Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, June 9, 2022


A full field of 10, which includes a pair of supplemental entrants, is signed on to compete in the final stakes race of the Winter/Spring meet: the $50,000 Albany Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward at five furlongs on turf this Saturday.

We start with the defending champion Give Me the Lute, who won off a 7-month layoff in last year’s Albany. That day, he went to the lead, set fast fractions, and rolled home to a three-quarter length victory over 4-time stakes winner Brandothebartender. Give Me the Lute sports six workouts leading up 6-year-old debut, including a pair of fast drills in the past two weeks.

Give Me the Lute drew the outside post in the field of 10. The race has attracted some very quick front runners, like himself. Trainer Andy Mathis says, at this point, the only thing he hopes is that Give Me the Lute runs his best.

“His last workout [4 furlongs in 47.60 seconds] was exceptional,” said Mathis. “I’m not going to overthink and instruct [jockey Irving] Orozco too much. He knows this horse. In racing, you never know how things are going go. Sometimes you have a Plan A, you break bad, and you need to go to Plan B. This is a very fast horse. He’s gone 20 and 43 and change before and kept going. If he runs his best race, I’ll be happy.”

Mathis also saddles Perfectionistic, who was well beaten in his last start routing on turf. Mathis remains optimistic he can perform much better cutting back in distance.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted in his last start, but if you watch the race, you’ll see he has a really nice way of going over the turf,” said Mathis. “I just really liked the way he was traveling over the turf that day. He’ll be coming from off the pace. If the pace is really fast, then it wouldn’t surprise me if he came with a big run especially if the front runners start to get a little tired late in the game.”

Mathis may know the Albany Stakes trophy like the back of his hand. Mathis has won the last three runnings, scoring wins in 2019 and 2020 with Mikes Tiznow. In the 2020 edition, Mikes Tiznow was coming off a year layoff, having last been seen winning the 2019 Albany.

“We’re going for four,” said Mathis. “I’m pleased with how both my horses are doing.”

Then we have trainer Sammy Calvario, eagerly awaiting to run two stable stars back on turf. The first is Ultimate Bango, who was claimed by owner Mary Tucker and Calvario on April 1 for $32,000 at Santa Anita. He wheeled back almost a month later in the Lost in the Fog Stakes and won the race at odds of 22-1.

“When I claimed him, I really liked that he had run two really good races on the Tapeta in the past,” said Calvario. “He had run well at Golden Gate before. I was 75% sure he could win [the Lost in the Fog] and he ran great. He came out of the race good and he’s been doing well. I like him a lot in this race. I like him even a little more in this race than the last one, actually.”

Calvario also starts Psycho Dar, another acquisition by Tucker and Calvario out of a $25,000 claiming race in December at Santa Anita. After the claim, Psycho Dar won a pair of first level allowance races at Golden Gate decisively, came up a length short in the El Dorado Shooter Stakes, and failed to fire in a specialized starter allowance at Santa Anita in his most recent start on March 11. He freshens up two months and gets back to turf, a surface he was won over three times over.

“He has done really well for us,” said Calvario. “We claimed him for the same reason we claimed Ultimate Bango. He had run well up here before for another trainer. In his last start at Santa Anita, he came out of the race with a foot abscess. We had to give him a little time. He’s doing well now. He will be close to the pace.”

A mare defeating the boys? There are two possibilities where that could happen. The likely lower-odds racer of the two is the Felix Rondan trained Carolina Mia. Carolina Mia exits an open allowance race sprinting five furlongs on grass in which she defeated Day Plan, a next-out winner last Sunday against open allowance rivals on Tapeta. Carolina Mia’s lone loss in four races at the five-furlong distance on turf came in the Camilla Urso Stakes, a race in which she finished behind the three fastest filly and mare sprinters in Northern California: Sadie Bluegrass, Rebalation, and Dynasty of Her Own.

5-year-old mare Away From the Sun makes her 5-year-old debut for owner/trainer Blaine Wright.  She was not nominated to the race originally and has been supplemented by Wright for $100. Away From the Sun won three consecutive races to kick off her career before running third as a heavy favorite in her first career loss in May of last year. She hasn’t been seen in 13 months but posts a quintet of five-furlong drills for this race.

Another supplemental entrant is War Games, trained by 90-year-old veteran Cliff DeLima. DeLima. War Games has been an admirable racer in the Bay Area, with hard-trying efforts time and time again. Two weeks ago, he was dueled into submission in the one mile All American Stakes after setting wicked fast fractions of 22.35 and 45.60. He cuts back from a route to a sprint and makes his first career start on turf. Six of seven lifetime wins by War Games have come at one turn.

10 Golden Gate races on Saturday kick off at 1:15 PM. Fans on track can watch and wager on other racetracks across the country like Belmont Park, which has 9 stakes races on Saturday including the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade I Belmont Stakes at one mile and a half. Gates open at 9 AM on Saturday for simulcast wagering.

Race 8: $50,000 Albany Stakes (for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf)

#1 I’mgonnabesomebody (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…Trainer Bill McLean…morning line 20-1)

#2 War Games (Francisco Duran…Cliff DeLima…5-1)

#3 Big Duke (Alejandro Gomez…Sergio Ledezma…30-1)

#4 Ultimate Bango (Pedro Terrero…Sammy Calvario…7-2)

#5 Carolina Mia (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…8-1)

#6 Hey Mate (Evin Roman…Bill McLean…12-1)

#7 Perfectionistic (Frank Alvarado…Andy Mathis…10-1)

#8 Away From the Sun (Daniel Vergara…Blaine Wright…15-1)

#9 Psycho Dar (Armando Ayuso…Sammy Calvario…6-1)

#10 Give Me the Lute (Irving Orozco…Andy Mathis…2-1)


The 75-day Winter/Spring meet at Golden Gate concludes this Sunday, June 12. With that, mandatory payouts will be in play throughout the afternoon.

Races 5-10 comprise the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager, a 20-cent minimum bet. Friday’s carryover amount in the Pick 6 jackpot pool sits a $19,560. If there fails to be a Pick Six jackpot winner on Friday and Saturday, the carryover amount will be larger by mandatory payout Sunday. Track officials expect a half-million-dollar pool in the Pick Six.

Both Pick 5 wagers are mandatory payout bets. The Early Pick 5 is a popular wager with its low 14% takeout. The sequence is Races 1-5. The Late Pick 5 consists of the last five races on the card. Both wagers are 50-cent minimum wagers.

The Rolling Super High Five bet will have a mandatory payout in the last race of the day. The bet involves correctly tabbing the first five finishers in a race in which the wager is offered.

The first race on our 10-race Closing Day card kicks off at 1:15 PM PT.


The battle for top jockey at the current Winter/Spring meet comes down to two riders with one week left to go.

24-year-old Evin Roman leads the way with 79 trips to the winners circle so far this meet. A native of Puerto Rico, Roman won the Eclipse Award for Top Apprentice Jockey of 2019 and has already won jockey titles at multiple California tracks including Golden Gate and Santa Anita.

Mexico native Pedro Terrero is two wins behind Roman with 77. At age 37, Terrero has been a mainstay rider in the Bay Area for over a decade and won his first riding title at the 2021 Fall Meet. Terrero has ridden the most horses out of any jockey at the meet with 451 mounts.

In the trainer standings, Jonathan Wong has a 68-48-win lead over runner up Isidro Tamayo in the trainer standings. Tommy Town Thoroughbreds has the most victories out of any owner so far with 16. Larry and Marianne Williams (14 wins) and Johnny Taboada (12) are right behind.


Below is a list of claims from last week


Race 2: Counting Cards (New trainer Victor Trujillo…new owners Kenneth Seastrom and Trujillo)

Race 3: Circle of Royalty (Owner/Trainer Reid France)

Race 4: Kiss Ride Goodbye (Owner/Trainer Jim Gilmour)

Race 4: Stand in Your Love (Jose Puentes…Maria Valenzuela and Puentes)

Race 6: Holy Ghost (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott and Steiner)

Race 6: Lookin for Revenge (Ruby Thomas…Donald Jacklin and Dave Wood)


Race 3: Hypersonic (D. Wayne Baker…Bart Wood and Baker)

Race 5: Loud Fusaichi (Owner/Trainer Victor Trujillo)

Race 5: Tura Lura (Isidro Tamayo…Raymond Brogliatti and Michael and Dorothy Fried)

Race 6: J T’s Creditcard (Reid France…Albert and Kathleen Mattivi LLC)

Race 6: Lemon Zinger (Gary Greiner…Renee Greiner)


Race 2: Tiz Vicious (Jamey Thomas…Troy Thomas)

Race 7: Grigoro (Isidro Tamayo…Alvaro Gonzalez and Johnny Taboada)

Race 7: Stateforest (Jamey Thomas…Troy Thomas)

Race 8: She’s So Shiny (Tim McCanna…Gary L. Jackson)

Race 9: Holiday Arousal (Jonathan Wong…Clay Sides and Gary Winters)

Race 9: Safe Combination (Owner/Trainer Reid France)

FINISH LINES: The first race on Saturday for 2-year-old fillies features the debut of 7-5 morning line favorite Electric Lettuce, an LNJ Foxwoods homebred by Straight Fire whose second dam is 2009 Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) winner She Be Wild…A high quality card has been assembled for Saturday. Three maiden allowance races, three allowance races, and the Albany are seven of the ten races on the program…The featured sixth race on Sunday, a second level allowance at one mile on turf, features Southern California shipper Crew Dragon, who ran second in the Oceanside Stakes last year at Del Mar for trainer John Sadler. Also entered: stakes winner Jungle Cry, stakes placed allowance winner Seattle Bold, the speedy Mohawk King, classy Tom’s Surprise, and consistent Long Lance…7-length Golden Gate maiden winner Lexington Humor makes her debut against winners for trainer Jonathan Wong in the sixth race on Saturday at Santa Anita: an allowance race for 3-year-old fillies at about six and one-half furlongs on the downhill turf course…Speaking of Jonathan Wong, he is two wins shy of career victory 1,000 as a trainer…Trainer Steve Specht is six wins away from career win 1,500…Happy belated birthday to trainer Steve Miyadi, who celebrated his birthday on Wednesday…Happy birthday to trainer Greg James, who celebrates his birthday this week…Thank you to our horsemen and our frontside staff for their hard work, and our fans and horseplayers for their commitment to Golden Gate Fields. We hope you have a fruitful couple months and look forward to seeing you back for the summer meet in August!

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, June 2, 2022


Freeport Joe and St Anthony, who won a pair of stakes races at Golden Gate last weekend, could show up in stakes events over the summer at Del Mar.

Monday’s $100,000 All American Stakes went to Freeport Joe, who sat off a quick pace before unleashing a rally and nailing defending champion Navy Armed Guard in the shadow of the wire. Just hours after the All-American victory, our media team caught up with trainer Gloria Haley. Understandably, she was “over the moon” with how Freeport Joe ran.

“We’re just so proud of him,” said Haley. “He’s a special horse. [Jockey] Assael [Espinoza] rode him terrific. Him and ‘Joe get along so well. We couldn’t be happier.”

Freeport Joe has shown an affinity for the Tapeta main track, but Haley is not ruling out another try on turf. A long-term goal for Freeport Joe could be the $150,000 California Dreamin’ Stakes at one mile and a sixteenth on turf for California-bred 3-year-olds and up. The race is scheduled for Saturday, August 6 at Del Mar.

“It’s a race we’ll consider,” said Haley. “Nothing is set and stone at this point.”  

Haley noted that in his last start before the All American, Freeport Joe ran a better than looked race in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on grass. That day, he broke a few lengths slow but ran on strongly in the closing stages, only losing by three lengths to race winner Vanzzy.

St Anthony won Sunday’s one-mile $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf. The gelding by Noble Mission sat off the pace, waited for racing room in upper stretch, found a clear path in midstretch and flew home in the concluding stages for a half-length score. St Anthony completed the one mile in 1:37.35 seconds with local rider Pedro Terrero aboard.

Reported earlier this week by the Daily Racing Form’s Steve Anderson, St Anthony will point for the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes on Opening Day Friday, July 22. The races is at run at one mile on turf. St. Anthony possesses breeding to suggest he will continue to thrive as the year progresses. His dam, Amnesia, won the 2014 Wine Country Stakes at Santa Rosa in her 3-year-old summer season.


9-year-old gelding Camino Del Paraiso, a four-time stakes winner at Golden Gate who most recently ran third in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile, has been retired from racing per trainer O.J. Jauregui.

“We were getting ready for the All American [last Monday],” said Jauregui. “He came up with a minor issue. I would have had to give him sixty days off and then start up his training all over again. I called the owner and said, ‘It’s time.’ He’s been great to us. We owe it to him…to give him a good retirement and a good life. We had a great run with him.”

As a yearling in 2014, Camino Del Paraiso was purchased by owner Herb Moniz of Paradise Road Ranch LLC for $5,000. After six losses to kick off his career, Camino Del Paraiso made his first career trip to the winner’s circle on August 17, 2016 in a California-bred one-mile turf race at Del Mar. Following his maiden victory, Camino Del Paraiso wracked off two consecutive allowance wins at Golden Gate.

His stakes debut came in the fall of 2016 when competing in the Let It Ride Stakes at Del Mar. That day, he got boxed behind horses in midstretch and was able to secure third with the unlucky trip. The following year, Camino Del Paraiso finished third in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap, his first in-the-money finish in a graded stake.

In 2019, Camino Del Paraiso came up a neck short in the Berkeley Handicap to race favorite Editore. He also placed in the Joseph T. Grace Stakes. His 2020 began with a decisive allowance victory at Golden Gate and two runner up finishes in graded stakes at Santa Anita: the Thunder Road (G3) and San Luis Rey (G3). Following two third place finishes-one in the All American and the other in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile-Camino Del Paraiso finally retrieved his first stakes win in the 2020 Rolling Green Stakes. His confidence grew from there, and he proceeded to win three additional stakes: two runnings of the Joseph T. Grace (in 2020 and 2021) and a repeat victory in the Rolling Green of 2021.

Camino Del Paraiso made his 9-year-old debut in the 2022 Unusual Heat Turf Classic at Santa Anita and finished second in a hard-fought decision. He returned in the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile at Turf Paradise and ran a subpar race. Jauregui attributed the off-the-board finish to the turf course; Camino Del Paraiso simply did not enjoy racing over it. His final race was a terrific effort, running third in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on April 30. He finished third behind Southern California invaders Vanzzy and Evening Sun in a full field of 14.

Camino Del Paraiso, by Suances out of the Successful Appeal mare Loni’s Appeal, raced 48 times and visited the winners circle on nine occasions. He ran second twelve times and checked in third in five other races. Bred in California by Red Baron’s Barn LLC, Camino Del Paraiso earned $650,0332.

“Honestly, he is one of the classiest horses I’ve ever been around,” said Jauregui. “He did everything right. He gave us his best. We’re going to miss him at the barn, but he had a great run.”


A large field of 11 are slated to race in the featured eighth race on Saturday, a first level allowance at one mile on turf. The race is also featured in the second leg of the Golden Hour Late Pick 4 bet.

The morning line favorite at 7-2 is Loafers Boy, who finished third in his most recent afternoon appearance at the first level allowance condition. In fact, Loafers Boy has either hit the board or won in his last four races at the aforementioned condition. He cuts back to eight furlongs-a distance that trainer Leanna Ekstrom has said in the past may be too short for him-but should be listed as a major player with his consistent form in mind.

Trip handicappers will surely take a second look at Secret Club, who dealt with traffic trouble in his most recent start. He eventually ran fourth. The son of Clubhouse Ride was claimed for $20,000 out of a California-bred allowance race at Santa Anita by trainer Ed Moger Jr. and makes his second start off the claim.

Memo Daddy won a starter allowance race in his first start off a $20,000 claim for trainer Tim Bellasis two starts ago. Most recently, he finished second at this allowance level in a one mile and a sixteenth turf race. He has yet to run a bad race in three career starts in Northern California but sports an 0 for 6 record when racing at the eight-furlong distance on turf. Nonetheless, he is a legit contender.

Lord Brancusi has run second in his last five starts at this level. In a few of those races, he received less than ideal trips whether it be due to traffic issues, wide trips, or breaking slowly from the gate. A naturally fast horse in sprints, he figures to be part of the pace for leading trainer Jonathan Wong.

Anitanewmercedes ran third in his last two races at the California-bred allowance condition at Santa Anita and returns to his home base for local trainer Isidro Tamayo. He is another that does his best work close to the pace. East Rand won a $20,000 claimer on turf and takes the next logical step to the first level allowance condition for Southern California trainer Leonard Powell, who has won with 3 of his 6 starters (with 2 other third place finishes) at the Winter/Spring meet. Black Caspian, the last of the major players, has put up a pair of subpar efforts as of late but finished ahead of morning line favorite Loafers Boy in a couple of races in March. His best run puts him in the hunt.

9-races made the Saturday overnight. First post is 1:15 PM.

Race 8 on Saturday (First level allowance for 3 YO and up at one mile on turf)

#1 Sea of Liberty (Jockey William Antongeorgi II…Trainer Jamey Thomas…morning line: 3-1)

#2 Secret Club (Silvio Amador…Ed Moger Jr…6-1)

#3 Loafers Boy (Pedro Terrero…Leanna Ekstrom…7-2)

#4 Sal N Louie (Daniel Vergara…Victor Trujillo…30-1)

#5 Kodiaction (Armando Ayuso…Jedd Josephson…10-1)

#6 Lord Brancusi (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong…6-1)

#7 Memo Daddy (Irving Orozco…Tim Bellasis…9-2)

#8 Black Caspian (Frank Alvarado…Manny Badilla…6-1)

#9 East Rand (Julien Couton…Leonard Powell…12-1)

#10 Anitanewmercedes (Evin Roman…Isidro Tamayo…5-1)

#11 Alvaaro (Santos Rivera…Victor Trujillo…15-1)


Some of the fastest filly and mare sprinters in Northern California compete in Race 4 on Sunday, an open allowance at six furlongs on Tapeta. 9 races are on the docket this Sunday with first post set for 1:15 PM.

Northwest Factor draws the rail and will need to work out a good trip from there. She cuts back from a route to a sprint after a third-place finish in the Golden Poppy Stakes routing on turf. Northwest Factor has run five times at six furlongs, with two wins and two third place finishes at the distance.  

Stablemates Day Plan and The Pharaoh’s Girl exit the same race on May 20, a five-furlong turf dash. That day, Day Plan pressed the pace and placed second, unable to catch race winner Carolina Mia. This will be Day Plan’s second start off an eight-month layoff. The Pharaoh’s Girl sat at the back of the pack and failed to fire, finishing last in the field of six. She returns to a surface that we know she likes; she has won her last three races on the main track Tapeta.

Strike At Dawn has not been seen since a second-place finish in an allowance race at Woodbine in November of 2020. Sporting a pair of bullet workouts leading up to this race for new trainer Blaine Wright, Strike At Dawn has yet to compete in a sprint race in twelve lifetime starts.

The Quentin B. Miller trained pair of Rose Princess and Tip Top Gal round out the field. Rose Princess was a well beaten third in a claiming race while Tip Top Gal was a non-threatening ninth in the Camilla Urso Stakes on turf in April.

Race 4 on Sunday (Open allowance for fillies and mares 3 YO and up at 6 furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Northwest Factor (Jockey Pedro Terrero…Trainer Manny Badilla)

#2 Day Plan (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong)

#3 Strike At Dawn (Julien Couton…Blaine Wright)

#4 Tip Top Gal (Armando Ayuso…Quentin B. Miller)

#5 The Pharaoh’s Girl (William Antongeorgi III…Jonathan Wong)

#6 Rose Princess (Jose Rodirguez…Quentin B. Miller)


Below is a list of claims from last week.


Race 1: Gold Rush Gal (New trainer D. Wayne Baker…New owner Richard Barton & Kate Penner)

Race 1: Maggie Fitzgerald (Tim McCanna…Scott Gruender)


Race 3: Hot Rageous (Trainer Ed Moger Jr…Doug Kline)


Race 4: Forgotten Vows (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

Race 6: Sync (Wendell McDaniel…Chris Gounalakis)

Race 9: Shaman’s Prodigy (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables and Clay Sides)


Race 3: Mary Margaret (Reid France…Hat Trick Racing)

Race 9: Diamond Willow (Jeff Metz…Saratoga West)

Race 9: Refi Now (Owner/Trainer Jacqui Navarre)

FINISH LINES: With six racing days to go, Evin Roman remains at the top of the jockey standings with 75 wins at the Winter/Spring meet. Pedro Terrero is three wins behind with 72…Milestone alert: Trainer Steve Specht has won 1,492 races in his career, meaning he is 8 wins shy of career victory 1,500. Trainer Jonathan Wong has won 992 races-8 wins away from 1,000…Race 7 on Friday is the top race of the day, a first level allowance on turf for fillies and mares First post on Friday card is 1:15 PM…Jockey Abdul Alsagoor picked up his first Golden Gate Fields win with Mary Margaret in last Monday’s third race. An apprentice rider from Southern California, Alsagoor was in the Bay Area to ride a couple of races on Monday…Three of the five entrants in Saturday’s Grade 3 $100,000 Desert Stormer at Santa Anita feature runners who have competed at Golden Gate: two-time GGF allowance winner Becca Taylor (trained by Steve Miyadi), 10 time GGF winner Dynasty of Her Own (Jonathan Wong), and multiple GGF winner Annie Graham (Miyadi)…$8,444 is the carryover amount in the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager heading into Friday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, May 26, 2022


A handful of Golden Gate Fields based equines voyage to Santa Anita Park to compete in stakes races over the weekend. All appear to enter their respective races with a legit chance to win.

Trainer Steve Specht is sending Royal ‘n Rando for the $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes at one mile and an eighth on turf. The race is restricted to California-bred or sired 3-year-olds. The son of Tamarando last posted a 7-1 upset in the $75,000 Silky Sullivan Stakes. That day, he defeated Highland Ghost in the shadow of the wire, coming from off the pace and nailing the aforementioned foe in the dying stages of the race.  Royal ‘n Rando, set at 4-1 on the morning line in the Snow Chief, is owned by longtime breeders Larry and Marianne Williams. Regular jockey Frank Alvarado makes the trip south to ride.  

On Sunday, Specht and Alvarado team up once more with Ellamira in the $100,000 Honeymoon Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies at nine furlongs on turf. The California-bred by Street Boss was last seen winning the Campanile Stakes against California-bred fillies at Golden Gate and now faces Grade 3, open company.

“I worked [Royal ‘n Rando and Ellamira] five eighths of a mile together [last Sunday morning] and they went very well,” Specht told Santa Anita publicity’s Ed Golden a few days ago. “I got them in a minute and three-fifths.”

4-year-old gelding Jimmy Blue Jeans won the Snow Chief Stakes last year and returns to the scene of that victory one year later. He faces older California-breds on Sunday in the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes on turf at one mile and has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite.

Most recently, Jimmy Blue Jeans set the pace before fading to an off-the-board finish in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile. Earlier in the year, he won a second level allowance race at Golden Gate. Jockey Kyle Frey has guided Jimmy Blue Jeans to two of his five career victories and picks up the mount in the Crystal Water.

Andy Mathis, who trains Jimmy Blue Jeans, also opts to send 3-year-old filly Vincero Grande to the Snow Chief Stakes. She faces male counterparts for the first time and sports an 8-1 morning line. A daughter of Mr. Big owned by SLO Racing Stable, Vincero Grande comes off a runner up finish behind Ellamira in the Campanile Stakes on May 1. Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez has the call on Saturday for the Mathis barn.

On Monday, the Ed Moger Jr. trained Stilleto Boy seeks his first Grade I win in the $400,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at one-mile and a quarter on dirt. Stilleto Boy won the Grade 2 Californian on April 30 and sports a wicked quick 58 and 4/5 five-furlong breeze since the victory. The son of Shackleford has finished in-the-money in three Grade I races (the Awesome Again Stakes, the Malibu Stakes and the Pegasus World Cup) and passed the one-million-dollar earnings after his most recent run in the Californian.


Trainer O.J. Jauregui spoke to Golden Gate Fields publicity late Wednesday morning while getting ready to pack his bags for a trip to the southwest. On Monday, Jauregui saddles 4-year-old colt Tesoro in the Grade 3 $400,000 Steve Sexton Mile on dirt at Lonestar Park in Texas.

“We are going to run on a dirt track for the next few months, so it makes sense to go that direction,” said Jauregui. “He flew on the airplane and [got] to Lonestar Wednesday afternoon.”

Last time out, Tesoro raced on the turf for the first time and earned a career high 92 Beyer speed figure when defeating a group of second level allowance horses. That said, Tesoro has proven he can ship and run well on dirt. In November, he finished second behind 2021 Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock in the Zia Park Derby in New Mexico-a race run over a dirt course-and also ran third in the Bull Dog Stakes at Fresno against older horses one month prior.

Jauregui has tabbed 2022 Kentucky Derby winning jockey Sonny Leon to ride Tesoro, who is listed at 20-1 on the morning line.

“Sonny’s agent called me and told me he really wanted to ride the horse,” said Jauregui. “I said, ‘Why not?’ He did a heck of a job in the Kentucky Derby. I’ve been watching and he’s been winning some races where he’s at. He’s riding good. So, we’re going to give him a chance.”

On Sunday, Jauregui will be watching on a television when his 3-year-old California-bred Highland Ghost runs in Sunday’s Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate. Highland Ghost had the lead in in his most recent afternoon appearance, the one-mile Silky Sullivan Stakes on grass, before getting tagged in the final stride by race winner Royal ‘n Rando.

“Highland Ghost worked really well the other day,” said Jauregui. “His last few sprint races have been really good. I put him in the [route] race last time and there was no shame in the way he ran. Second time going long, back-to-back, I think that will definitely help him. My horse is ready to run. With him, he can go right on the lead or lay close. He’s got tactical speed. I imagine he’s going to use it, sit close and make his run.”


After a runner up finish in the California Derby on Tapeta, trainer Jonathan Wong gets 3-year-old Temple City gelding Boise back to grass in the feature race on Sunday at Golden Gate, the $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes for 3-year-olds. Boise broke his maiden sprinting on the grass as a 2-year-old and returned in his first start against winners over the Del Mar grass course, losing by ¾ of a length in the Qatar Golden Mile, an undercard stakes race on Breeders Cup Friday.

Although Boise won the Gold Rush Stakes in 2021 over the Tapeta, Wong believes that Boise will enjoy returning to turf races for the foreseeable future.

“He’s run two really good races on the grass,” said Wong. “There was a third race where he ran on turf at Santa Anita, but he didn’t like the course at all that day.”

In his last start, Boise only finished a head behind race winner Il Bellator in the California Derby. Even though he didn’t win, Wong was pleased with his effort.

“I was over the moon,” said Wong. “He hadn’t run in a few months so I wasn’t sure if he might ‘need the race.’ He ran well. Since his last race, he’s worked well and we haven’t had to do too much with him except keep him fit and happy. He ran hard [in the California Derby.] He’s fit.”

Boise will be ridden by William Antongeorgi III for the first time in the Alcatraz. Owned in partnership by Jason Hall, Scott Herbertson and Sheldon Steinmetz, the Kentucky-bred was purchased for $27,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September yearling sale and has earned $92,950 in six lifetime starts.

The Alcatraz goes as Race 8 on a 9-race card on Sunday. First post is 1:15 PM PT.

Race 8: The $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes (for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf)

#1 Highland Ghost (Jockey Catalino Martinez…Trainer O.J. Jauregui…2-1 morning line odds)

#2 Meetmeattheclub (Silvio Amador…Dan Franko…12-1)

#3 Boise (William Antongeorgi III…Jonathan Wong…9-5)

#4 Will Is Chill (Daniel Vergara…Jonathan Wong…20-1)

#5 St Anthony (Pedro Terrero…Neil Drysdale…9-2)

#6 Trip to Spain (Evin Roman…Jamey Thomas…6-1)

#7 Chief Wild Eagle (Assael Espinoza…Tim McCanna…6-1)


Golden Gate Fields offers a Memorial Day Monday live racing card. The feature race on Memorial Day every year is the aptly named All American Stakes. With a $100,000 purse, the All American is a one-mile event on the Tapeta for 3-year-olds and upward.

The 2022 edition attracts some of the top older handicap horses in Northern California. Among the probables is Tom’s Surprise, who has won a trio of allowance races since being claimed for $20,000 by trainer Jack Steiner and owner Remmah Racing Inc. Tom’s Surprise comes off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile.

Freeport Joe returns to arguably his best surface in the All American. Winner of the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap, Freeport Joe put up a much better than looked effort in the San Francisco Mile. That day, he missed the break before rallying on down the lane to finish three lengths behind race winner Evening Sun. Gloria Haley trains for owner Larry Odbert.

The top three finishers in a May 1 open allowance race are possible to run. Among that trio is the All-American defending champion, Navy Armed Guard, who ran third on the first of the month. If he were to run in the All American, it would be his second start off a three-and-a-half-month layoff. War Games was making his first start routing for veteran trainer Cliff DeLima on May 1 and won the race in gate to wire fashion. A hard trying gelding, he figures to make some noise with his best effort. Govenor’s Party, a hard knocker who often outruns his odds, will likely be a price play to consider for trainer Dan Franko. He was the runner up finisher in the May 1 allowance.

The Steve Sherman trained pair of American Farmer and Nolde are also likely to enter. American Farmer ran fourth in the May 1 allowance but defeated Freeport Joe in a prior race at the aforementioned level earlier this year. Nolde makes his second start off a lengthy layoff after an off-the-board finish in the San Francisco Mile. Before the break, Nolde won the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in 2019.

Entries for the All American and the rest of the Monday card will be taken and published on Friday afternoon.


Jockey Daniel Vergara, who was at Golden Gate Fields in the latter half of 2020 and has been riding regularly in Arizona since then, is back at Golden Gate and will be represented by agent Brent Harmon.

“He can horseback,” said Harmon. “He’s a solid rider. Obviously, he’s been here before, so the good news is people know him. He’s riding different barns in the mornings. He’s already getting opportunities. We’re just going to keep trying to build his business.”

Heading into Friday, Vergara is six wins shy of 1,500 career victories. A native of Mexico City, Vergara has ridden at tracks across the United States. The list includes Santa Anita, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, and Fairplex (Southern California), Finger Lakes (New York), Canterbury Park (Minnesota), Parx (Pennsylvania), and Turf Paradise (Arizona).


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 1: Grazen Honor (Jesus Ramos…Juan Ochoa)

Race 8: Carasynthia (Isidro Tamayo…Marron Road Ventures LLC)


Race 3: Born to Reign (Jonathan Wong…Madden Racing)

Race 3: Casino Games (D. Wayne Baker…Richard Barton and Kate Penner)

Race 5: Remember Sue (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables, Johnny and Marcel Taboada)

Race 7: Edinburgh Express (Jonathan Wong…Battle Born Racing Stable)

Race 8: Strut to the Wire (Isidro Tamayo…Frankly Speaking LLC)


Race 2: A Man’s Man (New Trainer Jack Steiner…new owner(s) Remmah Racing & Steiner)

Race 4: Ted (Jonathan Wong…Scott Herbertson)

Race 7: Minoso (Jack Steiner…Jim Maher)

Race 9: Alesha (Reid France…Hat Trick Racing)

FINISH LINES: 2021 Golden Poppy Stakes winner Altea was sold for $620,000 to Yulong Investments at the Magic Millions breeding sale in Australia. Currently, Altea is in foal to top European stallion Lope de Vega…Two “baby races” will be run at Golden Gate this week. On Friday, Race 4 is a maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies. The field consists of eight entrants. On Saturday, 11 colts and geldings are entered in Race 4, a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds at 5 furlongs…A super card has been assembled for Saturday’s races. Race 7 is a first level allowance for 3-year-old sprinters. Among the entrants in the field of nine are impressive maiden winner Winter Falcon, the Doug O’Neill trained Franklin One Star, and Big Papa Steve, who has already won once at the level once before…Race 8, is a second level allowance for filly and mare turf routers. Among the leading entrants in the field of eight: first level allowance winning stablemates Natural Colours and Scherzo, stakes placed 3-year-old filly Music Festival, Southern California shipper and multiple Golden Gate Fields winner Bellamore, and the quickly improving AssignationAway From the Sun, who sports a 3 for 4 lifetime record, makes her 2022 debut in the fifth race on Saturday for trainer Blaine Wright. She goes up against Lagatha, who ran second to multiple stakes winner Becca Taylor last time out…Happy `birthday to jockey agent John Buc, trainer Terri Eaton and jockey Cristobal Herrera, who celebrate their birthdays within the next week…$9,304 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager heading into Friday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, May 19, 2022


On Friday, filly and mare turf sprinters take to the 5-furlong distance in Race 4, one of three allowances races spread throughout the program. This particular event is an “open” allowance race, meaning it is not a particular condition that only certain horses fit. In turn, it has attracted some of the best filly and mare one-turn racers in Northern California.

Leading trainer Jonathan Wong saddles a pair of contenders in Day Plan and The Pharoah’s Girl. Both were entered to compete in the Camilla Urso Stakes on Gold Rush Weekend Saturday but failed to draw into the main body of the field from the also-eligible list.

“These things happen,” said Wong. “Not everything goes to plan all the time. We kept training and waited for another race for them.” 

The Pharaoh’s Girl makes her second lifetime start on turf. Her only other race on grass resulted in an off-the-board finish in a maiden special weight at Santa Anita last year. With that in mind, she has improved significantly since then.

In her last three races, she has quickly knocked off race conditions, winning a maiden special weight, followed by a first level allowance victory and, most recently, a second level allowance win. In all three victories, she led the field from start to finish. With other speed signed on in Friday’s fourth race, Wong believes The Pharaoh’s Girl is versatile enough to play it by the break.

“If someone wants to send really hard and go fast out there, I don’t think it would be a problem if she sat off and stalked the pace,” said Wong. “I’m going to leave that up to [jockey] Billy [Antongeorgi III]. The 5 furlongs will be a good distance for her.”

Day Plan is a wildcard contender. A lightly raced filly with a 3 for 5 record, the daughter of Carpe Diem has beaten allowance company on dirt and synthetic. She makes her career debut over turf.

“We’ve always thought a lot of her,” said Wong. “When she was 2, I thought she was one of our best 2-year-olds in the barn. She’s had a couple minor issues where we’ve had to stop on her. Right now, she’s training phenomenal. She’s going to sit off the pace and make a run. The distance [of the race] might be a little short, but she’s ready to run and, like I said, she’s been training lights out.”

The Wong-trained pair would need to come with their “A+” effort to win. In fact, neither are the morning line favorite. Awarded morning line favoritism at 9-5 is Carolina Mia, a Felix Rondan trainee who sports a 2 for 3 record sprinting on turf. The daughter of Gallant Son won a first level allowance by open lengths two races ago before regressing off a two-week turnaround against tougher in the Camilla Urso on April 30. Also entered in Friday’s fourth race is Maybe I Will, last seen finishing second to stakes winner Rebalation at the open allowance condition on Tapeta. She figures to show speed from the rail post position. Longshots La Aguililla and Fairy Tale Bliss round out the field.

First post on to kick off the racing week is 1:15 PM PT.

Race 4 (Friday, May 20: Open allowance for fillies and mares 3 YO & up at 5 furlongs on turf)

#1 Maybe I Will (Jockey Catalino Martinez…Trainer Blaine Wright…Morning line odds of 3-1)

#2 The Pharaoh’s Girl (William Antongeorgi III…Jonathan Wong…5-2)

#3 La Aguililla (Pedro Terrero…Jesus Ramos…15-1)

#4 Carolina Mia (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…9-5)

#5 Fairy Tale Bliss (Armando Ayuso…Sergio Ledezma…10-1)

#6 Day Plan (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong…7-2)


You want to get to know a horse? Ask their trainer about them. If a trainer feels like sharing, they will know just about everything that needs to known.

Some horses’ stories are longer than others. In the case of 3-year-old gelding Executive Chef, Blaine Wright didn’t need to use too many words to describe the improving Virginia-bred.

“Heck, he’s never runs a bad race,” said Wright. “He’s done everything we’ve asked of him.”

Hard to knock that.

Executive Chef faces a quintet of rivals in the co-featured fourth race on Saturday, a one mile first level allowance race restricted to 3-year-olds. Executive Chef comes off a three-quarter length win against a better-than-average maiden special weight group on April 29. That day, he was making his first start at a route distance.

“Obviously, you always like to see them win,” said Wright. “He ran well [when he broke his maiden] and came out of the race well. He breezed really nice going a half mile the other morning [last Saturday] and now gets his first shot against winners. Hopefully he takes to it.”

Wright expects that Executive Chef can work out a good, stalking trip from the inside post. Jockey Frank Alvarado subs in for regular rider Kevin Orozco, who moved north to ride at Emerald Downs for the spring and summer.

“It looks like there’s some speed for him to run at,” said Wright.

Executive Chef faces formidable foes in his debut against non-maidens. 6-5 morning line favorite Midnight Mammoth exits a fifth-place finish in the California Derby and finds needed class relief in Friday’s fourth race. Trained by Steve Sherman, Midnight Mammoth ran second to eventual California Derby winner Il Bellator three races ago before finishing as the runner up again in an allowance event on turf two starts back.

5-2 morning line shot Canelito pulled off two consecutive victories against maiden claimers and starter allowance company at Gulfstream Park over the winter. He makes his first start in California for new trainer Jonathan Wong.

Sync has won three races in a row and gets a class test for trainer Reid France. Nuestro Engreido and Go Thru the Hole will need to improve to win. The former has finished off the board in recent allowance tries while the latter comes off a claiming victory in his first start routing for trainer Leanna Ekstrom.

Nine races made the Golden Gate Saturday overnight. First post is later than usual: 1:45 PM PT. Along with Golden Gate’s nine race program, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse highlights the afternoon of racing around the country. Fans on-track can watch and wager on entire Pimlico card, as well as other racetracks across North America.

Among the on-track festivities at Golden Gate on Saturday is our annual Preakness Watch Party in the turf club, featuring a scrumptious buffet prepared by head chef Victor Nava and his diligent culinary crew. For folks in the local area who wish to attend the Preakness Watch Party, please visit for more information and or to purchase tickets for the event.

Race 4 (Saturday, May 21: First-level allowance for 3 YO’s at one mile on Tapeta)

#1 Executive Chef (Jockey Frank Alvarado…Trainer Blaine Wright…Morning line odds of 7-2)

#2 Sync (Catalino Martinez…Reid France…8-1)

#3 Go Thru the Hole (Alejandro Gomez…Leanna Ekstrom…15-1)

#4 Canelito (Cristobal Herrera…Jonathan Wong…5-2)

#5 Neustro Engreido (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan …8-1)

#6 Midnight Mammoth (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman…6-5)


An appealing group of 3-year-old fillies route one-mile in Race 5 on Sunday, an allowance optional $50,000 claimer on Tapeta. Within the field of six, two players who enter fresh off solid stakes efforts appear as the ones to beat.

The first of them is Tam’s Little Angel, who won at this first level allowance condition over turf on April 3. She wheeled back one month later and finished third in the Campanile Stakes. As a 2-year-old last year, the Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams homebred checked in third in the Golden Gate Debutante on Tapeta. Trainer Steve Specht has opted to fit Tam’s Little Angel with blinkers in Sunday’s fifth race, something we have not seen with her in all eight lifetime starts.

The other likely to get plenty of play is Sparka, an Irish bred who most recently ran fourth in the California Oaks behind the most accomplished 3-year-old filly on the grounds in Anthony’s Cleopatra. The Manny Badilla trainee was purchased by owners Ron Charles and Sam Gordon for $31,360 at a public auction in Europe after ten races over synthetic and turf surfaces in Great Britain. She broke her maiden in her United States debut two races ago on April 8.

Sen Sen is the “other” Steve Specht entrant in the race. She has accomplished more than Sparka, having won a pair of first level allowance races in January and February. Her recent form is poor, however, with two consecutive defeats against tough company as of late. A California-bred having already won twice at the first level allowance condition, Sen Sen is entered for the $50,000 tag. 

Blueberry Eyes will get a second look from horseplayers who consider speed figures as an important handicapping tool. The daughter of Acclamation comes off a starter allowance win in which she earned a best last-race Beyer speed figure (75) out of anyone in the field. She sports an extremely consistent record on Tapeta, with three wins and two third-place finishes from five starts over the surface. This will be her third start off a claim by Jonathan Wong and owners Madden Racing, MJVET Stables and Rockstar Racing Stable.

Always Seeking makes her route debut while also facing winners for the first time. Racing off about a seven-month layoff last time out for trainer Jack Steiner, the daughter of Rousing Sermon stalked the pace before unleashing a rally to win a five-and-a-half-furlong maiden special weight against open company. California-bred Happy Is also beat open maiden special weight company last time, though that effort came against turf routers. She moves back to the Tapeta in her first race against non-maidens.

A 9-race Sunday program completes the racing week. First post is 1:15 PM.

Race 8 (Sunday, May 22: First-level allowance for 3 YO fillies at one mile on Tapeta)

#1 Always Seeking (Jockey Evin Roman…Trainer Jack Steiner)

#2 Blueberry Eyes (William Antongeorgi…Jonathan Wong)

#3 Sen Sen (Assael Espinoza…Steve Specht)

#4 Happy Is (Alejandro Gomez…Quinn Howey)

#5 Sparka (Frank Alvarado…Manny Badilla)

#6 Tam’s Little Angel (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht)


Below is a list of claims from last week.


Race 1: Cliffsofthunder (New trainer D. Wayne Baker…New owner(s) Richard and Kate Barton)

Race 1: Harbor Abbey (Owner/Trainer Dan Franko

Race 2: Queen of the Track (Ruby Thomas…William Heck)

Race 3: Lookin for Revenge (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott and Steiner)

Race 4: Vantage Point (Isidro Tamayo…Frankly Speaking LLC)

Race 5: Coolcross (Jack Steiner…Michael Radovich)

Race 7: Persuasive Lips (Steve Sherman…Zvika Akin, Gary Lyon, Joan Richter and Sherman)


Race 1: African Prince (Owner/Trainer Dan Franko)


Race 1; Alleycat (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

Race 4: Resurrected Noble (Aggie Ordonez…McLean Racing Stables)

Race 9: Wear the Crown (Tim McCanna…Pat LePley)

FINISH LINES: After a successful last week, Evin Roman pushed to the lead in the jockey standings. Heading into Friday, he sports 68 wins at the current Winter/Spring meeting. Armando Ayuso and Pedro Terrero are currently tied for second with 66 wins apiece…Jonathan Wong remains the leader in the trainer standings with 59 victories. Isidro Tamayo sits in second with 41 wins while Reid France and Tim McCanna are tied for third with 27 wins apiece…We welcome jockey Daniel Vergara to the jockey colony. Shipping in from Turf Paradise in Arizona, Vergara rides one horse for trainer Cliff DeLima on Saturday and three for a trio of different trainers on Sunday. An in-depth article is coming in next week’s edition of the News and Notes…Along with Friday’s fourth race, other allowance races on the day come in Races 6 and 7. Race 6 is a first level allowance. Race 7 is enticing: a second level allowance featuring the uber consistent In Our A, graded stakes placed gelding Kiwi’s Dream, the Isidro Tamayo trained pair of Clem Labine and Union Dance, recent first level allowance winners Torpedo Away and Truth Seeker, stakes performer Cool Mountain Lad, and the Bill McLean conditioned Hey Mate…The Tapeta nightcap on Saturday is an extremely contentious first level allowance at one mile and a sixteenth. Horseplayers could make a legit argument for every horse in the race…The Golden Pick 6 jackpot was hit two days in a row: last Saturday and Sunday. The jackpot pool begins anew this Friday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, May 12


The developmental stage from two-years-old to three is a crucial time for thoroughbred racehorses. Some horses gradually progress and improve with time. Others are precocious before leveling off and seeing their counterparts catch up to them in racing ability.

With that in mind, trainer Jacqui Navarre is hopeful that 3-year-old filly Code Ribbon has made the necessary jump from two to three to be competitive in the eighth race on Saturday, a first level allowance for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs on Tapeta. The California-bred daughter of Desert Code sports a flashy work pattern, including a fast 1:12 flat six-furlong workout and a sharp half mile blowout in 47 seconds flat. Both drills were the fastest of all workouts at the distance for those particular mornings.

“She’s always been a small filly,” said Navarre. “She’s still her peanut self. She might’ve gotten a little thicker, a little wider…but she’s still a pretty small filly. She trains the same in the mornings. She’s always been a good worker and eager to train. She loves her job. We’ve got a couple six furlong works into her, so hopefully that’s good enough to have her fit and ready off the layoff.” 

Last year, Code Ribbon never finished off the board in six starts. Among those efforts: a first level allowance win, a runner up finish in the Golden Gate Debutante sprinting on Tapeta, and a third-place in the Pike Place Dancer Stakes racing two turns on turf. It’s worth mentioning that the winner of the Golden Gate Debutante, Ellamira, most recently won the Campanile Stakes on Gold Rush Weekend Sunday.

“Ellamira has gone on to do pretty well,” said Navarre. “Hopefully that means we’ll be OK.”

Purchased for $4,000 by owner Michael Pollowitz as a yearling, Cody Ribbon has already made $80,052. She sports two wins, two seconds and two third place finishes.  

“She’s 10% horse and 90% heart,” quipped Navarre. “When she gallops, as soon as she sees another horse go by her, she wants to catch them. She’s got that type of attitude. She just tries hard every race. For a $4,000 filly to do what she’s done…she’s exceeded expectations. We’re all just so proud of her.” 

Code Ribbon could get the right set up to be successful in her first start off about a five and a half month layoff. She is projected to get a fast pace to sit off. Tamara Mine, Iconic Sky and O’Neill’s Legacy are all fillies that entered in Saturday’s eighth race who have shown front running speed in past races. Frank Alvarado has been aboard Code Ribbon in all six lifetime races and retains the mount on Saturday.

“We’re hoping she can get a stalk and pounce type of trip,” said Navarre. “We drew the rail which isn’t the greatest spot to be, but Frank [Alvarado] knows this filly really well. He’s done a lot of work with her in the mornings, too. If we finish in the top three, we’d be tickled to death. I think this is a good starting spot for her.”

Code Ribbon has been installed at 5-1 on the morning line. The likely post time favorite will be Rose Maddox, an extremely versatile filly from the Steve Miyadi barn that has shown the ability to sprint or route on any surface. The Nick Alexander homebred has won two California-bred allowance races at Santa Anita as of late, with one of those races sprinting on the dirt and the other against turf routers.

Nine races made the Saturday overnight. First post is 1:15 PM PT.

Race 8 on Saturday (First level allowance for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Code Ribbon (Jockey Frank Alvarado…trainer Jacqui Navarre…5-1)

#2 Tamara Mine (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht…8-1)

#3 Iconic Sky (Julien Couton…Andy Mathis…12-1)

#4 Tiz a Tiger (Santos Rivera…Bill McLean…20-1)

#5 Irish Wahine (Irving Orozco…Ed Moger Jr…20-1)

#6 Amaaza (Silvio Amador…Ed Moger Jr…10-1)

#7 Dulce Emma (Pedro Terrero…Jesus Ramos…9-2)

#8 Rose Maddox (Armando Ayuso…Steve Miyadi…9-5)

#9 O’Neills Legacy (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis…7-2)


6-year-old gelding Loafers Boy enters a first level allowance on Sunday, Race 8, fresh off a victory at the aforementioned condition on April 23. That afternoon, he sat off a fast pace going a mile and an eighth on the Tapeta and won the contest in the final stride. For trainer Leanna Ekstrom, the win was well overdue.

“He’s a really nice horse,” said Ekstrom. “He’s had some rough luck. I think he was a little bit too far back in some of his past races and just had too much ground to make up.”

Two starts ago, Loafers Boy ran a mile and a sixteenth on the turf-the same conditions he will find this Sunday-and finished third behind Seattle Bold and Black Caspian. Both horses are entered to run in Sunday’s eighth race. That said, Loafers Boy finished ahead of the two aforementioned foes on April 23.

“Loafers Boy can run all day,” said Ekstrom. “I would prefer the race to be at a mile and an eighth. The farther the better for him. But the mile and a sixteenth is fine. It’s better for him than a mile.”

Along with preferred distances, Loafers Boy related discussions have included questioning his preferred surface. For quite a while, most Golden Gate handicappers would tell you that turf was the surface Loafers Boy most enjoyed racing over. Before his last victory, two of his three lifetime wins had come over turf. He also had posted an unflattering 0 for 7 lifetime record over the Golden Gate Tapeta main track.

Ekstrom, in the meantime, thought he could be equally effective on both surfaces. Her longtime opinion may have been proven correct on April 23, as he earned a career high Beyer speed figure (85) on the Tapeta that day.

“For him, it’s more about getting the right scenario,” said Ekstrom. “He can run into a slower pace or a fast pace, but really the key with him is getting him to run fractions he is comfortable setting and then getting in a good stride. You have to time it right with him and if you do, then he’ll run a good race. I thought [jockey] Pedro [Terrero] rode him really well last time.” 

A contentious field is signed up in the featured eighth race on Sunday. A nine race programs kicks off at 1:15 PM PT.

Race 8 on Sunday (First level allowance for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf)

#1 Shot of a Lifetime (Jockey Silvio Amador…trainer Ellen Jackson)

#2 Draw the Foul (William Antongeorgi III…Greg James)

#3 Black Caspian (Frank Alvarado …Manny Badilla)

#4 Loafers Boy (Pedro Terrero…Leanna Ekstrom)

#5 Sal N Louie (Brayan Pena…Victory Trujillo)

#6 Kowboykabin (Assael Espinoza…Blaine Wright)

#7 Secret Club (Armando Ayuso…Ed Moger Jr.)

#8 Memo Daddy (Irving Orozco…Tim Bellasis)

#9 Seattle Bold (Evin Roman…Jamey Thomas)


Below is a list of claims from last week.


Race 1: Artisan Dancer (New trainer Ed Moger Jr…new owner Bill Meikle)

Race 1: La Popis (Jack Steiner…Gary and Deborah Lusk)

Race 1: Sunset Star (D. Wayne Baker…Richard Barton)

Race 4: Dumb Luck (Isidro Tamayo…Leon Scott)

Race 4: Stanford Bay (Jesus Ramos…Roque and Luciano Orta)

Race 5: Can’thelpfallin (Owner/Trainer Andrew Nguyen)

Race 6: Blushing Bay (Jesus Ramos…Candelario Barragan and Roque and Luciano Orta)


No Claims


Race 1: Betito (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott and Steiner)

Race 4: Engee Ombee (Jamey Thomas…Troy Thomas)

Race 5: Exclusive Speaker (Blaine Wright…Wright Racing Stable, Davis Racing, Russell & Strelo)

Race 5: Square Deal (Andy Mathis…William Branch, John Lovett and Mathis)

Race 6: Simply Perfect (Mike Lenzini…John Parker)

Race 7: Love of the Sport (Owner/Trainer D. Wayne Baker)

Race 7: Riviera Champ (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

Race 8: Amanofmystature (Marcelino Trujillo…Nancy Salas-Ibarra and Floriberta Trujillo)

Race 8: Refi Now (Owner/Trainer Reid France)

FINISH LINES: With about a month left to go at the current Winter/Spring meet, the jockey race is as tight as could be. Jockeys Armando Ayuso and Pedro Terrero are deadlocked in the jockey standings with 63 wins apiece. Evin Roman lurks right behind in third place with 60 victories…Along with an intriguing eighth race on Saturday, the sixth race also adds appeal to the card. An allowance for filly and mare turf routers, the main contenders include local Misty Cat and two horses who last raced in Southern California (Mercy Mercy and Shezaghost)… Eight races kick off the racing week on Friday with first post set for 1:15 PM. $12,926 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot bet on Friday…Happy birthday to Golden Gate veterinarian Dr. Casille Batten, who celebrates her birthday later this week.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, May 5, 2022


4-year-old California-bred filly Becca Taylor is one nose away from having a perfect resume.  The blossoming Nick Alexander homebred boasts a 6 for 7 lifetime record, with her lone loss coming last time out in the Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-bred or sired turf sprinters at Santa Anita. That day, she lost by the narrowest of margins as the 4-5 favorite.

In Saturday’s ninth race, Becca Taylor returns to the scene of a first level allowance win on January 29. That day, she was making her first start off a nine-and-a-half-month vacation at Golden Gate. She stalked the pace early and pulled away from her company down the stretch, hitting the wire four lengths clear of the runner up finisher. She was geared down in the end by jockey Armando Ayuso, who retains the mount this Saturday.

Amazingly, Becca Taylor is still eligible to win at the first allowance condition again. Taking advantage of the conditions, trainer Steve Miyadi opts to send his consistent sprinter to the Bay Area to break through at the aforementioned level one more time. Breaking from post position 8, she is projected to go off as a low odds favorite in a field of 10.

Her main competition may be Legatha, who got back to good form last time out after three consecutive poor performances. In her most recent start, Lagatha finished as the runner up-beaten just a neck-but ran a respectable race while earning a solid speed figure. Like Becca Taylor, she is a California-bred who has already won at the first level allowance condition.

Lagatha will need to turn the tables on Becca Taylor, however, as she finished five lengths behind her aforementioned counterpart on January 29. That said, Lagatha had run a career best race one race prior to “bouncing” in her next start against Becca Taylor.

Another intriguing runner in Saturday’s ninth race is My Legal Bet, making her second start off a lengthy break for trainer Jamey Thomas. She only lost by a length and a half at this level on April 1 and seeks to improve in her second start in the current form cycle. Irving Orozco was aboard last time out and decides to stick with Lagatha. With that, Evin Roman will be aboard for the first time.

10 races are on the docket for Saturday afternoon, with an early first post at 12:45 PM. Of course, fans on track can watch and wager on all races from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Race 12 from Churchill Downs is the $3,000,000 Kentucky Derby for 3-year-olds at one mile and a quarter. Approximate post time for the ‘Derby: 6:57 PM ET/3:57 PM PT.

Race 9: First level allowance (for fillies & mares 3-year-olds & upward at six furlongs on Tapeta)

1. Canam Gal (Jockey Alejandro Gomez…Trainer Bill McLean…morning line odds of 10-1)

2. Daniela Bella (Silvio Amador…Ed Moger Jr…15-1)

3. My Legal Bet (Evin Roman…Jamey Thomas…6-1)

4. Lagatha (Irving Orozco…Reid France …7-2)

5. Emma’s Dance (Assael Espinoza…Ed Moger Jr…12-1)

6. Benson (WIllam Antongeorgi III…Jonathan Wong..20-1)

7. La Aguililla (Santos Rivera…Jesus Ramos…301)

8. Becca Taylor (Armando Ayuso…Steve Miyadi…6-5)

9. Damn the Torpedoes (Brayan Pena…Victor Trujillo …15-1)

10. Tiger Queen (Pedro Terrero…Jack Steiner…10-1)


4-year-old chestnut filly Trojan Clubhouse failed to fire in four races to kick off her career. After a break from May of 2021 to December, she returned in a $5,000 maiden claiming condition and proceeded to wire the field at odds of 10-1. She hit the wire four lengths clear of the runner up finisher and looked like a new filly.

Her next start resulted in a third-place finish-her first try against winners-and she did not take kindly to losing that day. Since the aforementioned loss, Trojan Clubhouse won four consecutive races, including a second level allowance win in her most recent afternoon appearance on April 9.

“When she broke her maiden I thought, ‘Well, we can break a few conditions with her,’” said Trojan Clubhouse’s trainer Reid France. “I didn’t expect her to do this well. She’s just really come around.”

In Friday’s seventh race, a specialized starter allowance, Trojan Clubhouse is likely to go off heavily favored in search of her fifth consecutive trip to the winner’s circle. The race is a starter allowance for “fillies and mares three years old and upward which started for a claiming price of $8,000 or less in 2019-2022.” Because Trojan Clubhouse was in for a $5,000 condition when she broke her maiden last December, she is eligible to compete at the starter $8,000 level.

In all five lifetime victories, Trojan Clubhouse has been on the lead. With other pace signed on in Friday’s seventh race, France believes his filly is versatile enough to stalk the speed if need be.

“I don’t think she needs the lead,” said France confidently.

France mentioned two mares he worked with, Cowboy’s Daughter and Grade I placed Mended, as racers in the past who went on lengthy win streaks while continuously climbing up the class ladder.

“It seems like the fillies and mares go on these streaks more than the boys,” said France. “They get really confident. They find that will to win and they thrive.”

Eight races made the Friday overnight. Late first post time on Friday of 2:00 PM. Fans who attend the races can watch and wager on Kentucky Oaks Day from Churchill Downs and other tracks around the country.

Race 7: Starter allowance (For fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward at one mile on the Tapeta)

1. Chieftain’s Lady (Jockey Julien Couton…trainer Eddie Rich…morning line odds of 6-1)

2. Proof of Jazz (Pedro Terrero…Marcelino Trujillo…8-1)

3. Trojan Clubhouse (Armando Ayuso…Reid France…6-5)

4. Bold Article (Evin Roman…O.J. Jauregui…8-1)

5. Styledome (Irving Orozco…D. Wayne Baker…9-2)

6. Mybluebell (Brayan Pena…Sammy Calvario…5-1)

7. Mulhima (Alejandro Gomez…Mike Lenzini…8-1)


It’s this year’s addition of Kentucky Derby picks! We asked some folks from the Golden Gate Racing Community to share their top picks for this year’s big race:

Assael Espinoza (jockey): Taiba “The way he won the Santa Anita Derby first time routing was pretty impressive. He performed like a Kentucky Derby winner.”

Chris Carpenter (owner): White Abarrio “I really like the way he’s come back since the small break he received after a race in November. It just depends what kind of trip he can navigate.”

Matt Dinerman (announcer): Epicenter “I think Taiba is the most raw-talented horse in the race, but he better be special to win off of just two races against what looks like a super strong field this year. I watched Zandon win at Keeneland, and he sure looks like a horse that will relish the mile and a quarter. But the more I think about it, the more I feel that Epicenter could be the next big horse. He’s winning with more in the tank and has a good foundation of races in him.”

Reid France (trainer): Taiba “He reminds me of Justify.”

Doug Gooby (mutual manager): Taiba “He already beat his stablemate [Messier]. He’s lightly raced but I think there’s room for improvement, and he gets [jockey] Mike Smith. Money Mike always shows up for the big races. If the track comes up off, then I give longshot Tiz the Bomb a shot.”

O.J. Jauregui (trainer): Messier “He’ll be ready for his biggest effort yet.”

Steve Martinelli (racing secretary and morning line maker): Taiba “Only a special horse could do what he did last time off one maiden sprint win. He beat, up to that point, the best 3-year-old in California [Messier] on the square. If he can work out a trip, he will wear the roses after only his third trip to the post.”

Monty Meier (trainer): Classic Causeway “His trainer Brian Lynch is an old friend of mine and Classic Causeway’s gallop girl comes from a family I used to ride for. I’ve seen pictures of him on Facebook and he looks really good. Best of luck to them.”

Irving Orozco (jockey) “I don’t have a pick in the Derby; it’s really competitive. But I like Secret Oath in the Kentucky Oaks.”

Fernando Navarro (jockey agent) White Abarrio “I liked his win in the Florida Derby a lot. That was such a game effort. I’ve always been a fan of his running style.”

Bruce Philipie (owner): Epicenter and Messier “I always choose the best jockey/trainer combination. My longshot would be Charge It for Luis Saez and Todd Pletcher.”

Jonathan Wong (trainer) Zandon “He comes off a huge race. He should get some pace to run into and he won on an off-track last time. If it’s raining, that won’t hurt him.”

Blaine Wright (trainer): Epicenter “[Trainer Steve] Asmussen is due for his Derby win. His horse is winning those prep races with ease.”


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 2: Loud Fusaichi (New trainer Reid France…new owners Albert and Kathleen Mattivi LLC)

Race 3: Lemon Zinger (Isidro Tamayo…Jerry Edwards)

Race 6: Magic Tiger (Ruby Thomas…Jeff Chain and Ray Thomas)

Race 6: Railsplitter (Ed Moger Jr…Bill Meikle)

Race 6: Sugar Beets (Victor Trujillo…Lester Hunsucker, Jose Paredes and Trujillo)


Race 1: Action for Autism (D. Wayne Baker…Kevin Birdsall and Baker)

Race 4: Absolute Scenes (Isidro Tamayo…Leon Scott)

Race 4: Miss Ever Ready (Isidro Tamayo…Johnny Taboada)

Race 4: Nicole Grace (Ruby Thomas…Donald Jacklin and Thomas)


Race 2: Quick Time (Mike Lenzini…John Parker)

Race 2: Rock N Roll Song (Owner/Trainer Lorenzo Ruiz)

Race 2: Stand in Your Love (Gary Greiner…Renee Greiner)

Race 8: Emerald Magic (Bill McLean…Brian Earley and McLean)

Race 8: Handsome Gary (Leobardo Rivera…Manuela Franco Sosa)

Race 10: Minoso (Tim McCanna…Patrick LePley)

FINISH LINES: The Saturday co-feature is Race 3, a first level allowance for 3-year-old sprinters at 6 furlongs. Big Papa Steve and Little Casino have both won at this condition before and take another crack at it. Other contenders include recent starter allowance winner Meetmeattheclub, the speedy Nuestro Engreido and impressive maiden winner Unto Thee…Best wishes to jockey Ruben Fuentes, who ships his tack to Canterbury Park in Minnesota after a stint at Golden Gate this winter…Also, good luck to jockey Kevin Orozco, who begins a Spring/Summer stint at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington next week…California Derby winner Il Bellator and Silky Sullivan winner Royal ‘n Rando are likely to meet in the Alcatraz Stakes at one mile on turf on May 1. Also, possible to join that cast is Boise and Highland Ghost, runner up finishers in the California Derby and Silky Sullivan, respectively…Last Friday and Saturday, one ticket holder scooped the Pick 6 jackpot. $4,868 is carried over into Friday’s Golden Pick Six jackpot wager from Sunday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes Gold Rush Weekend Edition: Friday, April 29, 2022


Hard-knocking 5-year-old Tom’s Surprise has beaten second level allowance foes twice this year. Over time, Northern California racing fans have seen Tom’s Surprise show a lethal turn of speed in his races, passing rivals quickly while finishing his races full of energy.

Trainer Jack Steiner is looking forward to seeing how Tom’s Surprise handles the toughest task of his career when he faces 13 other runners in the marquee race on Gold Rush Weekend Saturday, April 30: the $250,000 Grade 3 San Francisco Mile. The one-mile turf route features a large number of Southern California invaders and some of the best routers in Northern California.

“We’re just really excited and honored to be in the race,” said Steiner. “Our horse is doing really well. We just hope he breaks well and works out a good trip. We’re running against a big field, so getting a good trip is going to be especially important. He’s coming into the race as good as he could be.”

Tom’s Surprise was claimed by Steiner and owners Remmah Racing Inc. for $20,000 in November. Since then, the son of turf router Tom’s Tribute has earned over $100,000 and won four races for his current connections.

“He’s been really good to us,” said Steiner. “We’re proud to be a part of a special horse like him.”

Another entrant in the ‘Mile that has been good to his connections is Camino Del Paraiso, a 4-time stakes winner at Golden Gate who was purchased for $1,000 as a youngster. Since then, he has earned $620,332 for trainer O.J. Jauregui and owners Paradise Road Ranch. The 9-year-old veteran comes off a poor effort at Turf Paradise in a stake race on March 11, but trainer Jauregui believes he has an excuse for Camino Del Paraiso’s poor showing.

“I don’t think he handled the turf course over there,” said Jauregui. “The turf track there is a lot different than the courses in California. He was sort of just spinning his wheels out there. He’s come back and worked well since the race. We’re giving it a go.”

Four Grade 3 winners are entered in the San Francisco Mile: Delaware (trained by Paddy Gallagher), Ecrivain (Richard Mandella), Freeport Joe (Gloria Haley) and Restrainedvengence (Val Brinkerhoff). Get Her Number, who won the 2020 American Pharoah Stakes as a 2-year-old, is the only Grade I winner in the field. He is trained by Ruben Alvarado, who also saddles California-bred stakes winner and Grade 2 placed router Indian Peak. Earlier in his career, Indian Peak was based at Golden Gate with trainer Quinn Howey.

Nolde, a Grade 2 winner, may have the most peculiar storyline out of any horse in the race. Conditioned by local trainer Steve Sherman, the son of Pioneerof the Nile has not been seen since an off-the-board finish in the 2019 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita. In the summer of that year, Nolde was victorious in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby. Nolde has posted several fast workouts leading up to his 2022 debut and will be guided by Northern California mainstay jockey Pedro Terrero.

Another interesting storyline is trainer Richard Baltas, who won last year’s San Francisco Mile with Whisper Not and the 2020 edition campaigning Neptune’s Storm. Seeking a three-peat, Baltas sends up Vanzzy, a Grade 3 placed 5-year-old who won the Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park in 2020. Most recently, Vanzzy won a Santa Anita allowance race on March 25 with jockey Joe Bravo, who retains the mount in the ‘Mile.

Lastly, we turn our attention to Restrainedvengence, who ran third in the 2021 San Francisco Mile and completed the trifecta in the Grade I Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. He makes his second start off a layoff for trainer Val Brinkerhoff, having come up with a “clunker” three weeks ago in the John Shear Mile Stakes at Santa Anita.

A 12-race program kicks off on Saturday at 1:15 PM. The San Francisco Mile is the first leg of the Late Pick 4 sequence, which will have a guaranteed pool of $200,000. 

Race 9: The $250,000 Grade 3 San Francisco Mile (for 3-year-olds and upward at one mile on turf)

1. Freeport Joe (Jockey Ruben Fuentes…Trainer Gloria Haley…morning line odds of 20-1)

2. Indian Peak (Irving Orozco…Ruben Alvarado…10-1)

3. Harmon (Julien Couton…Monty Meier…12-1)

4. Vanzzy (Joe Bravo…Richard Baltas…4-1)

5. Jimmy Blue Jeans (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis…15-1)

6. Evening Sun (Brice Blanc…Jeff Mullins..6-1)

7. Tiz Plus (Jose Valdivia Jr…Mike Puype…6-1)

8. Delaware (William Antongeorgi III…Paddy Gallagher…20-1)

9. Camino Del Paraiso (Catalino Martinez…O.J. Jauregui…15-1)

10. Nolde (Pedro Terrero…Steve Sherman…20-1)

11. Restrainedvengence (Edwin Maldonado…Val Brinkerhoff..5-1)

12. Tom’s Surprise (Armando Ayuso…Jack Steiner..12-1)

13. Get Her Number (Evin Roman…Ruben Alvarado…10-1)

14. Ecrivain (Jessica Pyfer…Richard Mandella…9-2)


A Washington State champion as a 3-year-old last year, Kentucky-bred Top Executive begins his 4-year-old campaign with a tough task ahead of him. Entered to compete in the Lost in the Fog Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward at six furlongs on Tapeta this Saturday, Wright understands Top Executive will need to run his A+ race to have a shot at the gold medal.

“Going from three to four, it can be a big difference for these horses,” said Blaine. “Sometimes horses are really solid at three and don’t take the step forward against older horses. Other times, they really mature and do just fine.”

So the question becomes: does Wright feel Top Executive has what it takes to move forward?

“Well, he’s training really well,” answered Wright. “He seems like a more professional horse. He’s grown a little bit physically and I think he’s gotten stronger. I’m really happy with how he’s coming into the race on Saturday.”

Kevin Orozco, who has been working Top Executive in the mornings, agrees with Wright’s assessment.

“He’s more mature now,” said Orozco. “He’s been training really good.”

At Emerald Downs last year, Top Executive won a trio of stakes races-with Orozco aboard-at distances ranging from six furlongs to one-mile and a sixteenth.

Starting his 3-year-old season in April of 2021, Top Executive was victorious off a seven-and-a-half-month layoff while sprinting on the Tapeta at Golden Gate. That day, he defeated multiple stakes winner Top Harbor. With a similar pattern timing wise this year, Wright isn’t concerned with fitness.

“From that race [last year], we know he can run well fresh,” said Wright. “We didn’t get a prep race for him, so I had to train him up to this race. I’ve got three five furlong works and three six-furlong works into him, so he should be fit and ready.”

Among the nine entrants Top Executive will face Saturday is Lost in the Fog defending champion Anyportinastorm, who easily won the 2021 edition by two and a half lengths. In 2019, Anyportinastorm also took home the Lost in the Fog trophy, defeating an above average group as the favorite. The 8-year-old horse makes his first start since the August 15 Longacres Mile and will be ridden by Assael Espinoza. He also makes his first start for the Steve Miyadi barn.

Race 10: The $75,000 Lost in the Fog Stakes (for 3-year-olds & upward at six furlongs on Tapeta)

1. Ultimate Bango (Jockey Catalino Martinez…Trainer Sammy Calvario…morning line odds 6-1)

2. Anyportinastorm (Assael Espinoza…Steve Miyadi…7-2)

3. Murphys Tiger (Armando Ayuso…Tim McCanna…8-1)

4. Bettor Trip Nick (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong…3-1)

5. Cool Mountain Lad (Pedro Terrero…Victor Trujillo…8-1)

6. Strongconstitution (William Antongeorgi III…Doug O’Neill..9-2)

7. Clem Labine (Irving Orozco…Isidro Tamayo…20-1)

8. Nero (Joe Bravo…Neil Drysdale…10-1)

9. Italiano (Ruben Fuentes…Isidro Tamayo…12-1)

10. Top Executive (Kevin Orozco…Blaine Wright…20-1)


Guaranteed pools in the Late Pick 4 and Late Pick 5 bets will be in play this Friday, April 29 through Sunday May 1. The Late Pick 5 features the last five races on any given race day while the Late Pick 4 is comprised of the final four races on a race card.

On Friday afternoon, there will be a guaranteed Late Pick 5 pool of $50,000. The Late Pick 4 is guaranteed at $100,000. On Saturday and Sunday, The Late Pick 5 is guaranteed at $100,000, and the Late Pick 4 guarantee is set at $200,000. 

The Late Pick 4 and Pick 5 sequences on Saturday are especially enticing. 47 horses-with 3 stakes including the 14-horse San Francisco Mile-are part of the Late Pick 4 sequence. The San Francisco Mile, Race 9, is the first leg of the Late Pick 4 on Saturday. 56 horses are entered in the Late Pick 5 sequence, beginning with Race 8: the California Oaks.


Trainer Jose Bautista is quietly confident that 3-year-old colt Il Bellator will put up a solid effort in the $100,000 California on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. The question, says Bautista, is what type of race shape will form in the early stages.

“My horse can be close [to the pace], but he likes to stalk and then pass horses,” said Bautista. “I just hope nobody gets loose on the lead.”

Nonetheless, Il Bellator is reportedly doing very well. Recently, the son of Shackleford worked six furlongs in an official time of 1:13 flat. The aforementioned time was given to Il Bellator by official Golden Gate clockers. Bautista timed Il Bellator a tad quicker.

“I got him in 1:12 and 4,” said Bautista. “He worked really good. He’s doing super right now. For a colt, he’s very laid back. I’ve really liked him since Day 1, and so far he’s done a lot right. He’s earned a shot in the ‘Derby.”

5-2 morning line shot Il Bellator was set to run against five other entrants. With that, Worse Read Sanchez, who was part of the California Derby field for trainer Doug O’Neill, was re-entered in the California-bred Silky Sullivan Stakes on Sunday.

Possibly a small field assembled, sure, but it is no easy race to win. The morning line favorite is Cabo Spirit, winner of the Eddie Logan Stakes on turf at Santa Anita in January. Most recently, the $575,000 2-year-old in training purchase finished in midfield against a tough group of East Coasters in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks Stakes at Turfway Park. In February, Cabo Spirit placed second in the Robert Lewis Stakes behind Kentucky Derby contender Messier.

2021 Gold Rush Stakes winner Boise makes his first start as a gelding and has drilled several quick workouts in the mornings. Il Capitano held off a late rally from Midnight Mammoth on the turf in an allowance optional claiming race and face each other once again in the California Derby. The former gelding was in for the $50,000 tag and subsequently claimed by trainer Steve Miyadi and owner Wong’s Stable.

Race 6: The $100,000 California Derby (for 3-year-olds at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)

1. Il Capitano (Jockey Evin Roman…Trainer Steve Miyadi…morning line odds of 6-1)

2. Il Bellator (Alejandro Gomez…Jose Bautista…5-2)

3. Boise (Armando Ayuso…Jonathan Wong…6-1)

4. Cabo Spirit (Joe Bravo…George Papaprodromou…9-5)

5. Worse Read Sanchez (Pedro Terrero…Doug O’Neill…7-2)

6. Midnight Mammoth (Assael Espinoza…Steve Sherman…8-1)


Always well regarded by her connections, 3-year-old filly Anthony’s Cleopatra makes her stakes debut in Race 8 on Saturday, the $75,000 California Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on Tapeta. Trained by Tim McCanna, Anthony’s Cleopatra has won two sprint races and finished as the runner up behind the talented Unraptured in her first career start routing about a month ago.

Anthony’s Cleopatra has a right to take a step forward, now with a route race under her belt. The Washington bred daughter of Constitution draws the outside post with regular rider Frank Alvarado. Anthony’s Cleopatra has been bet down to favoritism in all three lifetime starts and figures to get significant play again on Saturday. With that in mind, 5-2 morning line second choice Anthony’s Cleopatra has a stern class test ahead of her.

The 2-1 morning line favorite is My Kentucky Girl, who comes off a debut sprint victory at Santa Anita on April 2. The Jonathan Wong trainee has always trained at Golden Gate and will be making her route debut with jockey Evin Roman, who has been aboard My Kentucky Girl in many of her workouts. Wong also runs Distorted Queen, a recent third place finisher against allowance foes on turf.

Sparka was purchased after 10 races in Great Britain by owners Ron Charles and Sam Gordon and was immediately shipped to trainer Manny Badilla’s barn in Northern California. On April 8, she defeated a group of maiden special routers in a successful North American debut. Now she faces stakes company in her first try against winners.

Music Festival was a decisive allowance winner on February 20 and freshens up since that effort. The runner up finisher in the race, Vincero Grande, returned to romp in a first level allowance race herself. The Steve Sherman trainee has won two races in a row and sports a steady work pattern leading up to Saturday’s run.

One of three Southern California invaders entered is She’s Bulletproof. The daughter of Idiot Proof competes in a two-turn race for the first time for trainer Ruben Alvarado. An allowance winner in February at Santa Anita, She’s Bulletproof is a full sibling to stakes winner Bulletproof One and stakes placed In Our A. Both older siblings are strictly sprinters. Other Santa Anita shippers include maiden winners Exactly Wendy and She’s Got A Way.

Longshot Soo Brooklyn rounds out the field.

Race 8: The $75,000 California Oaks (for 3-year-old fillies at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)

1. She’s Bulletproof (Jockey Irving Orozco…Trainer Ruben Alvarado…morning line odds 6-1)

2. Music Festival (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman…10-1)

3. My Kentucky Girl (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong…2-1)

4. Soo Brooklyn (Silvio Amador…Howie Rubin…50-1)

5. Distorted Queen (Jessica Pyfer…Jonathan Wong …12-1)

6. Sparka (Pedro Terrero…Manny Badilla…5-1)

7. Exactly Wendy (Armando Ayuso…Doug O’Neill …12-1)

8. She’s Got A Way (Edwin Maldonado…Peter Eurton…8-1)

9. Anthony’s Cleopatra (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna …5-2


Leading Golden Gate trainer Jonathan Wong is coming to Gold Rush Weekend swinging. Earlier this week, Wong reported that he has a total of ten horses signed up for stakes actions on Saturday.

We start with the California Derby for 3-year-olds, where Wong campaigns the Temple City colt Boise. Since a midfield finish in the El Camino Real Derby last February, Boise has been gelded and is reportedly working better than ever in the mornings. In 2021, Boise won the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate and was fourth, beaten a half-length, in the Qatar Golden Mile on Breeders Cup Friday at Del Mar. Jockey Armando Ayuso is slated to ride Boise for the first time on Saturday.

“Boise is training really, really good,” said Wong. “I think being a gelding has helped him. He’s settled down and he’s not getting as rank early on. Mentally, he seems a lot more into it. I’m hoping that he breaks, Armando can loose rein him out of the gate, and he can sort of just place himself.”

Two 3-year-old fillies trained by Wong will race in the $75,000 California Oaks. Coincidentally, both sophomores are owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds. The first of the duo, My Kentucky Girl, was a $475,000 yearling purchase by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. She kicked off her career with a maiden special weight victory over dirt at Santa Anita. She tries routing and stakes company in her second lifetime race.

“I thought her first race was super impressive,” said Wong. “We were just trying to get a race into her and see where she was at. She exceeded expectations. We knew she could run but figured she might need a race. We were actually going to run in a sprint stake at Santa Anita, but we heard [Grade I winner] Eda was going to run in the race and we didn’t feel running her against a Grade I winner so soon was ideal. She has always trained at Golden Gate and gotten over the track great. I think she’ll like routing.”

The second California Oaks contender, Distorted Queen, broke her maiden at Golden Gate while routing two turns and returned to run third on turf in an allowance race earlier this month.

“We’d love to get her some black type,” said Wong. “We put her in the maiden race at Golden Gate and told [jockey] Bryan [Pena], ‘Just go to the lead and see what happens’ and she won. I don’t think she wants to pass horses. When she gets behind, I don’t think she tries. Jessica Pyfer is riding her [on Saturday]. We’re going to make the lead at all costs.”

In the Golden Poppy Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile and a sixteenth on turf, Wong saddles a pair of entrants: Clockstrikestwelve and Sloane Garden. Clockstrikeswelve, a 3-time stakes placed mare, has been running against salty company at Santa Anita as of late. Last year at Golden Gate, she unofficially ran second-beaten a nose-to multiple stakes winner Avenue de France in the Luther Burbank Stakes. Coincidentally, Avenue de France is the 9-5 morning line favorite in this Saturday’s Golden Poppy. Although Clockstrikestwelve was eventually disqualified for interference in the stretch, she proved she can be competitive at a high level.

“She’s run against some good company recently. Bye Bye Bertie and Midnight Jamboree…those are pretty sharp horses,” said Wong, referring to mares Clockstrikestwelve has finished behind in recent starts. “She’s coming into this race better than she has in her last couple races. She’s more of a grinder that comes and picks up the pieces. Hopefully she can pick them all up and win. If not, hopefully we can pick up some more black type with her.”

Winner of the 2020 Golden Poppy, 6-year-old mare Sloane Garden exits a second level allowance race in which she scored a decisive two length victory. Frank Alvarado, who was aboard for the win, will be back in the saddle on Saturday.

“Frank has ridden her frequently and he’s been working her. He says she’s going great and he’s really happy with how she’s coming into the race,” said Wong. “[Frank] knows her better than we do, to be honest. I defer to him. I don’t think she’s one that wants to come from too far out of it but if the pace is slow, she is tactical enough to sit closer.”

In for a $62,500 claiming tag the last time she raced, Wong claimed Sloane Garden for an ownership group based in Kentucky. Sloane Garden, a 5-time winner and a 2-time stakes victor, has earned $163,947 throughout a 20-race career. Sloane Garden makes her swan song in the 2022 Golden Poppy.

“After this race, she is going to Australia to be bred over there,” said Wong. “She’s had a great career.”

Two of the best filly and mare sprinters on the grounds, Dynasty of Her Own and Sadie Bluegrass, are barn buddies set to face off in the Camilla Urso Stakes at 5 furlongs on turf. Sadie Bluegrass has been a picture of consistency for Team Wong. From 20 lifetime starts, she has won 11 races, with 3 seconds and 3 third place finishes. In her last start two months ago, she defeated stakes winner and subsequent second allowance winner Rebalation. Last year, Sadie Bluegrass ran in the Camilla Urso and finished third while suffering a traffic-filled journey.

“She had a brutal trip last year. She might’ve been best in that race,” said Wong. “She gives you everything she has every time. She’s as honest as they come. I wish I had a barn full of horses like her.”  

Dynasty of Her Own, a multiple stakes winner, sports an unparalleled 10 wins from 11 starts on the Golden Gate Tapeta. That said, she is 0 for 4 on turf. Like stablemate Sadie Bluegrass, Dynasty of Her Own also competed in last year’s Camilla Urso and ran fifth with a less-than-ideal trip.

“Yeah, she didn’t get the greatest of trips last year either,” confirmed Wong. “She broke a little slow, got shuffled back, and came on running. She’s 100% better on Tapeta but has the class to fit with this field.”

Last time out, Dynasty of Her Own placed third in the Grade 3 Las Flores on dirt at Santa Anita, finishing behind top California filly and mare sprinter Edgeway.

Wong also has two also-eligibles in the field of 12: Day Plan and The Pharaoh’s Girl. They will need a scratch or two by 10 AM on Saturday to draw into the main body of the field.

Finally, Wong tightens the girth of 6-year-old gelding Bettor Trip Nick in the Lost in the Fog. Like barnmate Dynasty of Her Own, Bettor Trip Nick has shown an affinity for the Tapeta, having posted 7 wins from 10 starts over the surface so far. His last two starts have resulted in wire-to-wire victories against allowance and California-bred stakes company, respectively.

“With him, it’s pretty simple: take them as far as you can,” said Wong. “He wants the lead. If he makes the lead, he’s tough. He’s got a lot of speed and he’s got a lot of heart. This is a good spot for him. He usually runs well fresh, too.”

Wong is looking forward to Saturday. 15 horses of his are entered on the 12-race card.

“Like everyone else, we’re looking forward to Saturday,” said Wong. “We’re hoping to win some races and have a good time.”

Race 7: $75,000 Golden Poppy Stakes (for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)

  1. Buyback (Jockey Edwin Maldonado…Trainer Blaine Wright…morning line odds of 10-1)
  2. Northwest Factor (Pedro Terrero…Manny Badilla…6-1)
  3. Clockstrikestwelve (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong…10-1)
  4. Avenue de France (Assael Espinoza…Leonard Powell…9-5)
  5. Misty Cat (Silvio Amador…Dan Franko…15-1)
  6. Sloane Garden (Frank Alvarado…Jonthan Wong…3-1)
  7. Miss Addie Pray (Irving Orozco…Paddy Gallagher…12-1)
  8. Bubbles On Ice (William Antongeorgi II….Michael McCarthy…9-2)

Race 11: The $75,000 Camilla Urso Stakes (for fillies and mares 3-year-olds & upward at five furlongs on turf)

1. Grinningeartoear (Jockey Pedro Terrero…Trainer Manny Badilla …morning line odds 20-1)

2. Lotsa Pepper (Assael Espinoza…Manny Badilla…15-1)

3. Fairy Tale Bliss (Ruben Fuentes…Sergio Ledezma…20-1)

4. Never For Money (Edwin Maldonado …Andy Mathis …6-1)

5. Tip Top Gal (Kevin Orozco…Quentin B. Miller…20-1)

6. Dynasty of Her Own (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong..5-1)

7. Sadie Bluegrass (Armando Ayuso…Jonathan Wong …6-1)

8. Rebalation (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna …7-2)

9. Rakassah (Jessica Pyfer…Phil D’Amato…3-1)

10. Carolina Mia (Santos Rivera…Felix Ronda…6-1)


11. The Pharaoh’s Girl (William Antongeorgi II…Jonathan Wong…8-1)

12. Day Plan (Irving Orozco…Jonathan Wong…15-1)

FINISH LINES: Two California-bred stakes-the Silky Sullivan for California-bred or sired 3-year-olds and the Campanile for California-bred or sired 3-year-old fillies-are part of a 10-race program on Sunday. Both co-features are run at a mile on the grass. First post on Sunday is 12:45 PM…5 Southern California riders will be in town on Saturday for stakes engagements: Brice Blanc, “Jersey Joe” Bravo, Edwin Maldonado, Jessica Pyfer, and Jose Valdivia JrXBTV’s Zoe Cadman and Jeff Siegel will be on the Golden Gate Fields track video feed for the last three or four races on Friday and throughout the Saturday and Sunday festivities. Dave Weaver will be on site Friday through Sunday covering races for TVG while Rich Perloff will join him on Saturday and Sunday…The third race on Sunday is a fun allowance race featuring stakes winners American Farmer, Navy Armed Guard and Stalking Shadow…Stakes placed In Our A is the headliner in a first level allowance race on Friday that goes as the signature race of the day. $23,756 is carried over into the Golden Pick 6 jackpot wager heading into Friday. First post on Friday is 1:15 PM.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Friday, April 22, 2022


The co-featured event on a nine-race card this Friday at Golden Gate is a first level allowance sprint for 3-year-old filles. Eight sophomore fillies entered to run in the five-furlong turf sprint, though one defection has already been confirmed. Trainer Steve Sherman relayed Thursday morning that Zuboshi, who drew the inside post position, is set to scratch.

One entrant definite to run-barring unforeseen circumstances-is 3-year-old filly Miss Union. The California-bred daughter of Unionize kicked off her career on July 30, entered for a $12,500 claiming tag that day. Sent off at 9-1 odds in a field of six, she stalked the pace early on before drawing away from her competition late, winning the contest by almost four lengths.

Nine races later…and here we are today. Miss Union now sports 4 wins, 2 seconds and 3 third place finishes from 10 lifetime starts. Among her quartet of victories are a pair of first level allowance wins.

She has been an admirable item for the Isidro Tamayo barn, to say the least.

“She’s been a pleasant surprise,” said Tamayo. “She started her career for twelve-five and ever since then has been improving all the time. She doesn’t really do anything wrong, but she’s never been a filly that wows you that much in the mornings. She’s small [in frame] but tries hard.”

Miss Union’s confidence is likely sky-high. She exits a first level allowance race on April 1 in which she sat well off a slow pace and flew home down the lane in the latter stages, outfinishing runner up finisher and Washington State stakes winner Slack Tide. Earlier in her career, Miss Union was keen to race on the lead. Now, says Tamayo, she has learned to relax and run on in the final quarter mile.

“After about her fourth race, she was getting really aggressive in her gallops,” said Tamayo. “In her races, she just wanted to run as fast as she could the whole way. We’ve worked with her on settling down and she’s figured it out.”

Tamayo expects Miss Union to receive a good trip if she breaks well on Friday

“She doesn’t need the lead now,” said Tamayo. “Going 5 furlongs, you don’t want to be too far out of it. She has tactical speed.”

Miss Union will need to duplicate her last race to win against the salty bunch assembled on Friday. Slack Tide, who won the Angie C. Stakes at Emerald Downs as a 2-year-old, was valiant in defeat when finished a half-length behind Miss Union on the first of the month. Making the third start in her current form cycle for trainer Blaine Wright, she may be primed for her very best effort.  

Dulce Emma looks to rebound after a fourth-place finish as the 4-5 favorite on April 1. That afternoon, she finished two lengths behind Miss Union. Earlier in the year, Dulce Emma won a maiden special weight race and repeated with a decisive win against first level allowance company. Jesus Ramos gives the call to regular rider Pedro Terrero.

Tamara Mine was a convincing winner of a maiden special weight on February 12 and returned as the favorite at this level, finishing behind Dulce Emma and Miss Union that day. She takes a month and half freshener and picks up the services of jockey Catalino Martinez for her fourth lifetime start.

Amaaza is an intriguing wild card player for trainer Ed Moger Jr. A debut winner as the favorite on March 27, the California-bred by Stanford sports a quick five-furlong drill in 59.80 seconds while prepping for her first career race against winners. Iconic Sky is another maiden victor, last seen finishing ahead of next out winner Jays Angel on March 19. Trainer Andy Mathis employs jockey Assael Espinoza to ride. Mathis and Espinoza have teamed up to strike at a 30% win-clip together.

Starter allowance runner up finisher Lovely Colleen rounds out the field. Conditioned by leading trainer Jonathan Wong, Lovely Colleen will be ridden by Kevin Orozco for the first time.

First post on Friday is 1:15 PM PT.

Race 8 on Friday (First level allowance for 3-year-old fillies at 5 furlongs on turf)

#1 Zuboshi (Jockey Frank Alvarado…Trainer Steve Sherman…morning line odds of 7-2)

#2 Slack Tide (Evin Roman…Blaine Wright…5-1)

#3 Amaaza (Silvio Amador…Ed Moger Jr…6-1)

#4 Iconic Sky (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis…10-1)

#5 Lovely Colleen (Kevin Orozco…Jonathan Wong…8-1)

#6 Tamara Mine (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht…6-1)

#7 Miss Union (William Antongeorgi III…Isidro Tamayo…4-1)

#8 Dulce Emma (Pedro Terrero…Jesus Ramos…9-2)


Southern California based jockey Jessica Pyfer, known for her disciplined work ethic and upbeat attitude, ships her tack north on Friday to guide 5-year-old Brittle and Yoo in the sixth race, a first level allowance for filly and mare routers on Tapeta. This is Pyfer’s first career mount at Golden Gate Fields.

With regards to scheduling, it could not be a more ample time for Pyfer to work on her craft in a new environment; Santa Anita Park takes a week hiatus and is set to resume live racing next Saturday. With that, Golden Gate is the only daytime show in town throughout the Golden State this week.

“Santa Anita isn’t running this week, so I was available to come up [to Golden Gate],” said Pyfer. “The first time I rode away from home was in Saudi Arabia [in February for the International Jockeys Challenge]. This is my second out of town trip. I’m excited and looking forward to it.”

Listed at 7-2 on the morning line, Brittle and Yoo has been ridden by Pyfer in her last four races in Southern California. Two starts ago, Brittle and Yoo ran at Golden Gate and finished third with local rider Ruben Fuentes in the saddle.

“[Brittle and Yoo] is tactical,” said Pyfer. “I’ve worked with her for a while now-in races and in the mornings. She’s a pretty nice mare. I think she’ll run well.”

Jessica, the stepdaughter of top Southern California trainer Phil D’Amato, took out her jockey’s license in late 2020. The following year, Pyfer won 59 races from 557 mounts, amassing purse earnings of $2,857,333 while continuously cracking a top 10 spot in the rider standings at Del Mar, Los Alamitos and Santa Anita. Pyfer was voted the Eclipse Champion Apprentice Jockey of 2021. Pyfer, represented by Southern California agent Brandon O’Bryan since Day 1, was overjoyed to receive the award.

“Winning the Eclipse Award was something I was shooting for last year,” said Pyfer. “All year long, you have to work really hard. And when you’re doing well, in the back of your mind you know you’ve got a shot to win it. Once I won it, it took a while to sink in. It’s really an honor to win an award of that caliber.”

Pyfer relayed that, after Friday’s sixth race, racing fans will see her back in The Bay Area in no time. She is scheduled to return to Golden Gate next Saturday, Day 1 of the 2-day annual Gold Rush Weekend, which features six stakes races including the Grade 3 $250,000 San Francisco Mile.

Jessica’s mounts next week? Stay tuned.


Southern California based trainer Doug O’Neill is sending five runners to compete at Golden Gate over the next three days. In the co-featured third race on Sunday, a 5-furlong turf dash for 3-year-olds, O’Neill campaigns 2-1 morning line favorite Franklin One Star.

A California-bred by Danzing Candy, Franklin One Star broke his maiden at first asking as a 2-year-old at Los Alamitos. Since then, he has lost four consecutive races against winners. Three of the four aforementioned starts came against California-bred company. In each race, the comment lines note that he encountered trouble during the race. Franklin One Star ran fifth in a field of nine against older horses in his most recent start. All things considered, Franklin One Star faces an easier field in Sunday’s third race than what he has seen in his past few starts at Santa Anita.

A quintet of local contenders looks to play spoiler for the out-of-town shipper. The second choice on the morning line is Artemus Gordon, who has won two races in a row for trainer Tim McCanna. A $1,000 sale purchase by Misremembered, Artemus Gordon won a maiden special weight two races ago and returned to beat starter allowance foes in his first race against winners. He tries turf for the first time on Sunday.

Trip to Spain suffered an unfortunate, traffic filled trip two starts ago before returning and placing third as the favorite against similar company. Another that makes his turf debut, the son of Stay Thirsty looks to put it all together in his third start off a layoff. In two races as a 2-year-old last year, Trip to Spain broke his maiden before running second in the Graduation Stakes for California-breds at Del Mar. Trainer Jamey Thomas has tasked jockey Evin Roman with working out a good trip from the inside post position.

Trainer Jonathan Wong saddles two entrants: Fascinated and Unreal. The former makes his first start as a gelding after a pair of off the board finishes at this level. The latter colt completed the trifecta in an April 8 race at the first level allowance condition, finishing ahead of Trip to Spain that day. Both Wong trainees are co-owned and bred by Jason Hall.

Recent winner Bandera Azteca completes the field. He has the most race experience in the field, with nine starts to his name. He is also the only entrant in the race with three career trips to the winner’s circle. He earned a career high speed figure-a figure high enough to compete with this field-when defeating $20,000 claimers just two weeks ago. Earlier in the year, he defeated an above average starter allowance group. Victor Trujillo trains and employs Pedro Terrero to ride for the first time.

Golden Gate has carded 9 races on Sunday. One day earlier, Golden Gate also runs a 9-race program. First post each day is 1:15 PM.

Race 3 on Sunday (First level allowance for 3-year-olds at 5 furlongs on turf)

#1 Trip to Spain (Jockey Evin Roman…Trainer Jamey Thomas…morning line odds of 9-2)

#2 Fascinated (Catalino Martinez…Jonathan Wong…8-1)

#3 Bandera Azteca (Pedro Terrero…Victor Trujillo…6-1)

#4 Franklin One Star (Armando Ayuso…Doug O’Neill…2-1)

#5 Unreal (William Antongeorgi III…Jonathan Wong…4-1)

#6 Artemus Gordon (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…5-2)


Nominations for six stakes races on Gold Rush Weekend Saturday, April 30 closed yesterday, April 22 at midnight. The stakes are:

  • $250,000 Grade 3 San Francisco Mile (3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf)
  • $100,000 California Derby (3-year-olds at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)
  • $75,000 California Oaks (3-year-old fillies at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)
  • $75,000 Camilla Urso (fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf)
  • $75,000 Golden Poppy (fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)
  • $75,000 Lost in the Fog (3-year-olds and up at six furlongs on Tapeta)

Nominations for a pair of stakes races on Sunday, May 1 close today, April 22 at midnight. The two races:

  • $75,000 Campanile (California-bred or sired 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf)
  • $75,000 Silky Sullivan (California-bred or sired 3-year-olds at one mile on turf)

Horsemen who wish to nominate a horse (or horses) for the Sunday stakes races can contact the GGF racing office or stakes coordinator Lisa Jones at (626) 388-8062 (e-mail:

Folks who wish to attend the races on Gold Rush Weekend can visit to purchase tickets. Fans can also visit our website for more information on Gold Rush Weekend, the marquee racing weekend of the year in Northern California!


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 1: Monstrodamous (New trainer Ed Moger Jr…new owner Bill Meikle)

Race 1: Sunset Dragunn (Gary Greiner…Renee Greiner)

Race 5: Can’thelpfallin (D. Wayne Baker…Richard Barton and Baker)

Race 5: Class Code (New Owner/Trainer Dan Franko)

Race 5: Mangotango (Blaine Wright…Ann Clark and Robert Clary)

Race 5: Summer Apparition (Reid France…Albert and Kathleen Mattivi LLC)

Race 6: Hot Rageous (Jonathan Wong…Michael Nentwig)


Race 1: Salto de Tigre (Marcia Stortz…Stan Spano and Stortz)

Race 2: Magic Tiger (Jesus Ramos…Candelario Barragan)

Race 10: Bigfoot City (Jonathan Wong…Johnny Taboada)

Race 10: French Getaway (Owner/Trainer Miguel Ramirez)


Race 3: Galan Gray (Owner/Trainer Dan Markle)

Race 7: Miracle in Motion (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott and Steiner)

FINISH LINES: In the eighth race on Sunday, Great Britain bred 4-year-old filly Natural Colour makes her United States debut for trainer Manny Badilla and owners Ron Charles and Sam Gordon. This outfit has had much success purchasing European runners and winning with them at Golden Gate…Recent first level allowance victor Seattle Bold returns at the same condition in the marquee race of the day on Saturday, a 9-furlong event scheduled for turf…Also on Saturday, a trio of well-bred maidens compete in Race 9. $400,000 sale purchase Lasso Special makes his career debut for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. Owned by Spendthrift Farm, Lasso Special is a half sibling to Grade I winner Declassify. Entered in the same race is the Doug O’Neill trained Bruin Magic, a $225,000 2-year-old in training purchase by Mastery. He is a half sibling to wickedly fast sprinter Nashville. Finally, A.P. Pharoah, by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, is a half sibling to Grade I winner Moreno$7,771 is carried over into the Rolling Super High Five pool for Race 5 on Friday…Happy belated birthday to jockey agent Fernando “Shoes” Navarro, who celebrated his birthday on Wednesday…Happy birthday to Golden Gate Fields Team Member Amanda Howard, who celebrates her birthday later this week.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, April 14, 2022


Every time Crown Kitten steps on the track, she knows the drill. With 54 starts to her name, she has plenty of experience. This Friday, the Florida-bred daughter of Wildcat Heir is entered in Race 6, a first level allowance race for filly and mare sprinters, and faces the toughest field she has seen in quite some time.

Usually, we interview trainers or jockeys in the News and Notes. This week, we decided to get the perspective of an owner. Chris Carpenter, who co-owns Crown Kitten with trainer Bill McLean, shared his thoughts on the 7-year-old mare earlier this week.

“I think she has a lot of confidence right now,” said Carpenter. “These horses-especially ones like her-are competitive and want to be praised when they do well. She’s in great form right now. We’re giving her a shot at [the allowance] level to see where she fits. I think she was a little unlucky to lose last time. She was inside and, once she tipped outside, she ran on really well. She might have been able to win with a little bit better trip [on the outside].”

Carpenter is right; Crown Kitten is definitely stepping up in class. Over the last couple years, Crown Kitten has been most effective at mid-level claiming conditions. At the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, Crown Kitten either won or hit the board in five consecutive races. But after a pair of off-the-board placings in March and April, she was given time off to recuperate from a relatively long campaign.

After the aforementioned break, it took Crown Kitten a couple of races to get back into tip-top shape. But she is back at her best now. In her last four races, Crown Kitten has won twice, lost by a nose to next out winner Marilyn’s Smile, and, in her most recent start, finished a neck behind classy sprinter Queen of the Track.

Coincidentally, we have seen this pattern with Crown Kitten before. After multiple poor performances in early 2020, Crown Kitten was given four and a half months off. It took her four races to win following that layoff and, once she did, kept her good form from late 2020 to early 2021.

“Sometimes that happens with these older horses,” said Carpenter. “You give them some time off and it might take them a few races to get back to their best form. [Rest and recovery] can be a big help for these horses, though.” 

Crown Kitten will be up against a strong field in Friday’s feature. That said, the strongest of the six entrants may scratch. Stakes winner Becca Taylor, tabbed at even money on the morning line, worked a half mile at Santa Anita on Wednesday morning and could bypass the race in favor of a different spot.

Still, other competitors appear with solid form. Lagatha cuts back from a route to a sprint and will be fit for what is her best game: one turn racing. Hot Rageous has shown an affinity for the Tapeta surface and makes her first start since being claimed by trainer Isidro Tamayo for $20,000. Tamayo wins at a 19% strike rate with runners making their first start off a claim. Annie Graham, a stablemate to Becca Taylor, won at this level in May of 2021 against restricted 3-year-old fillies and was given eight months off since that run. Her only afternoon appearance this year, on January 29, resulted in an off-the-board finish in which she suffered a less-from-ideal trip. Go Smiley Go makes her first start off a 3-month layoff and rounds out the field. The last time she won, she defeated a solid group of sprinters at this first level allowance condition.

Eight races are scheduled for Friday, 10 races made the overnight for Saturday, and 9 more end the racing week on Sunday. First post each day is 1:15 PM.

Race 6 on Friday (First level allowance at 6 furlongs on Tapeta for fillies and mares 4 YO and up)

#1 Go Smiley Go (Jockey Assael Espinoza…Trainer Cliff DeLima…morning line odds of 6-1)

#2 Lagatha (Irving Orozco…Reid France…7-2)

#3 Becca Taylor (Armando Ayuso…Steve Miyadi…1-1)

#4 Annie Graham (Alejandro Gomez…Steve Miyadi…10-1)

#5 Hot Rageous (Silvio Amador…Isidro Tamayo…9-2

#6 Crown Kitten (Pedro Terrero…Bill McLean…10-1)


Southern California trainer James Cassidy has needed to be patient with grey/roan gelding Istanbul.

We take you back four years. Istanbul makes his first career start as a 2-year-old in July of 2018 at Del Mar. That day, he finishes second to Roadster, who went on to win the Grade I Santa Anita Derby the following year.

His next four starts come in a span of about 30 months. Multiple layoffs are needed throughout this period. In the four instances in which he made it to the afternoon, Istanbul finished behind quality runners: Game Winner (eventual 2018 Breeders Cup Juvenile winner), Bob and Jackie (eventual Grade 3 winner), Heywoods Beach (eventually Grade 3 placed), and Harbored Memories (eventual allowance winner).

Istanbul takes another layoff-almost a year’s worth of vacation time-before his fifth career race. Cassidy opts to ship the Florida-bred to Golden Gate, with hopes he would finally break his maiden against easier company. Istanbul returns the favor with a smashing five length victory over maiden special weight foes.

Patience is a virtue, right?

Istanbul exits the Golden Gate maiden victory in good shape. Good news. So, Cassidy runs him back about three weeks later in a first level allowance at Santa Anita. He runs a respectable race, finishing a length and a half behind the winner.

Fast forward another three weeks and here we are in present day. Istanbul is entered again-this time in a first level allowance sprint on Saturday at Golden Gate. The son of He’s Had Enough returns to the only surface (Tapeta) in which he has won over. Although he has the least experience in the field of seven, he appears as a legit player to beat in a contentious heat.

A second Southern California invader in the field is Truth Seeker. Earlier this year, the Manny Ortiz trainee rallied on for second at this level behind Hey Mate. Expect him to produce a rally from off the pace with jockey William Antongeorgi III, who guided Truth Seeker the last time he visited the Bay Area.

On March 13, Torpedo Away rallied up the fence to pick up a nose win at this level in his first start off a claim for trainer Blaine Wright. He makes his second start for the Wright barn. R M C Hook’em finished two lengths behind Torpedo Away after being up close to a scorching pace (21 seconds flat, 44 and 2/5 seconds for the half) and tiring in the final sixteenth of a mile. In January, R M C Hook’em beat Torpedo Away.

Exceed Speed Limit has won two races in a row for trainer Steve Sherman and seeks a three-peat while receiving a bump up in class. He draws the undesirable rail post position. Handr’sdream is the only horse in the race that appears fast enough to press Istanbul on the pace while Alvaaro makes his 2021 debut and rounds out the field.

Race 8 on Sunday (First level allowance at 6 furlongs on Tapeta for 4-year-olds and up)

#1 Exceed Speed Limit (Jockey Pedro Terrero…Trainer Steve Sherman)

#2 Istanbul (Evin Roman…James Cassidy)

#3 R M C Hook’em (Irving Orozco…Victor Trujillo)

#4 Torpedo Away (Frank Alvarado…Blaine Wright)

#5 Handr’sdream (Silvio Amador…Isidro Tamayo)

#6 Alvaaro (Santos Rivera…Victor Trujillo)

#7 Truth Seeker (William Antongeorgi III…Manny Ortiz)


Nominations for six stakes races on Gold Rush Weekend Saturday, April 30 close next Thursday, April 21 at midnight. The stakes:

  • $250,000 Grade 3 San Francisco Mile (3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf)
  • $100,000 California Derby (3-year-olds at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)
  • $75,000 California Oaks (3-year-old fillies at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)
  • $75,000 Camilla Urso (fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf)
  • $75,000 Golden Poppy (fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)
  • $75,000 Lost in the Fog (3-year-olds and up at six furlongs on Tapeta)

Nominations for a pair of stakes races on Sunday, May 1 close next Friday, April 22 at midnight. Those two races are:

  • $75,000 Campanile (California-bred or sired 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf)
  • $75,000 Silky Sullivan (California-bred or sired 3-year-olds at one mile on turf)

Horsemen who wish to nominate a horse (or horses) can contact the GGF racing office or stakes coordinator Lisa Jones at (626) 388-8062 (e-mail:

Folks who wish to attend the races on Gold Rush Weekend can visit to purchase tickets. Fans can also visit our website for more information on Gold Rush Weekend, the marquee racing weekend of the year in Northern California!


Weather permitting, four possible San Francisco Mile starters will gallop on the outside rail of the turf course within the next week. These gallops were originally scheduled for Saturday, but with rain hitting the Bay Area on Thursday and projected showers off-and-on this Saturday, those gallops could be moved to Tuesday morning. The horses-whichever day they gallop-will be on the turf course at 10:30 AM.

The four horses scheduled to tour the turf course are stakes winner Freeport Joe, stakes placed Ultimate Bango and the O.J. Jauregui trained pair of Camino Del Paraiso and Tesoro.

Freeport Joe (trained by Gloria Haley) won the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap in November last and subsequently scored a pair of victories against open allowance company. Most recently, he finished fifth as the favorite in an allowance event on turf after missing the break and racing wide on both turns.

Ultimate Bango (trained by Sammy Calvario) is possible for the ‘Mile after being claimed for $25,000 by owner Mary Tucker at Santa Anita. Although Ultimate Bango has hit the board in four California-bred sprint stakes (including the 2021 Oakland Stakes and the 2020 El Dorado Shooter), the son of Grade 2 winning router Uh Oh Bango won at a mile on turf as a 3-year-old.

Camino Del Paraiso (trained by O.J. Jauregui) is a four-time stakes winner at Golden Gate. His last San Francisco Mile appearance came in 2020 when running third behind Neptune’s Storm and Kiwi’s Dream. Earlier in the year, the 9-year-old gelding was the runner up at Santa Anita in the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic Presented by City National Bank.

Tesoro (also trained by O.J. Jauregui) put up a strong showing when finishing second to 2021 Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock in the Zia Park Derby last November. Since then, he has finished second in a trio of second level allowance races on Tapeta. If he runs in the San Francisco Mile, he will be making his turf debut.


Below is a list of horses claims from last week:


Race 4: Elgofranco (New trainer D. Wayne Baker…new owner Richard Barton)

Race 4: What Up Now J T (Ed Moger Jr…Bill Meikle)

Race 5: Del Mar Flash (Sammy Calvario…Johnny Taboada)

Race 7: J T’s Watch (Isidro Tamayo…Brett Sandquist and John Tipton)

Race 7: Offshore Affair (Owner/Trainer Mark Glatt)


Race 1: Air Force Woman (Melanie McDonald…Audrey Martel)

Race 6: Champagne Pegasus (Jonathan Wong…Johnny Taboada)

Race 8: Wine and Whisky (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables and Steven Earl Hagen)

Race 10: Bourbonwithatwist (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)


Race 9: Dark Prince (Jesus Ramos…Candelario Barragan)

Race 9: Jedi Knight (Eddie Rich…Luciano Medina)

Race 9: Tough It Out (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

FINISH LINES: Congratulations to trainer Blaine Wright, who won the $150,000 Evening Jewel Stakes last Saturday at Santa Anita with 3-year-old filly Power Surge. Ricky Gonzalez rode the daughter of Straight Fire to a game, front-running victory at astronomical odds of 70-1…A fun heat ends the racing week: a field of 9 filly and mare sprinters compete five furlongs in the nightcap on Sunday…There is a MANDATORY PAYOUT in the Stronach 5 this Friday. Leg D (the second to last leg) of the Stronach 5 goes as Race 3 at Golden Gate$28,725 is the jackpot carryover amount in the Golden Pick Six on Friday afternoon…Happy birthday to trainer Jose Puentes and Andy Munoz, assistant to trainer Dan Franko, who celebrate their birthdays in the next 7 days.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, April 8, 2022


According to trainer Monty Meier, 6-year-old gelding Harmon will point towards the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on Saturday, April 30 after a gate-to-wire victory against allowance company last Saturday. Harmon was sent off at 7-2 odds-the fourth choice in the field of six-and defeated Golden Gate stakes winners American Farmer and Freeport Joe.

“We’ll point for the ‘Mile,” said Meier. “We’ll nominate and see what the race looks like. He came out of his race [on Sunday] well and he’s a pretty happy camper back at the barn.”

In last Sunday’s fourth race, a one-mile open allowance race, Harmon was sent to the lead by jockey Julien Couton. He set the pace by a measured length throughout the first three quarters of the race before opening up a couple of lengths on the competition turning for home. The son of Cairo Price finished to the wire with plenty left in the tank, hitting the winning post a length and a half clear of runner up finisher Nowhere Man.  

“I told Julien in the paddock, ‘Break him out of [the gate] and make them chase you. In the last few races, we keep chasing them,’” said Meier. “Julien and the horse get along really well. Julien always comes by the barn and gives him cookies and hugs.”

Harmon has been a successful acquisition since being claimed for $32,000 in March of 2021 by owners Michael Bean and Donna Perrone. While under the care of his current connections, Harmon has won three allowance races, is stakes placed, and has picked up earnings just shy of $75,000

“He’s just a really classy horse,” said Meier. “He’s fun to ride-I gallop him-and he’s full of energy in the mornings.”

On Saturday, Meier celebrated a birthday. It was fitting that Harmon, the stable star of the Meier barn, would give him a late present one day later.

24 hours late? No problem. I’m sure Meier doesn’t mind.


Eye-catching maiden winner Unto Thee faces winners for the first time and receives a bump up in class in the marquee race of the day at Golden Gate on Friday, a first level allowance for 3-year-olds. Seven runners entered in the five-and-one-half-furlong sprint, which goes as Race 6 on an eight-race card.

Sent off at odds of 3-5 in his career debut on January 30, Unto Thee went to the front and sent moderate fractions. He was eventually passed down the lane and settled for second. Following the race, trainer Jonathan Wong decided to make “the ultimate equipment change.”

And with that, Unto Thee is forever a gelding.

“He was getting pretty studish,” said Wong. “Even so, he wasn’t 100% cranked first out. [His first] race came up and we decided to enter and give him an out.”

Unto Thee showed major improvement in his second lifetime start six weeks later, speeding to the front before opening up the lead down the stretch and hitting the wire about four lengths clear of the runner up finisher.  

For the maiden victory, Unto Thee earned a 77 Beyer speed figure. Compare the aforementioned speed figure with other figures posted by major players in Friday’s feature race-all but one whose best numbers are in the high 60’s-and that signifies Unto Thee is fast enough to be a major threat. Drawing the rail post position, says Wong, aggressive tactics will be employed.

“He’s got natural speed. Drawn inside, I hope he breaks well and can just go on with it,” said Wong. “When we first got him, he was training okay. Not great…just okay. A couple works before his first race, we really started to see the lightbulb turn on. Now, he’s a really good work horse.”

Unto Thee is one of two runners bred and owned by Jason Hall and trained by Wong. The other, Unreal, is a son of 2016 Breeders Cup Turf Mile winner Tourist who broke his maiden by open lengths in a five-furlong turf sprint last November. That day, he stalked the pace before unleashing his move to the lead. He took three months off and returned against a salty group of allowance foes at Santa Anita on February 26, showing speed before fading to midfield in the final furlong. Although facing an arguably easier field in his second start against proven winners, he races over the main track Tapeta for the first time.

“He came up with a quarter crack after his first race, so he got the time off he needed to heal from that,” said Wong. “For his last race at Santa Anita, the owner wanted to run him on turf again because he won his first race on turf. He trains good on the Tapeta, so I think he should be fine over it [in a race]. He’ll be stalking the pace.”

A quintet of rivals challenges the Wong-trained pair. They include the top two finishers in a March 18 race at this level, Big Papa Steve and Northvale Road. The former gelding got the better of the latter three weeks ago, finishing a half-length apart at the finish. Both California-breds can win at the first level allowance condition twice before forfeiting their chance to run at the level without being in for the optional $50,000 claiming tag. Coincidentally, Big Papa Steve was the winner of a January 30 maiden race-the same maiden race Unto Thee finished second in. Little Casino, who ran fifth and was never threat to Big Papa Steve or Northvale Road on March 18, is also entered.

Nuestro Engreido cuts back from a route to a sprint. The last time the son of Cat Burglar competed at one turn, he finished third at this condition. The Felix Rondan trainee has the most experience out of any racer in Friday’s sixth race, with 13 starts to his name. In his last three races, all against route company, he was not competitive to win. His most notable effort out of that trio of races was a seventh-place finish in the El Camino Real Derby.

Command a Premium, who led every step of the way in a determined effort on March 6 against California-bred maiden company, completes the field. Command a Premium is out of the broodmare Saturday Premium, a multiple sprint winner who has already produced two full winning siblings to Command a Premium. One of them, Premium Forest, is a 14-time winner.

Race 6 on Friday (First level allowance at 5.5 furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Unto Thee (Jockey Evin Roman…Trainer Jonathan Wong…morning line odds of 8-5)

#2 Unreal (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong…9-2)

#3 Command a Premium (Julien Couton…Greg James…12-1)

#4 Northvale Road (Silvio Amador…Ed Moger Jr…6-1)

#5 Little Casino (Assael Espinoza…Blaine Wright…6-1)

#6 Big Papa Steve (Armando Ayuso…Reid France…3-1)

#7 Nuestro Engreido (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…10-1)


The last time stakes winner Rebalation and hard knocker Sadie Blugrass traded punches, the latter prevailed by a narrow neck over the former. They square off once more as the two mares to beat in the signature race of the day this Sunday, a second level allowance for filly and mare sprinters at five and one-half furlongs.

Rebalation, winner of the Bear Fan Stakes last December, enters Sunday’s main event fresh off a first level allowance win on March 12. That afternoon, she displayed her customary “back of the pack to front” flying finish, inhaling foes down the stretch and racing past second place finisher Doggy Dreams in the last few strides. The reliable jockey/trainer of Frank Alvarado and Tim McCanna team up with the daughter of Acclamation.

Sadie Bluegrass, who sports an ultra-consistent 20-11-3-3 lifetime record for trainer Jonathan Wong, was the neck victor over Rebalation in a starter allowance race on February 13. She sat close to a quick pace and got the first jump on Rebelation, who came flying from behind but ran out of real estate in the dying stages of the race. Sadie Bluegrass put up an uncharacteristically poor performance in her most recent afternoon appearance at Santa Anita on March 5, stalking the pace and fading in a starter allowance on turf.

Among the heavy hitters’ main competitors on Sunday is a stablemate to Sadie Bluegrass, Empire House, who has finished as the bridesmaid to Dynasty of Her Own and The Pharaoh’s Girl in her last two starts. Both aforementioned sprinters are gearing up for a start in the Camilla Urso Stakes on April 30. Empire House was purchased for a whopping $500,000 as a yearling and sports career best form.

Maybe I Will exits the Irish O’Brien Stakes at Santa Anita while Tip Top Gal is a stakes place sprinter who was last seen finishing third behind The Pharaoh’s Girl and Empire House. Both runners can be competitive if they show up with their “A+ effort.”

The first race on Sunday afternoon is slated for 1:50 PM. On Friday and Saturday, first post is 1:15 PM.

Race 8 on Friday (Second allowance for fillies and mares at 5.5 furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Do You Hear That (Jockey Alejandro Gomez…Trainer Quinn Howey…morning line odds 12-1)

#2 Tip Top Gal (Francisco Monroy…Quentin B. Miller…8-1)

#3 Maybe I Will (Catalino Martinez…Blaine Wright…9-2)

#4 Ima Happy Cat (Pedro Terrero…Dan Markle…8-1)

#5 Empire House (Armando Ayuso…Jonathan Wong…6-1)

#6 Rebalation (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…2-1)

#7 Sadie Bluegrass (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong …3-1)

#8 I’ll Do It For You (Pedro Flores…Quentin B. Miller…50-1)

#9 Annie Graham (Assael Espinoza…Steve Miyadi…15-1)


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 4: Daniella Bella (New trainer Ed Moger Jr…new owner William Meikle)

Race 6: Il Capitano (D. Wayne Baker…Wong’s Stable)


Race 2: Emerald Magic (Reid France…Lamonte Isom)


Race 2: McGeorge (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott)

Race 5: Foster Boi (Tim McCanna…Mary Ellen Silva)

Race 9: Pappy Boyington (Reid France…Lamonte Isom)

FINISH LINES: 10 races made the Saturday overnight. Among them: a second level allowance for filly and mare turf routers at 8.5 furlongs (Race 4). Recent first level allowance winners Midnight Flower and Trojan Clubhouse bump in class while stakes placed Reiwa and hard-tryer Scherzo are also entered in the field of six…Also on Saturday, a field of 11 first-level allowance routers entered to compete in Race 8. Rocks and Salt seeks his second consecutive allowance win, old-pro Shot of a Lifetime looks to duplicate a smashing starter allowance victory last month, and class droppers Wine and Whisky and Descartes add to a contentious group. 2021 California Derby winner Stalking Shadow is also part of the field…In Our A wheels back in three weeks after a victory against second level allowance sprinters and competes at the same level in Sunday’s seventh race. Also entered is the Victor Trujillo trained Kiwi’s Dream, who finished second in the 2020 Grade 3 San Francisco Mile and was the runner up in the Wickerr, All American, and Rolling Green Stakes that same year. He hasn’t raced since an off-the-board finish in the 2021 San Francisco Mile…Shortly after Fulsome won the Grade 3 Oaklawn Mile last Saturday at Oaklawn, little brother Rimprotector ran third in the Golden Gate fifth race, a maiden special weight at one mile for 3-year-olds…$17,218 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager on Friday…Leg D (the second to last leg) of the Stronach 5 wager is Race 3 at Golden Gate on Friday…Happy birthday to jockey Kevin Orozco, who celebrates his birthday next Wednesday.