It took a while to determine, but by the barest of noses, Bonded capped off the 38th Jim McKay Maryland Million with a victory in the 12th race on the card, the Maryland Million Turf Starter Handicap at Laurel Park on Oct. 14.
The 3-year-old gelded son of Blofeld went off at 9-1 in the 14-horse field, coming in off a fifth-place finish in a starter-optional claiming race at Pimlico on Sept. 8. He had previously won a conditioned claiming race on the Laurel turf course on July 29.
Under new rider Forest Boyce, Bonded was wrangled back in the early stages, while Imagine It All (Imagining) cleared to the front from his outside post 14 and set the early tempo. The first quarter was run in :23.78; the opening half-mile in :47.96. Bonded was fourth, rated a few lengths off the leader in the two-path.
As they rounded the far turn, Imagine It All maintained a slight advantage over longshot stalker Seville Row, while Bonded was third and being worked on by Boyce. Imagine It All continued to hold on to the lead as they passed the eighth pole while Bonded was moving into the three-path and closing ground. The two battled in the last sixteenth, with Bonded putting his head in front in the final few strides, but a lucky head bob by Imagine It All made it a photo finish. It took more than five minutes to determine a winner, and eventually the placing judges confirmed Bonded held on for the victory. He covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:42.68 over a turf course that stayed firm all day. Boffo Kid (Friesan Fire) rallied late and got third.
Bonded has now won five of 16 career starts for earnings of $132,843. Four of his wins have come this year, and he's bankrolled $104,053 in those 10 starts. Owner J R Sanchez Racing Stable and trainer Rudy Sanchez-Solomon claimed Bonded out of his 11th career start in April for $20,000.
Bonded raced for his breeder Murmur Farm, and trainer Linda Albert, until claimed this past February at Laurel for $12,500 by Kieron Magee. Murmur Farm stands Blofeld, and Murmur Farm owners Audrey and her late husband Allen Murray also bred Bonded's dam Missy Kim, a winning daughter of late Murmur Farm stallion Louis Quatorze.
From four foals of racing age, Missy Kim has produced four starters, including additional winner Royal Spy, a full brother to Bonded. The mare had a Blofeld colt this past March and was returned to Blofeld for 2024. The family includes Missy Kim’s full-sister Miss Nosy, winner of the 2017 Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap.