05/15/2012 3:13PM

York: Bonfire favored in Dante Stakes

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Bonfire, unraced since finishing third in the Group 1 Criterium International in France last year, will be favored to win his 3-year-old debut in Thursday’s Group 2 Dante Stakes at York, England.

Trained by Andrew Balding, Bonfire is considered a leading contender for the English Derby at Epsom Downs on June 2, a position he can solidify in the Dante Stakes, which is run over about 1 1/4 miles and has drawn a field of seven.

As of Tuesday, Bonfire was a 10-1 chance in the English Derby future book. Camelot, the winner of the English 2000 Guineas on May 5, is the even-money favorite.

The Dante Stakes will be Bonfire’s third career start. As of Tuesday, Bonfire was the 2-1 favorite for the Dante. Jimmy Fortune has the mount.

The colt is by Manduro, who is also the sire of another Dante contender in Mandaean, the winner of the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France last fall. Owned by Godolphin Racing, Mandaean will be ridden by Mickael Barzelona for trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni.

Trainer John Gosden starts Fencing, who was sixth in the English 2000 Guineas.

◗ Dalkala, a filly by Giant’s Causeway, remained unbeaten in three starts after winning Tuesday’s Group 3 Prix Cleopatre at Saint-Cloud, France. Dalkla won the Prix Cleopatre over about 1 5/16 miles on turf by four lengths over Poupee Flash, a filly by Elusive Quality.

Dalkala, trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre for the Aga Khan, has won three races, and may start in the English Oaks on June 1.

– Steve Andersen