Rinaldi leads all the way in Grade 3 Forbidden Apple

Friday, July 16th, 2021

Rinaldi fends off Value Proposition to win Grade 3 Forbidden Apple on Day 2 of the 2021 Saratoga meet. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Jim Bond calls Rinaldi a “one-banjo monkey.” He also calls him “miraculous.”

Both seem apropos and Friday at Saratoga Race Course the latest chapter of the improbable New York-bred gelding went in the book. Rinaldi, near death less than two years ago after suffering an injury after a routine training session, became a graded stakes winner in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple doing it his way on the lead. One might guess just like a one-banjo monkey.

“Amazing horse,” Bond said on the way to saddle a runner in the finale after a two-win day that also include a score with Giacosa in the third, a 1 1/16-mile turf optional.

Rinaldi and Giacoso race for the family’s Bond Racing Stable, which also includes a few partners. Luis Saez rode both winners, along with Absolute Love in the fifth, to give him a meet-leading six two days into the 2021 season at Saratoga.

Rinaldi started his 2021 Saratoga season the same way he’s done the last two. He won a state-bred optional on the grass and the West Point Stakes on Saratoga Showcase Day – both on the lead – during the spectator-free 2020 meet and the Cab Calloway division of the New York Stallion Stakes to start the 2019 season. He earned a trip to the Grade 3 Saranac after the Stallion Stakes and finished fourth, beaten just 1 1/4 lengths in his lone graded stakes start before Friday.

Bond regrouped after that race and started to train Rinaldi for a fall campaign at Belmont Park and Aqueduct. In late September after breezing for the first time after the Saranac, Rinaldi stepped on a nail walking back to Bond’s private barn on Gridley Street from the Oklahoma Training Track. Infection set in and the gelding was sent to Rood and Riddle Saratoga on Henning Road, where a team led by Dr. Kathryn Dern went to work.

“It was miraculous,” Bond said. “He was close to death. We had to flush and flush and flush. He was at the hospital and Dr. Kathryn Dern, she’s in Kentucky now but she was at Rood and Riddle (Saratoga) then. Sweetheart. She saved his life.”

Bond said the process involved “a fusion where they just keep flushing the coffin joint.”

Eventually Rinaldi recovered, left Rood and Riddle and earned the remainder of the year off at Jim and Tina Bond’s Song Hill Thoroughbreds in nearby Mechanicville. Bond gives most of his stable, and especially his turf horses, the winter off and Rinaldi started up late last winter and spring.

“We got him back … (and) had him ready for the beginning of April and then the world shut down,” Bond said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that halted racing in New York for a significant period last spring.

Rinaldi made up for lost time and factored in Bond’s strong Saratoga meet, where the stable won 12 of 40 starts with eight seconds and earned $619,218 in purses. Rinaldi finished the year with a sixth in the Mohawk Stakes on Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park and a close fourth against open company in the Artie Schiller Stakes at Aqueduct.

Bond didn’t run Rinaldi during the Belmont spring-summer meeting, where the stable went 0-for-35, after a second in the Dangers Hour Stakes in early April at Aqueduct. He tried to run Rinaldi in the Kingston Stakes but heavy rain forced it to the main track.

“He’s a good horse, he’s a better two turn horse, I’ve always thought it,” Bond said. “We got rained off on New York-bred day and I just thought, ‘let’s regroup, bring him here and get him ready. See what happens. See if we can get two starts here.’

“Luis, I don’t have to say anything to him. He just puts him where he’s got to be. Hopefully I did my job. The horse is just all heart. He’s a cool horse.”

Rinaldi took Saez to the lead from the break and they carved out easy splits of :24.31 and :48.83 for the first half-mile under light pressure from longshot Made You Look with Value Proposition and Logical Myth just behind. Rinaldi used his speed on the bend to open up on the far turn and led through 6 furlongs in 1:12.70

Saez kept him close to the inside turning for home and they opened up 2 lengths in midstretch on the way to win in 1:35.70 for the mile on the firm inner course. Value Proposition held second, a neck in front of Delaware to give trainer Chad Brown a 2-3 finish.

“We tried to have a good break and control the pace and everything went to plan,” Saez said. “He likes this track. This is like his backyard. When I turned for home, I had a lot of horse. I let him run and he gave me a pretty fast kick. In the end, I had a feeling he was going to get there, and he did.”

Rinaldi improved to 4-for-5 on the grass at Saratoga, each of the wins on the inner turf, and 5-for-11 overall with $429,990 in earnings.

“He loves this course,” Bond said. “And he’s a good miler. He’s a miler. Two turns with a small horse, small and compact, kind of steals away on the turns. You don’t realize it and all of sudden he’s got another length on you. He’s that quick.”

Bred by Barry Ostrager and sold to Bond for $5,000 as a weanling out of the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga October mixed sale, Rinaldi is the ninth foal out of the winning Dynaformer mare Dynamite Cocktail. A Kentucky-bred who raced exclusively at Woodbine, Dynamite Cocktail is also the dam of Canadian champion and $598,028-earner Hollinger, the Bond-trained stakes-placed and $250,000 yearling Hot and Spicy and Aviva’s Pride, whose two foals include stakes winner Lake Sebago.

The Bonds named the gelding for an Italian wine – as they often do – and subsequently learned he has a neighbor with the same last name.

“We named him after a really good wine and then we became really good friends,” Bond said. “Basically we cut them in for 10 percent and the other partner is Craig Allen from All-Star Wines. He’s been a dear friend for a lot of years. He beat stage-four cancer a few years ago, came to me and begged me to buy horses. I said ‘we’ll lose our friendship. I don’t want to lose our friendship.’ It really does, it’s sad but it happens.

“Short story, the horse was like seven days away from racing and I’m like ‘ok, let’s put them in.’ And he had Giacosa today, they’re 10 percent owners in her too. This partnership thing, we’ve put over 70 people into the partnership. It’s so much fun. All these new people that just didn’t experience the game before. Then we had a great Saratoga, which never hurts. Aqueduct was fair. Belmont I thought I was going to die.”

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