04/23/2004 11:00PM

Sonic West wins Bosselman/Gus Fonner

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Grand Island, Neb. - Sonic West responded with a strong late run over the muddy going to hold off defending champion Dusty Spike and register a 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Bosselman/Gus Fonner Stakes.

Ridden by Willie Martinez, Sonic West and Dusty Spike settled in back of the 9-horse field early. Sonic West saved ground racing just off the rail of the mile and a sixteenth test, worked his way through traffic on the far turn and outgamed Dusty Spike and pacesetting Tonight Rainbow through the lane to be slowly edging clear.

Tonight Rainbow, allowed to race without blinkers because of the wet surface, was on the pace and found himself with a clear lead going to the far turn. Tonight Rainbow's rider, Curtis Kimes, had the whip knocked from his hand turning for home as Sonic West and Dusty Spike both challenged from the outside.

Sonic West covered the distance in 1:46.80 while returning $3.60 as the 4-5 favorite. He had previously captured the grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park and was a good fourth to Peace Rules in the grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap. Trainer Tom Van Berg returned to his native state to run a horse for the first time since the closing of Ak-Sar-Ben in 1995.

Defending champion Dusty Spike settled for second in the Bosselman, a neck in front of Tonight Rainbow. It was another 7 lengths back to Colorful Tour, the 5-2 second choice.

Sonic West moves his career mark to 7-3-1 from 15 starts and earnings of $366,640 for owners Stone Spire LLC.