08/12/2012 1:09PM

Santa Rosa: Unusual Way takes advantage of scratch to win Wine Country Debutante


When Broken Sword, an 11-length winner in the Juan Gonzalez Memorial in her debut, was scratched from Saturday’s $76,300 Wine Country Debutante at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa, it appeared the race would be a wide-open event.

Instead, Unusual Way dominated the event, going wire to wire to win the six-furlong stakes for 2-year-old fillies by 11 lengths over Black Oak and favored Marks Mine, who finished a head apart for second.

Unusual Way drew the outside post 6. Ridden by Omar Figueroa, she had a 1 1/2-length lead through the opening quarter in 22.82 seconds and maintained the margin through a 46.09 half-mile. When Figueroa stepped on the gas heading into the stretch, Unusual Way quickly opened a four-length lead, which she kept increasing until Figueroa eased up at the sixteenth pole. Unusual Way ran the six furlongs in 1:11.58 and paid $6.20 to win.

Unusual Way, an Unusual Heat filly purchased for $65,000 at the Barretts yearling sale last October, won at Betfair Hollywood Park in her first start, but she faded badly in the Cinderella and the Landaluce there.

Trainer Jeff Bonde tried blinkers on the filly in the Landaluce, and she set the early pace despite breaking slowly from the rail. She had nothing left in the lane, and Bonde took the blinkers off Saturday. Unusual Way had shown improved works since the July 14 Landaluce.

Owned by Edward Brown Jr. and Philip Lebhertz, Unusual Way earned $45,050 for her first stakes victory, increasing her lifetime earnings to $85,610.