The smart bettors are beginning to take notice whenever trainer Randy Bradshaw enters a horse at Fairplex Park.
When Oncefortheroad won a stretch duel for a head victory over Fandarel Dancer in the $50,000 Gateway To Glory Stakes in the 12th race Thursday, it was Bradshaw’s fourth victory in six races.
His other starters have finished second and fourth.
“The fourth place was this horse,” Bradshaw said of Oncefortheroad, who ran fourth in the Beau Brummel. “He stumbled at the start of that race and it cost him.”
There was no such bad luck Thursday in the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds. Only five horses went to the post after Ichor was a late scratch, and there was plenty of speed in the race to set it up for the late-running Oncefortheroad.
“This horse is bred to run long and also to run on the turf,” Brummel said. “It helped that this race was around two turns.”
As expected, David Flores sent Mr. Progressive to the lead and Fandarel Dancer, ridden by Fernando Valenzuela, went out with him.
By the time they reached the half-mile pole, California Chill, under Martin Pedroza, had moved into second.
Oncefortheroad made his move from last to third going around the far turn, moved into second at the top of the stretch and engaged Fandarel Dancer in a stirring stretch drive before getting up in the final strides.
Danny Sorenson, who had the winning ride, said the horse responded just the way Bradshaw told him he would.
“I told him not to worry about switching leads, he would do it himself,” Sorenson said. “There was plenty of speed up front and Danny couldn’t have rode him any better.”
Oncefortheroad’s next start may come in the California Cup Juvenile at Oak Tree on Oct. 29.
Flying Sensation, whose last workout was 1:02 breezing, is the 6-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $100,000 Pomona Derby. The son of Flying Paster, with David Flores aboard, will carry 114 pounds and spot eight pounds to Warning Label, the second choice at 5-2. The field in order: Marinatedartichoke, no rider, 113, 30-1; Bird County, Paul Atkinson, 114, 12-1; Attleboro, Fernando Valenzuela, 117, 5-1; Warning Label, Antonio Castanon, 112, 5-2; Flying Sensation, Flores, 114, 6-5; Silcannier, G.F. Almeida, 114, 12-1; Down D Islands, Danny Sorenson, 114, 20-1; Set On Cruise, Martin Pedroza, 114, 8-1.
John Atherton was flipped off his mount, Undilay, before the sixth race and was treated for pain in his left foot. He sat out the rest of the day. . . . Flores, on the way to his sixth consecutive Fairplex riding title, had mounts on all 11 thoroughbred races Thursday but took off on the last because his right hip was bothering him. Seven of his mounts were the morning-line favorite. He had two winners to give him 36 for the meeting and needs 12 more in the last four days to equal his meet record of 48 victories. . . . The $750,000 Super Derby from Louisiana Downs, which includes trainer Dick Mandella’s Soul Of The Matter, will be simulcast at Fairplex Park Saturday. The scheduled post time is 1:12 p.m. and the first live race will be run at 1:40 p.m. . . . The first victory dead heat of the meeting happened in the fourth race Wednesday when Ursa’s Illusion, ridden by Almeida, caught Gordy’s Dancer and Flores at the wire. Each horse paid $2.40 to win.