03/29/2010 11:00PM

Runaway Bandido best on turf, but back on synthetic

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ARCADIA, Calif. - What is the difference between "like" and "love?" For the trainer of Runaway Bandido, it is all in the footing.

Runaway Bandido switches from turf to a synthetic surface Thursday at Santa Anita, where he is the principal starter in the race-7 feature, a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles.

"I wish it was grass, then I'd love him," trainer Rafael Becerra said.

Who wouldn't? After all, Runaway Bandido is sired by Runaway Groom, produced by a Green Dancer mare, and has a good turf race to go with his pedigree.

"He's bred to go on turf," Becerra said.

Runaway Bandido ran the race of his career last out, finishing fifth, less than three lengths behind Make Music for Me and Macias in the $68,000 Pasadena Stakes at one mile on the turf. The race, his first on turf after seven starts on synthetics, could have set up Runaway Bandido for the $100,000 La Puente Stakes, a mile grass race April 10.

"I almost waited for that, but this came up and you hate to pass this kind of race with a Cal-bred," Becerra said.

After discussing options with owner Judi Partridge, Becerra redirected Runaway Bandido to the Thursday allowance, after which he will point for the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes for Cal-bred 3-year-olds on April 24 at Hollywood Park.

"That's the plan," Becerra said, adding that Runaway Bandido "is doing really well, and the distance is perfect."

Runaway Bandido has won 1 of 8 starts, and recently chased the likes of Sidney's Candy, Caracortado, and Alphie's Bet.

"He's been running with good colts," Becerra said.

Thursday, Runaway Bandido and jockey Alonso Quinonez face a modest statebred field that includes stretch-out sprinter Warrens Summergold, debut winner Self Made, maiden-claiming winner Working Capital, and outsiders Just Heat and Green Card James.

Warrens Summergold, trained by Jorge Gutierrez, won his debut Jan. 7 and followed with a win and a second against maiden-40 starter allowance company.

Self Made rallied from last to first in his debut for leading trainer John Sadler and leading rider Rafael Bejarano.

Working Capital was claimed from a maiden-40 win last out by Doug O'Neill.