07/05/2009 11:00PM

Sierra Sunset sparkles in Alamedan


PLEASANTON, Calif. - Sierra Sunset ($4.60) capped off a big week for trainer Jeff Bonde with an easy five-length victory in the $57,000 Alamedan Handicap at the Alameda County Fair on Sunday.

Making his second start since undergoing ankle surgery following a victory in last year's Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn Park, Sierra Sunset established control of the race immediately and was never headed. He never gave odds-on favorite Bold Chieftain a chance, opening a five-length lead on the turn, which he maintained to the wire in the 1 1/16-mile race. The winning time was 1:41.24.

"He just outbroke the field," said winning rider William Antongeorgi III. "I knew Bold Chieftain would be coming, so I opened up on the turn as he started to move and broke his heart."

Bonde, who won seven of the eight races he entered during the week, was confident going into the race.

"I knew he was dead-fit ready to run," Bonde said. "He'd been training two miles a day. With a half-mile left, I knew it was over. He was still reaching out and grabbing the track, and [Bold Chieftain] seemed to be having trouble with it."

Sierra Sunset's fifth career victory and fourth stakes win was worth $31,000, lifting his total to $459,696 with 5 wins, 3 seconds, and a third in 13 starts for owners Philip Lebherz, Al Mariani, and George Schmitt.