Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup at Arlington Park.

The race will be run at a mile, the same distance at which Bonapaw won a turf allowance as a 3-year-old at Fair Grounds.

Last summer, Bonapaw won two of three starts at Arlington, but on dirt. He won the Grade 3, $100,000 Hanshin at a mile in July and the $100,000 Arlington Sprint Handicap in August.

"He did well up there last year," said Norman Miller, who trains Bonapaw for Dennis Richard. "He likes the atmosphere and the weather there."

The 7-year-old Bonapaw may return to Lone Star for the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial at a mile on July 13, Miller said. Bonapaw will be based this year at Folsom Training Center, which is located just north of New Orleans.

Bonapaw surprised many in the Texas Mile when he abandoned his pacesetting ways and raced in third early behind modest fractions. He may or may not employ off-the-pace tactics again in the Sea O'Erin.

"We have to look at who we're running against, and evaluate the race," said Miller. "It just depends on how the race will set up for us.

"About the last year and a half, we've been training him with rating in mind. His routine in the morning is based on getting him to relax and rate. And as he has gotten older, he's mellowing out a little bit.

"We don't want to have just one dimension, with everybody keying in on us to beat us on the front end. We're very happy with the way he's been going."

Gerard Melancon, who was reunited with Bonapaw for the Texas Mile, has the return call in the Sea O'Erin. Last year, Melancon won the Grade 1 Vosburgh aboard Bonapaw.

Five straight for Watchem Smokey?

Watchem Smokey, who has won all four of his career starts, will try to remain perfect Thursday night in a $60,000 optional claimer for 3-year-olds.

The six-furlong race has drawn 10, including Broadway Buzz, who has won 3 of 6 career starts, the stakes-placed Slam Bam, and Premier Rocket.

Watchem Smokey, who races close to the pace, stepped into the allowance ranks for the first time last out and won a six-furlong race at Oaklawn in a sharp 1:10. Since that March 22 effort, he has worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.80 seconds at Louisiana Downs.

Don Simington, who rode Watchem Smokey for the first two starts of his career, reunites with the Alphabet Soup colt Thursday for owner-trainer Cecil Borel.

Fast fillies eye sprint stakes

Miss Bridget Jones and Dazed, two quick fillies who won recent allowance races at Lone Star, are being pointed to upcoming stakes.

Miss Bridget Jones is being pointed to the $150,000 Stonerside for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs May 24. She wired allowance rivals by 6 1/4 lengths in her last start. She is one of two fillies trainer Cole Norman has for the Stonerside.

The other is Fabulous Brush, a closer who was second in a recent allowance. Last year, she won the $100,000 Bassinet at River Downs by five lengths.

The Danny Pish-trained Dazed, a 4-year-old who remained undefeated in three starts when she won a two-other-than allowance for statebreds last Thursday, will make her next start in the $50,000 JEH Stallion Station Stakes. The 6 1/2-furlong race for statebred fillies and mares will be run May 17.