Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Wednesday, November 23, 2022


Trainer Isidro Tamayo was not surprised in the slightest that 3-year-old filly Derrygoolin took to the turf in her first career start over the surface, finishing a half-length behind the winner while outrunning a next-out victor for second. That effort came over the summer at Santa Rosa. Since then, the California-bred daughter of Gallant Son has strung together a series of solid efforts in races run on grass.

In her second career start over the lawn, Derrygoolin stalked the pace and drew off in the final furlong for a convincing three-length score against starter allowance company. She wheeled back two weeks later and won again, this time in a first level allowance restricted to 3-year-old fillies. In her most recent afternoon appearance on November 4., Derrygoolin put up an extremely respectable showing against older foes, placing as the runner up behind a much more experienced router.

“We had been trying for a while to get her in a turf race,” said Tamayo. “Her whole family ran really well on turf. Once we got her on it, she really hasn’t done anything wrong.”

This Thursday, Derrygoolin faces six other rivals in the feature race of the day on Thanksgiving: a first level allowance for fillies and mares at one mile and a sixteenth.

On what surface? I think you can take an educated guess.

Derrygoolin has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite.

“Since she got to the turf, she’s gotten more confident,” said Tamayo. “She’s also a little more aggressive now. It’s funny how some horses change their running styles over time. I’m happy how she’s coming into this race.”

Regular pilot Irving Orozco, who had a pair of two-win days last Saturday and Sunday, will be back aboard on Thursday.

Among the leading contenders set to challenge Derrygoolin is Vronsky Feint, a winner at this level on Tapeta last month. Two races back, Vronsky Feint finished third behind Derrygoolin while encountering traffic issues in the very late stages of the race. Two of Vronsky Feint’s three lifetime victories have come on turf. Another legit player is Rev Ree, who makes her second start off a five-and-a-half-month vacation and figures to improve with a race under her belt in the current form cycle.

Four racing days are on the docket for this week’s festivities. Our Thanksgiving Thursday Holiday cards kicks off at 11:15 AM with an 8-race sequence. The Friday, Saturday, and Sunday programs start at 12:45 PM.

Race 6 on Thursday (First level allowance for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)

#1 Beignet (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…trainer Paddy Gallagher…morning line odds of 10-1)

#2 Derrygoolin (Irving Orozco…Isidro Tamayo…9-5)

#3 Worthy of Magic (Armando Ayuso…Brendan Galvin…10-1)

#4 Gea (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…12-1)

#5 Rev Ree (Julien Couton…Steve Sherman…5-2)

#6 Mischievous Curlin (Kevin Radke…Faith Taylor…10-1)

#7 Vronsky Feint (Assael Espinoza…Ed Moger Jr…5-2)


2-year-old filly Majestic Oops has kicked off her racing career the right way. From four lifetime starts, she has never finished worse than second. Two wins, two second-place finishes. Not bad.

By California stallion Majestic Harbor, whose first foals are 2-year-olds of this year, Majestic Oops finished as the runner up in her first two career races. Third time was the charm at Sacramento in July, when she stalked the pace and handily defeated her competition in a maiden special weight. Majestic Oops wheeled back a couple months later on September 23 and defeated first level allowance company at Golden Gate, going off at a big price (16-1) and closing into a strong pace for the win.

After another two-month freshening, here we are in present day. Majestic Oops is entered to race on Friday, this time against stakes company in the 6-furlong, $50,000 Golden Gate Debutante. Eight 2-year-old fillies are slated to compete in the Friday feature.

“I always knew she was a runner,” said trainer Ed Moger Jr. “She’s not a very big filly but she was outworking her company whenever we put her up against someone. She tries hard. She’s doing great right now.”

Moger is having a terrific 2022 fall meeting, winning at a 20% clip (6 wins, 4 seconds, and 6 thirds from 30 starters) heading into the upcoming 4-day race week.

“We’re looking to keep it rolling,” said Moger Jr.

In what appears as a wide-open race, the Golden Gate Debutante goes as Race 8 on a 9-race program.

5-2 morning line favorite Always At Ease takes a step up in company after a maiden special weight victory at Golden Gate on October 29. Purchased for a whopping $400,000 by owner Ben Gase, the daughter of Twirling Candy is trained by Southern California conditioner Keith Desormeaux and sports one workout at Santa Anita since the maiden score.

Rousing Jewel was a dazzling maiden winner in the spring, defeating stablemate and now stakes winner Passarando. In two starts since, she finished off the board in a stake at Santa Anita and, most recently, earned a silver medal as the 2-5 favorite in the allowance event won by Majestic Oops on September 23.

Trainer Jonathan Wong saddles a trio of maiden special weight winners: Imaginary, Ketanji, and Sally’s Sassy. Imaginary was a gate to wire winner at Golden Gate on October 1 and freshens up almost two months for her debut against winners. Well-meant Ketanji went off at 9-5 in her first career race at Fresno and easily defeated six rivals. Sally’s Sassy has more racing foundation than her two stablemates; she was a first-out winner sprinting on turf at Del Mar in August and most recently finished third behind runaway winner Quickly Park It in the Pike Place Dancer going two turns. Like Ketanji, Sally’s Sassy has never raced over the Tapeta main track before.

Bet de Vron was a 2-length maiden winner on dirt for trainer Faith Taylor and makes her first career start on Tapeta while entering this run off a three-month break. Juana Gallo sports a perfect 3 for 3 on dirt but has finished off the board in two races on turf and Tapeta. She figures to be part of the action on the lead early.

Race 8 on Friday ($50,000 Golden Gate Debutante for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Ketanji (Jockey Kevin Radke…trainer Jonathan Wong…morning line odds of 7-2)

#2 Always At Ease (Armando Ayuso…Keith Desormeaux…5-2)

#3 Juana Gallo (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…10-1)

#4 Majestic Oops (Cristobal Herrera…Ed Moger Jr…8-1)

#5 Bet de Vron (Irving Orozco…Faith Taylor…8-1)

#6 Rousing Jewel (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht …5-1)

#7 Sally’s Sassy (William Antongeorgi III…Jonathan Wong…10-1)

#8 Imaginary (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong…7-2)


A quintet is signed up to enter the starting gate for the signature race of the fall season in Northern California: the $100,000 Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward. On paper, it looks like a relatively evenly matched affair. On the track, it may come down to who gets the best trip based on each horse’s preferred running style.

Freeport Joe is the defending champion of The Berkeley Handicap and has a solid shot to become a two-time winner. The Gloria Haley trainee had to settle for second when finishing behind lone speed I’mgonnabesomebody in the November 5 Joseph T. Grace Stakes, a race that was originally scheduled for turf but was moved to the Tapeta after rain hit the Bay Area in the days leading up to the race. With his last loss in mind, Freeport Joe beat I’mgonnabesomebody in September and, from seven lifetime wins on the Tapeta, has beaten quality stakes winners like Camino Del Paraiso, Master Piece, and Navy Armed Guard over the surface. Regular jockey Assael Espinoza retains the mount in the Berkeley.

I’mgonnabesomebody sports “better than ever” form for veteran conditioner Bill McLean. The Kentucky bred son of Will Take Charge has won two stakes races this year-The Sam Spear Memorial in September and the Joseph T. Grace-and will likely be part of the pace in his graded stakes debut this weekend. Jockey Santos Rivera has been aboard for both stakes triumphs and retains the amount on Saturday.

Synthetic specialist Lammas draws the rail. An Irish-bred trained by Manny Badilla, Lammas was last seen finishing a length behind I’mgonnabesomebody and a quarter of length off Freeport Joe in the Joseph T. Grace. That day, he stalked the pace, found himself on the fence turning for home, and stayed on the inside for the length of the stretch. Kevin Radke got to know Lammas in the Joseph T. Grace and will be back aboard again in the Berkeley.

Two Southern California shippers complete the field. The first is old pro Rip City, who makes his second start off a $40,000 claim by Leandro Mora. In his first start off the purchase, the son of City Zip went gate to wire against a first level allowance group on grass at Santa Anita. Local jockey Armando Ayuso has the call on Rip City, a gelding who makes his synthetic debut in the Berkeley.

Tulsa Tornado runs out of his conditions but enters as a sneaky contender for trainer Michael McCarthy. He makes his second start off about a year layoff; McCarthy wins at a strong 24% clip with his trainees who make their second start off a break over 180 days. Tulsa Tornado’s first start off the layoff came in a first level allowance sprint, where he dueled on the lead before tiring in the final hundred yards. He ended up completing the superfecta. In his last start before the lengthy layoff, Tulsa Tornado finished second, only beaten a half-length by next out Grade 2 winner Law Professor in a two-turn, first level allowance. The aforementioned foe was last seen running fifth in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland. It is worth noting that Tulsa Tornado’s lone career victory came over the Golden Gate Tapeta in September of 2021.

Race 7 on Saturday (The $100,000 Berkeley Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward at one mile and a sixteenth on the Tapeta)

#1 Lammas (Jockey Kevin Radke…Trainer Manny Badilla)

#2 I’mgonnabesomebody (Santos Rivera…Bill McLean)

#3 Rip City (Armando Ayuso…Leandro Mora)

#4 Freeport Joe (Assael Espinoza…Gloria Haley)

#5 Tulsa Tornado (William Antongeorgi III…Michael McCarthy)


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 5: Lookout Point (New trainer Marcelino Trujillo…new owner[s] Nancy Salas-Ibarra and Floriberta Trujillo)

Race 6: Reservenotmet (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables and Clay Sides)


Race 1: Get’em Tiger (Reid France…Lamonte Isom)

Race 2: Quiet Charm (Owner/Trainer Sergio Perez)

Race 4: Autism Blue (Sammy Calvario…Johnny Taboada)

Race 5: Berolijean (Reid France…Hat Trick Racing)

Race 5: Shotgun Express (Victor Trujillo…Colin Murray)

Race 7: Madeira Wine (Owner/Trainer Manny Badilla)

Race 7: Shezaghost (Sammy Calvario…Huntertown Farm LLC and Calvario)

Race 9: Fly Buddy Fly (Jonathan Wong…TAK Racing)

Race 9: Tiz Vicious (Miguel Ramirez…Mark Freeman and Peter Milburn)


Race 4: Pour On the Cole (Owner/Trainer Jose Puentes)

Race 5: Windribbon (Isidro Tamayo…John Tipton)

Race 7: Armour Plate (Owner/Trainer James Gilmour)

Race 7: Holyjazz (Angelo Tekos Jr…John Tipton)

FINISH LINES: Jockey Evin Roman injured a wrist after his horse clipped heels, stumbled, and unseated Roman in the stretch drive of Race 8 last Friday. Although in good spirits while visiting the Golden Gate backstretch on Wednesday morning, Roman will be sidelined for the remainder of the fall meet. Roman’s mount, Top Hat Tigress, walked back to the barn immediately following the incident…Along with the Berkeley Handicap on Saturday, two allowance races are on the schedule: Race 6, a first level allowance for routers on turf, and Race 8, a first level allowance for filly and mare sprinters on the Tapeta…5-year-old mare Carolina Mia is one of the top filly and mare sprinters at Golden Gate. On Saturday in Del Mar’s second race, the Felix Rondan trainee competes in a third level allowance at 5 furlongs on turf. Edwin Maldonado rides…Also at Del Mar on Friday, Rondan saddles 2021 Golden Nugget Stakes winner Dr Pescado in a one mile, second level allowance on dirt…$7,472 is carried over into the Super High Five wager for the next race on Thursday in which the wager is conducted…$5,889 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager on Thursday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, November 17, 2022


Some of the fastest one turn horses in the Bay Area compete in the signature race of the week, the $50,000 Oakland Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs on the Tapeta main track. Out of the eight entrants, half the field are stake winners.

One of the favorites will be Psycho Dar, an impressive winner of an allowance race at Golden Gate two starts ago. He returned to win the Harris Farm Stakes in his most recent start. Psycho Dar has never finished off the board in four career starts over the Golden Gate Tapeta and sports 10 wins, 5 seconds and 9 third place finishes from 39 lifetime starts. Regular rider Armando Ayuso is back aboard for trainer Sammy Calvario.

“I’m leaving the tactics up to Armando,” said Calvario. “I don’t give instructions for this horse. At Fresno, we drew the rail and Armando just smooched at him out of the gate and he went to the lead. We drew a better post this time and we don’t need the lead. My horse is doing great. I am very happy with how he is coming into the race. He’s doing just as well as he was before his last race.”

Trainer Tim McCanna has a strong 1-2 punch in this year’s rendition of the Oakland. The first of his duo is Top Harbor, who makes his second start off an 11-month layoff. In his first race off the break, he finished as the runner up behind Psycho Dar in the Harris Farm Stakes. Last year, he won the El Dorado Shooter Stakes at Golden Gate and was beaten just a neck in the Oak Tree Sprint at Pleasanton. Top Harbor is out of the broodmare Reba Is Tops, a 4-time stakes winner who also produced top filly and mare sprinter of 2021 Rebalation.

“Top Harbor got a lot out of his last race,” said McCanna. “Both of my horses worked together the other morning and they were moving well together. They’re both ready. Both like to come from a little off the pace.”

The second half of the McCanna tag team is Oakland Stakes defending champion Rager. An 8-1 upset winner last year, Rager has not raced since the 2021 Oakland. He posts 13 published workouts since returning to training in July. McCanna wins at an extremely strong percentage with horses who make their first start off a layoff over 180 days, striking at a 26% rate from a 38-horse sample. A Kentucky-bred son of Into Mischief, Rager was claimed by McCanna and owners Jethorse LLC for $40,000 in the summer of 2021.

“I was trying to get him into a race as a prep for the Oakland, but the race never filled,” said McCanna. “I would have preferred to have a race into him, but we really had no choice but to train him up to this race. He’s a fit horse. He’s coming into this race fresh but very fit off his works.”

Bobby’s Alibi makes his stakes debut for trainer Faith Taylor after a pair of first level allowance victories this fall. The Kentucky-bred son of California stallion Curlin to Mischief is projected to race from off the pace and will hope for a fast pace to run into.

Cool Mountain Lad won the Oak Tree Sprint at Pleasanton in July and was victorious in a second level allowance race over the summer at Golden Gate. In his most recent afternoon appearance, the Victor Trujillo trainee was well beaten in the Harris Farm Stakes at Fresno-a showing uncharacteristic of him given his consistent lifetime record (19 starts with 7 wins, 5 seconds, and 3 third place finishes.) He freshens up over two months and gets back to stakes company in the Oakland.

The speedy War Games returns to the races off a 3-month freshening for veteran conditioner Cliff DeLima. The last time War Games raced, he defeated Cool Mountain Lad and stakes winner Ultimate Bango in an open allowance race on dirt at Santa Rosa. We know he likes the Golden Gate Tapeta; 7 of 8 lifetime wins have come over said surface.

Irrefutable was a gate to wire victor at Sacramento two starts ago and returned to suffer a heartbreaking loss on September 2 at Golden Gate, stalking the pace early in the race, taking the lead in upper stretch and getting tagged in the final strides of the contest by race winner Cool Mountain Lad. He seems redemption while facing tough other new shooters in this stake event. 

Torpedo Away rounds out the field. In his last afternoon appearance, Torpedo Away sat off the pace and came home strong to edge out several quality sprinters in a tough high-level claimer. Jockey Kevin Radke and trainer Blaine Wright team up together; they won last week’s Golden Nugget Stakes with 2-year-old California bred Clovisconnection.

First post on a 9-race card this Saturday is 12:45 PM.

$50,000 Oakland Stakes (Race 8 on Saturday: for 3-year-olds and up at 6 furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Bobby’s Alibi (Jockey Irving Orozco…Trainer Faith Taylor…morning line odds of 8-1)

#2 Rager (Assael Espinoza…Tim McCanna…4-1)

#3 Top Harbor (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…4-1)

#4 Irrefutable (William Antongeorgi III…Mike Lenzini…10-1)

#5 Psycho Dar (Armando Ayuso…Sammy Calvario…3-1)

#6 War Games (Francisco Monroy…Cliff DeLima…8-1)

#7 Cool Mountain Lad (Brayan Pena…Victor Trujillo…6-1)

#8 Torpedo Away (Kevin Radke…Blaine Wright…4-1)


Veteran jockey Kevin Radke has been around the block. Throughout a successful riding career, he has ridden at tracks across the country: Emerald Downs, Thistledown, Portland Meadows, and Prairie Meadows to name some. He even had a stint at the Bay Meadows 2003/2004 Winter/Spring meet, where he beat Russell Baze for a riding title.

“To be fair, the only reason I beat Russell is because he broke his shoulder and missed some time during that meet,” said Radke. “Chance Rollins and I were head and head for the riding title for months. Towards the end of the meet, I got lucky and won 5 races in one day. That sealed it.”

Fast forward to this September, when Radke had just finished second at the Emerald Downs 2022 meeting with 77 wins and a 21%-win clip. The Ohio native was contemplating where to ride during the fall and winter, and, after some deliberation, made the choice to ship his tack to Golden Gate.

“By far the most important thing for me was to be close to my wife Jamie,” said Kevin. “She’s in Seattle. I really wanted to be close to her. That was a huge factor. [Trainer] Blaine [Wright] said he would help me out if I came to Golden Gate and my Emerald Downs agent David ‘Marbles’ Singer was willing to come down with me. That was really helpful for me too.”

Radke moved to Golden Gate at the tail end of the summer meet and won a couple races closing week. The veteran rider then competed at the two-week Fresno meet, where he and Evin Roman tied for most victories with 7 apiece.

“We did really well at Fresno,” said Radke. “That helped my business. Winning is the best advertisement.”

At the current Golden Gate Fall Meet, Radke has cracked the top five in the standings. Halfway through of the meeting, Radke has won 10 races, which makes him 7 wins behind leading rider Roman and 2 shy of co-second place riders Assael Espinoza and William Antongeorgi III.

“I’m so lucky and blessed to have had so many people give me really nice opportunities and horses to ride here, and my agent ‘Marbles’ is doing an absolutely fantastic job,” said Radke.

Radke’s most significant win so far this fall came aboard the Blaine Wright trainee Clovisconnection in last Saturday’s Golden Nugget Stakes for 2-year-olds. Radke said he knew early in the race that his steed was ready to perform at a very high level.

“It was a gift for Blaine to put me on that horse. What an amazing animal,” said Radke. “It felt like I was skiing down the backside. I can’t believe I got lucky enough to get that mount because anyone could have ridden him. I am very grateful to have the opportunity for Blaine and for those owners.”

Radke can ride any type of horse, of course. And he has won stakes races in the Bay Area before. One of the fastest horses he ever rode was in the early 2000’s for trainer Cliff DeLima. El Dorado Shooter, an 8-time stakes winner who earned over a half million dollars from 2000 to 2005, was a mount Radke won on a handful of times. One race that stood out to Radke was the 2001 running of the Ken Maddy Sprint Handicap at Golden Gate.

“It was a muddy track that day,” said Radke. “We drew the rail. He went 21 and 3 and 43 flat and he won anyway. He beat really nice horses too. Echo Eddie, Full Moon Madness…it was a graded stakes type of field.”

Radke has no plans on leaving Golden Gate anytime soon. He is here to stay, and he gave a decisive answer when asked whether he has enjoyed returning to the Bay Area racing scene.

“I absolutely love it here,” said Radke. “I’m an older rider. I’ve had a lot of injuries and this Tapeta is much kinder on my body than some of the other tracks I’ve ridden at. Golden Gate is full of good jocks. If you make a mistake out there, you lose. And these guys don’t make many mistakes. We’ve got good riders here. You have to read the form and really prepare. It makes you better.”


After a pair of poor efforts at Del Mar this summer, 4-year-old filly Madeira Wine was transferred to the barn of Tim McCanna by owners David Staudacher and Paradise Farms Corporation. Since the barn swap, the daughter of English Channel has won two races in a row: a $20,000 claiming race on Tapeta and, most recently, a first level allowance on November 4 over the GGF turf course.

“I was a little surprised she went off at 8-1 in her first start up here because she ran against good company down south,” said McCanna. “She’s done well ever since we got her.”

Madeira Wine looks for a three-peat while wheeling back in two weeks in Race 7 this Saturday, a first level allowance at one mile and a sixteenth. The race is run on the Tapeta.

“I think she really likes it here,” said McCanna. “She’s been doing well. We’re gonna try to strike again when the iron’s hot.”

Madeira Wine is listed as the 7-2 co-second choice on the morning line. The morning line favorite is Shezaghost, who won at this condition the last time we saw her compete on the Tapeta. That day, she defeated next out winner Imperial Creed. She drops in class after a poor effort on turf, a surface that she is not raced effectively over.

Race 7 is the appetizer before the main course. Race 8 on Saturday, the Oakland Stakes, is our marquee race of the week.

Race 7 on Saturday (First level allowance for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)

#1 Momma Mocca (Jockey Irving Orozco…Trainer Manny Badilla…morning line odds of 10-1)

#2 Bandeena (Assael Espinoza…Ed Moger Jr…9-2)

#3 Always Seeking (Evin Roman…Jack Steiner …8-1)

#4 Misty Cat (Catalino Martinez…Dan Franko…20-1)

#5 Shezaghost (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman…5-2)

#6 Stoic Luna (Armando Ayuso…Mike Lenzini…7-2)

#7 Vincero Grande (Frank Alvarado…Andy Mathis …6-1)

#8 Madeira Wine (Kevin Radke…Tim McCanna…7-2)


Coming off a maiden special weight victory at Del Mar on September 5, you would think To Speight Her would be listed as “the one to beat” in a first level allowance at Golden Gate a month and a half later.

That was not the case on October 21. On this particular afternoon, To Speight Her was set to face Johnny Podres, who was entering the race having just won on the Golden Gate Tapeta by over a half dozen lengths. Along with the large margin of victory, Johnny Podres’s final time was only .03 seconds slower than the track record for 6 furlongs. With the big effort in mind, Johnny Podres was switching surfaces to the ground To Speight Her has thrived over: turf.

Nonetheless, To Speight Her was sent off as the second choice in the wagering behind Johnny Podres. To Speight Her went to the lead, was challenged by Johnny Podres for the length of the stretch, and ultimately passed in the final 50 yards by the aforementioned foe. To Speight Her ran a winning race, no doubt, but had to settle for second.

About a month later, To Speight Her is back in action at the first level allowance condition again. This time, he will sprint five-and one-half furlongs on the Tapeta, and there is no Johnny Podres to have to worry about. Although he has never competed on the Golden Gate synthetic main track, To Speight Her has trained over the surface for a large portion of his career.

Among the leading contenders looking to play spoiler is Heavenly Prince, who won on debut in stylish fashion for trainer Steve Sherman three weeks ago. October 21 allowance third place finisher Star Racer and Conundrum, coming off a sharp win against lesser off a re-claim by trainer Ed Moger Jr., should also get plenty of support in the wagering pools.

77 horses are entered in 9 races on a strong Sunday card. First post is 12:45 PM PT.

Race 8 on Sunday (First level allowance for 3-year-olds and up at five- and one-half furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Our Bold Prince (Jockey Armando Ayuso…Trainer Eddie Rich)

#2 Star Racer (Frank Alvarado…Angelo Tekos Jr)

#3 To Speight Her (Kevin Radke…Andy Mathis)

#4 Arma d’Oro (Irving Orozco…Dan Markle)

#5 Blazing Jamie (Santos Rivera…Cliff DeLima)

#6 Awesome Dude (Francisco Monroy…Marcelino Trujillo)

#7 Conundrum (Silvio Amador…Ed Moger Jr)

#8 Heavenly Prince (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman)


Below is a list of claims from last week.


Race 3: Benson (New trainer D. Wayne Baker…New owner Richard Barton)

Race 5: Perfect Ice Storm (John Sadler…Cicero Farms LLC)

Race 5: Starship Endeavor (Jonathan Wong…Johnny Taboada)

Race 5: Sugary (Brendan Galvin…Galvin and Pamela Ziebarth)

Race 8: Danielle’s Secret (Jack Steiner…Remmah Racing Inc.) 


Race 4: Ottawa Fire (Guillermo Preciado…Preciado and Jerry Puertas)

Race 5: Command a Premium (Isidro Tamayo…Sergio Salguero)

Race 5: Speed Grazy (Steve Sherman…Sherman and Zvika Akin)

Race 9: Jan Jan Can (Owner/Trainer Steve Sherman)


Race 6: Implicitly (Eddie Rich…Rich and Run For Us Stable LLC)

FINISH LINES: A salty group of allowance horses sprint in Race 2 on Sunday. The field includes Southern California shipper Appreciated, overachiever Darn Quick, ultimate pro Honeymoonz Over, the well-traveled I’m Corfu, the speedy Lord Brancusi, well-bred Murphy’s Tiger…Also on Sunday, a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds (Race 6) kicks off the Late Pick 4 sequence…On Saturday, a maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies (Race 6) drew a full field…No carryovers heading into Friday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, November 10, 2022


Last Saturday, the Bill McLean trained I’mgonnabesomebody stamped himself as one of the top older horses in Northern California when victorious in the Joseph T. Grace Stakes. This Saturday, McLean seeks back-to-back stakes victories when he saddles 2-year-old gelding Abinadi in the marquee race of the week, the $50,000 Golden Nugget Stakes for 2-year-olds at 6 furlongs. The Golden Nugget goes as the eighth race on a 9-race program.

As a precocious 2-year-old in the spring, Abinadi began his racing career in Kentucky with trainer Luis Mendez. He finished off-the-board against maiden special weight foes in his first two career starts. He moved to Southern California for his third lifetime race, a maiden $150,000 claiming sprint at Del Mar. That day, he set the pace and drew off to beat a pair of Bob Baffert trainees by over 3 lengths.

After the maiden victory, Abinadi was sold at the Fasig Tipton Fall sale for $75,000 to current co-owners Marty Baze, Richard Grace and Ted Valli. He was immediately shipped to McLean. Abinadi has worked five times since moving to Northern California, including a bullet 6-furlong drill on the morning of October 30. Jockey Irving Orozco will be aboard for the first time.

“I popped him out of the gate the other day and he came out pretty quick,” said McLean. “He’s got speed. Hopefully he likes the Tapeta. He’s worked good over it in the mornings.”

While chatting with the Golden Gate one-man media team, McLean noted that I’mgonnabesomebody came out of the Joseph T. Grace in good order. The $100,000 Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap on Saturday, November 26 is a next possible target.

“What can you say? He’s a nice horse,” said McLean. “I was a little frustrated when the race came off the turf. He’s always run better on turf and dirt. I was really, really happy after the race.”

Now, back to the Golden Nugget. Among the main contenders set to tackle Abinadi is Clovisconnection, a first-out maiden special weight winner on October 2 for trainer Blaine Wright. The California-bred by Vronsky was sent off at 8-1 odds, stalked the pace in the early portions of the race and won the contest by a length and a half. Clovisconnection has posted four public workouts since his maiden triumph.

“He showed us ability early on,” said Wright. “He worked with [first-out maiden winner] Prince Abu Dhabi. When Prince won, it was even more apparent that [Clovisconnection] was pretty good too. We entered him a couple times in an allowance race that wasn’t filling, so we rerouted to this stake. He’s ready.”

The headliner in the 2022 Golden Nugget field is Passarando, who was victorious just two weeks ago in the $175,000 Golden State Juvenile at Santa Anita. In his last start on Tapeta, Passarando easily beat a first level allowance field. Trainer Steve Specht reported Thursday morning that “it is still up in the air” as to whether Passarando will compete in the Golden Nugget.

“He came out of the Santa Anita race great, but he’ll be wheeling back pretty quickly if he runs on Saturday,” said Specht. “He shipped down south, ran hard, then had to ship back up here. I entered to see how strong the race drew. I’ll monitor how he’s acting and his energy level and decide on race day. I want to run him in the [$75,000 Gold Rush Stakes] at a mile [on December 3] though; that’s a race we’re looking at too.”

An intriguing wildcard-if she runs-is the filly Havana Angel. She broke her maiden sprinting on turf in France and, after a third-place finish in a Group 3 event overseas, was privately purchased by her current connections. In her first and only U.S. start to date, she finished four lengths behind multiple stakes winner Comanche Country in a two-turn stake at Del Mar on September 10. Southern California trainer Leonard Powell employs local jockey Assael Espinoza to ride.

Chase the Chaos broke his maiden routing two turns on the turf at Canterbury Park and makes his first start for local conditioner Ed Moger Jr. in the Golden Nugget. Starter allowance winners Early Release and Strength of Autism round out the field.

First post this Saturday is 12:45 PM.

$50,000 Golden Nugget Stakes (Race 8 on Saturday for 2-year-olds at six furlongs on the Tapeta)

#1 Havana Angel (Jockey Assael Espinoza…Trainer Leonard Powell…morning line odds of 7-2)

#2 Early Release (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong…9-2)

#3 Chase the Chaos (Armando Ayuso…Ed Moger Jr…12-1)

#4 Clovisconnection (Kevin Radke…Blaine Wright…6-1)

#5 Strength of Autism (William Antongeorgi III…Isidro Tamayo…9-2)

#6 Abinadi (Irving Orozco…Bill McLean…10-1)

#7 Passarando (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht…8-5)


Race 8 on Sunday is the first half of the popular late daily double bet. It is also the feature race of the day: a first level allowance sprint race for 3-year-olds on the main track Tapeta. Punters who analyze Sunday’s eighth race will find plenty of handicapping angles for a handful of horses that appear as attractive players.

Lmlooknformischief will surely garnish support in the wagering pools. He tried routing for the first time on October 28 and failed to finish in-the-money as the 8-5 post time favorite. He returns to sprinting, something he has been very effective at this year, and is the likely one to beat with his best effort in mind. Two races ago, he picked up the silver medal behind older foe Johnny Podres, who finished just .03 seconds off the 6-furlong track record that day. Three races back, Lmlooknformischief finished second behind stakes winner Boise at this level. Faith Taylor trains the California-bred son of Curlin to Mischief. 

C’Mon Man was the runner up finisher on October 28 and will be fit with the cutback in distance. Although C’Mon Man has raced at two turns in his most recent few starts, he sports a 2 for 3 lifetime record (with one other third place finish) in three career starts at the six-furlong distance. Expect him to sit off the pace and hope for a swift tempo to close into.

Trainer Jonathan Wong has two chances to visit the winners circle in the marquee race on Sunday. Both horses enter off layoffs. Love’em N Leave’em won a turf sprint at this allowance level as a 2-year-old but failed to visit the winners circle in three consecutive races over the winter. He makes his first start since March and sports a steady work tab, including a sharp 59 and 3 five-furlong workout that catches the eye. Stablemate Unto Thee was a convincing winner at this level on May 7 but returned one month later and failed to pick up his feet against slightly tougher company. He freshens up four and a half months and, like barn buddy Love’em N Leave’em, also registers a steady work tab leading up to this race.

The always well-regarded Stormy Samurai was pinched back at the start in his most recent afternoon appearance on August 27 and never got going. Since then, the Kentucky-bred son of First Samurai has been gelded. Earlier in his career, Stormy Samurai broke his maiden while earning an above average speed figure and was a sharp winner at this condition following the maiden win. He posts fast morning drills for white-hot trainer Jack Steiner, who has already won with 8 of 23 starters (35%-win rate) at the current meeting.

Front runner Stanford Bay will ensure the pace is swift. Two starts ago, the Jesus Ramos trainee won a $12,500 claimer and returned in his most recent start against older foes and finished fourth while in for a $20,000 claiming tag. Fast Per Se, a distant third at this level on October 9 at Fresno, completes the field.

First post on a 9-race card this Sunday is 12:45 PM.

Race 8 on Sunday (First level allowance for 3-year-olds at six furlongs on the Tapeta)

#1 Fast Per Se (Jockey Julien Couton…Trainer Angelo Tekos Jr.)

#2 Love’em N Leave’em (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong)

#3 Lmlooknformischief (Assael Espinoza…Faith Taylor)

#4 Unto Thee (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong)

#5 C’Mon Man (Irving Orozco…Bill McLean)

#6 Stormy Samurai (Armando Ayuso…Jack Steiner)

#7 Stanford Bay (William Antongeorgi III…Jesus Ramos)


We asked a group of horsemen their thoughts on Flightline, who has quickly put himself in a legendary category with several great racehorses of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Billy Antongeorgi III (Jockey): “He’s a great.”

Manny Badilla (Trainer): “Flightline’s a running son of a gun! But I don’t think he’s as good as Secretariat. The day Secretariat won the Belmont…sheesh.”

Sammy Calvario (trainer): “I thought Life Is Good would give him a run [in the Breeders Cup Classic], but Flightline just ran away from him. That amazed me. He’s a good boy!”

Matt Dinerman (Track announcer/Racing Analyst): “He’s got to be one of the most talented horses since Secretariat. He’s literally a perfect racehorse. He’s got sprint speed but can stretch it to a Classic distance and is tactical. His mechanics/the way he moves is flawless. Unbelievable athlete.”

Reid France (Trainer): “I’ve never seen one with the cruising speed and power that he has. I’m a big fan.”

Monty Hanna (Jockey Agent): “I honestly think he could beat Secretariat at a mile and an eighth or shorter. Mile and a quarter it’s a toss-up. I’d take Secretariat at a mile and a half though.”

Brent Harmon (Jockey Agent): *Speechless*

Mike Lenzini (Trainer): “He’s not as good as Secretariat but right underneath him. I saw Secretariat run at Santa Anita and he was incredible.”

Bill McLean (Trainer): “One word: Superstar.”

Fernando “Shoes” Navarro (Jockey Agent): “He’s the best horse I’ve seen in 30 years.”

Irving Orozco (Jockey): “I don’t know when we’ll ever see another horse like that. He’s the best horse I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure. It would have been nice to see him run another season, but we’ll have to wait and see how his babies turn out.”

Leo Rodriguez (Jockey Agent): “Nobody can beat that horse.”

Evin Roman (Jockey): “He’s a monster.”

Isidro Tamayo (Trainer): “He’s the Secretariat of our times.”


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 4: My Spy (New trainer Gary Greiner…new owner Renee Greiner)

Race 8: Sacred Rider (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

Race 9: Sen Sen (Manny Badilla…Martin Bach) 


Race 1: Draw the Foul (Jim Gilmour…Sue Gilmour)

Race 3: Stateforest (Owner/Trainer Sergio Morfin)

Race 10: Fliplit (Isidro Tamayo…Leon Scott) 


Race 2: Pick Bymy Friend (Jim Gilmour…Sue Gilmour) 

FINISH LINES: In Race 7 on Saturday, 4-year-old gelding Kings River Knight looks for his fourth consecutive victory. After breaking his maiden and winning a California-bred allowance at Del Mar over the summer, the Andy Mathis trainee won a first level allowance against open company on October 3 at Golden Gate. All three aforementioned starts came over turf. Kings River Knight makes his career debut on Tapeta this Saturday…2022 Breeders Cup Classic winning trainer John Sadler has 3-year-old filly Spun Beautiful tabbed for the third race at Golden Gate on Saturday, a maiden claimer for fillies and mares…Jockey Evin Roman leads the Fall Meet jockey standings with 15 wins, 5 more than William Antongeorgi III…In the Trainer Standings, Jack Steiner paves the way with 8 wins. Isidro Tamayo trails right behind with 7 victories, and Ed Moger Jr. and Steve Sherman round out the top three spots with 6 wins apiece…Nominations closed for the Oakland Stakes for sprinters 3-year-olds and up on Thursday and will be published on Friday afternoon. The race is slated for next Saturday…Happy belated birthday wishes to trainer O.J Jauregui and jockey Frank Alvarado…Over $7,000 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot bet heading into Friday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, November 3, 2022


Govenor’s Party is an over achiever. Ever since finishing third at 119-1 in the El Camino Real Derby behind eventual Preakness winner Rombauer, Govenor’s Party has been a horse that Northern California racing fans have followed.

Although Govenor’s Party has only won three times in 27 lifetime starts, he outruns his odds in the races in which he fires his best shot. That was on display two starts ago, when the son of Govenor Charlie finished second behind European bred Lammas while earning a strong 84 Beyer speed figure. If he can duplicate that effort, he has a big shot to win the feature race on Friday at Golden Gate, a one mile and a quarter first level allowance on Tapeta.

“He’s doing good,” said Govenor’s Party’s trainer, Dan Franko. “I think the mile and an eighth, mile and a quarter is the distance for him. He doesn’t like turf, but he really likes the Tapeta.”

Since placing third the El Camino Real Derby, Govenor’s Party has finished in-the-money in six allowance races. Franko hopes that Friday will be the day for Govenor’s Party to get the money at the level, though the trainer admits he will need the right scenario to get the job done.

“He’s a little lazy. He’s got one move,” said Franko. “He needs an aggressive rider who will push him. On the turn, a lot of times you need to be patient. With [Govenor’s Party], you need to get moving on him. He doesn’t like being on the rail. He likes swinging outside and corralling ‘em. He’s a little tricky to ride. Once he gets going, he’s got a beautiful stride.

I love this horse,” continued Franko. “He’s my favorite. He has such a good heart and he’s a tough competitor. I only bought him for a thousand bucks at a sale. He’s come a long way.”

A strong group is assembled for Govenor’s Party to tackle. Southern California shipper Crosby Beach looks like a legit player if he shows up with a anything close to his best race. He makes his second start off a 6-month layoff for trainer Michael McCarthy after a last place finish against restricted 3-year-old company at Del Mar. Before the layoff, he finished third in the Pasadena Stakes-also a restricted race-behind next out stakes winner Sumter. Crosby Beach races over a synthetic surface for the first time and will be navigated by local pilot Assael Espinoza.

Trainer Isidro Tamayo saddles a pair of contenders in America Great and Vantage Point. Both racers enter this spot fresh off front running victories. America Great easily defeated claiming company two weeks ago and wheels back quickly while Vantage Point was last seen defeating rivals at this level routing one mile and a half. The latter is one of two runners (the other being Govenor’s Party) who cuts back in distance.

Well-bred professional Sacred Rider has won three races in a row and makes his first start off a re-claim for trainer Steve Specht, who lost this gelding at the claim box two starts ago. In fact, Sacred Rider has won four of his last five starts, including a trial last month at Fresno in this condition. With that, he should be taken seriously.

Big Flame has run fourth in his last two starts at this allowance level and switches from turf to Tapeta. Barhopsky takes a big bump up in class and rounds out the field. Muhammed Ali was entered to run and drew the rail but was reported as an early scratch on Wednesday.

First post on the 9-race card this Friday is 1:15 PM.

Race 8 on Friday (First level allowance at one mile and a quarter on Tapeta for 3 YO and up)

#1 Muhammad Ali (SCRATCHED)

#2 America Great (Jockey Evin Roman…Trainer Isidro Tamayo…morning line odds of 9-2)

#3 Crosby Beach (Assael Espinoza…Michael McCarthy…7-2)

#4 Big Flame (Irving Orozco…Victor Trujillo…6-1)

#5 Vantage Point (William Antongeorgi III…Isidro Tamayo…5-2)

#6 Barhopsky (Silvio Amador…Arnold Torres…12-1)

#7 Govenor’s Party (Santos Rivera…Dan Franko…10-1)

#8 Sacred Rider (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht…9-2)


The 2-day Breeders Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, run at Keeneland Racecourse this Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5, attracts the top equine athletes of our sport. Golden Gate Fields offers wagering on both days, where fans can play and view all races at Keeneland, Golden Gate, and other tracks across the country.

Fans who attend the races at Golden Gate this Saturday have the option of purchasing tickets to our annual Breeders Cup Watch Party. With a ticket to the Saturday Watch Party, patrons receive free self-parking, a race program, and admission to enjoy live racing at Golden Gate. Once in the grandstand, watch party attendees will head to the fourth-floor turf club where they will receive a table with a private TV monitor and a chance to divulge in an exclusive “All You Can Eat” Buffet.

Fans must purchase tickets online at For more information, please visit our website.


With Breeders Cup Day 2 the headliner of the racing world on Saturday, fans across the country and around the world will be locked and loaded for live racing throughout the United States. Golden Gate Fields is set to offer a 10-race card on Saturday, with first post at 12:45 PM.

The marquee race of the day is the $50,000 Joseph T. Grace, for 3-year-olds and up at one mile and a sixteenth on turf. A field of nine made the overnight, with the best route horses in Northern California clashing in what should be a competitive and wild finish to the wire.

We begin with A Man’s Man, who has wracked off six consecutive victories and looks to extend his win streak to seven. Claimed for just $8,000 in May by trainer Jack Steiner and owners Remmah Racing Inc, the son of Mucho Macho Man has climbed the class ladder and comes off his best effort yet: a gate to wire win in the Bulldog Stakes at Fresno on October 16. From five lifetime starts on turf, A Man’s Man sports a 5-2-2-0 record.

“We’ve been so lucky and obviously very happy with how he’s done,” said Steiner. “The good news is he can run on any surface, and he is versatile. He can go to the lead, or he can stalk. Evin Roman is riding him for the first time on Saturday. He worked him the other morning and loved him.”

I’mgonnabesomebody picked up his first lifetime stakes trophy in the Sam Spear Memorial on turf in September. That day, he set the pace and held off all challengers through the length of the lane. Last seen running third in The Bulldog, I’mgonnabesomebody was off slowly from the gate, spotted the eventual race winner six lengths down the backstretch and came flying home to only lose the contest by a couple lengths. It was a much better than looked effort, says trainer Bill McLean.

“I don’t know what happened in the gate,” said McLean. “He came out shaking his head and didn’t break like he usually does. The favorite got a walking lead. I thought my horse ran well. He’s not a closer, but he swung wide and I was very pleased with how he finished. This time, hopefully he’ll break and lay close.”

Grade 3 winner Freeport Joe returns to the races after a dominant allowance victory over I’mgonnabesomebody five weeks ago. Said race was run over the Tapeta, a surface Freeport Joe thrives over. However, he sports a 1 for 8 lifetime record on grass. I’mgonnabesomebody, on the other hand, is 2 for 4 on turf and 0 for 3 on Tapeta.

The only Southern California shipper in the race is Kanderel, who drops in class after a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita. As a 3-year-old in 2020, Kanderel won the Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate. Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella conditions the son of Candy Ride, who will be ridden by Irving Orozco for the first time. Sticking with interviewing local connections, Orozco got his chance to speak on behalf of Team Kanderel.


“It’s always nice to ride for someone like Richard Mandella,” said Orozco. “Whenever he sends a horse up here, they are in with a good shot. He’s a horse that’s coming out of a tough race. If he runs the same type of race that we saw from him last time, then he’s got a really good shot to win. I think he’s most effective when he has a pace to run into.”

Trainer Andy Mathis campaigns Jimmy Blue Jeans, who freshens up two months after a second-place finish to I’mgonnabesomebody as the favorite in the Sam Spear Memorial. He must make up at least a half-length on the aforementioned rival while facing tough new shooters.

“He’s doing really good,” said Mathis. “He’s training really well. He’s got tactical speed in certain scenarios. Earlier on, he was a bit of a handful, but he’s gotten a little bit better over time. He’s been pretty solid with how he’s run for a while now.”

Sam Spear Memorial fourth and fifth place finishers Harmon and Black Caspian are also entered. Rounding out the field is Lammas, who will only run if the race is washed off the turf and moved to the Tapeta. The Saturday forecast indicates a 25% chance of rain from the early morning until about 3 PM, when the chance of rain increases to 40%. Post time for the Joseph T. Grace, Race 9 on a 10-race card, is 5:21 PM. First post is 12:43 PM.

Race 8 on Friday (First level allowance at one mile and a quarter on Tapeta for 3 YO and up)

#1 Freeport Joe (Jockey Assael Espinoza…Trainer Gloria Haley…morning line odds of 2-1)

#2 Lammas (MAIN TRACK ONLY ENTRANT) (Jockey Kevin Radke…Trainer Manny Badilla…6-1)

#3 A Man’s Man (Evin Roman…Jack Steiner…3-1)

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

#5 I’mgonnabesomebody (Santos Rivera…Bill McLean…9-2)

#6 Kanderel (Irving Orozco…Richard Mandella…8-1)

#7 Jimmy Blue Jeans (William Antongeorgi…Andy Mathis…7-2)

#8 Harmon (Julien Couton…Monty Meier…10-1)


A pair of Steve Sherman first time starters caught the eyes of race watchers on Sunday with admirable wins to kick off their racing careers.

Harcyn, a 2-year-old colt by Goldencents, broke from the inside post in Race 7 and went to the lead after bouncing out of the gate sharply. He set swift fractions of 21.87, 44.93 and 57.38 before kicking away from his company and winning the race by 3 and ¾ lengths. He hit the wire with his ears pricked up and earned a 71 Beyer speed figure for an effort that stopped the clock for six furlongs in 1:09.94 seconds. Harcyn was bred in Kentucky by owner Jerry Moss.

“I’ve always really liked him,” said Sherman. “When he drew the rail, I was a little bit concerned. Turning for home, it looked like he was idling a bit but [jockey] Billy [Antongeorgi III] gave him a couple taps on the shoulder and he kicked on again.”

The Lawrence and Anne Jett homebred Heavenly Prince has been a work in progress for Sherman. It took him until age 5 to make it to the races, but the wait was worthwhile given how well he performed in his first start on Sunday. Sent off at odds of 9-2 in the nightcap, the Kentucky-bred son of Cairo Prince bobbled slightly at the start, sat last by about 15 lengths down the backstretch, began a move on the outside turning for home and flew by 7 rivals to win the sprint contest by a measured length. His Beyer came out to be a 70.

“I was a little surprised when he was so far back early on in the race,” said Sherman. “I didn’t necessarily think he’d be on the lead, but he was pretty far out of it early. He was another one that showed us talent in the mornings. To see him finish the way he did was really nice.”

Antongeorgi III navigated both maiden winners. He had a successful three-day work period last week, winning a combined six races from 14 rides. One win came in the feature race of the week on Saturday, the $75,000 Pike Place Dancer Stakes, aboard 2-year-old filly Quickly Park It. Owned and bred by Harris Farms and trained by Sean McCarthy, 12-1 shot Quickly Park It defeated runner up finisher Ami Please by a half dozen lengths. Plans for her next start are to be determined but will likely take place in Southern California.

“It was a great week,” said Antongeorgi III. “All the horses fired. It’s pretty nice when you have a week where everything just seems to be clicking and the momentum is going your way.”


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 3: Whoa Buddy (New trainer Jesus Ramos…New owner [s] Candelario Barragan and Hector Rangel)

Race 7: Imperial Creed (New Owner/Trainer Rene Amescua)


Race 1: Jerry Jeff Walker (Leobardo Rivera…Manuela Franco Sosa)

Race 3: Polacco (Jack Steiner…Steiner and Randy Marriott) 


Race 1: Speed Grazy (Owner/Trainer Dan Franko) 

FINISH LINES: Congratulations to 2-year-old gelding Passarando, trainer Steve Specht and owners Larry and Marianne Williams. On Saturday in Race 8 at Santa Anita, Passarando wore down 2-5 race favorite Giver Not a Taker to score an 11-1 upset in the $175,000 Golden State Juvenile for California-bred or sired 2-year-olds. Umberto Rispoli guided the son of Tamarando to victory…Congratulations are also in order for apprentice Adrian Escobedo, who picked up his first two-win day at Golden Gate on Sunday. Escobedo won the opener aboard Into Bourbon and guided Don’t Tell Hydee to a runaway win in Race 6. Both horses are conditioned by Jamey Thomas…10 races made the Sunday overnight, with first post set at 12:15 PM. The main event is Race 9, a first level allowance for filly and mare sprinters that drew a full field of 12.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, October 27, 2022


With multiple longshots scoring surprise victories late in the card last Sunday afternoon, no one correctly tabbed all five winners in the Late Pick 5 sequence. With that, there will be a carryover in this Friday’s Late Pick 5 wager of $38,250.

The Late Pick 5, a 50-cent minimum bet, is comprised of the last five races on any given race program. 40 horses are entered throughout the five-race sequence on Friday, with a pair of allowance races highlighting the lineup.

First post on Friday is 1:45 PM. The first leg of the Late Pick 5, Race 4, has a scheduled post time of 3:24 PM. 


Handicappers who wish to divulge in the Late Pick 5 sequence on Friday will start out by analyzing a race (Race 4) that is filled with quality 3-year-olds. In fact, all six entrants in the one-mile Tapeta contest have started in at least one stakes race. Come post time, there is unlikely to be a clear-cut favorite.

Off the pace type C’mon Man drew the rail for trainer Bill McLean. McLean is hoping that his gelding-along with jockey Irving Orozco-can work their way towards the outside of the field by the time the group hits the stretch run.

“He’s not very aggressive on the inside,” said McLean. “He’s not the bravest down in there.”

In the Golden Nugget Stakes as a 2-year-old, C’Mon Man had room to come through a hole on the rail in the final furlong. He failed to move forward and wound up third as the favorite. In the Robert Dupret Derby at Santa Rosa two starts ago, C’Mon Man was gathering momentum on the fence, then was in tight at the quarter pole, had to put on the breaks, and failed to finish ahead of the top three.

“I don’t think he’s a horse who can really ‘start and stop,’” said McLean. “He’s got a nice, long stride and a good cruising speed, but you have to keep him moving.”

C’Mon Man exits a fifth-place finish against older second-level allowance foes. The winner of the race, A Man’s Man, returned to win the Bulldog Stakes at Fresno two weeks ago.

“Getting back to his age group should be good for him,” said McLean. “Being an off the pace horse, we’re hoping for a little speed to run into. I’m happy with the way he’s training.”

Crazy Dreams draws to the immediate outside of C’Mon Man and appears as a legit player. Trained by Isidro Tamayo, the California-bred by Gallant Son romped in a first level allowance at Sacramento over the summer and was last seen finishing as the runner up behind Southern California shipper Optimising in an allowance race on turf. Tamayo noted that, although Crazy Dreams has shown talent since Day 1, he has been a work in progress.

“He has natural speed and can get aggressive,” said Tamayo. “Last race, we took the blinkers off and it helped him relax. What I want him to do is learn to stalk. In his last race, he finally relaxed off a pacesetter. I was really happy with that. If we can get him to settle in his races, he’s going to be a good horse for the future.”

After a double-digit length loss on turf, Midnight Mammoth returns to the Tapeta for the first time since beating first level allowance caliber rivals in May. His best race would be good enough to win; he picked up the silver medal when finishing second behind stakes winner I’mgonnabesomebody at Pleasanton in June and was a much better than looked third in the Robert Dupret Derby.

“The key with him is not taking too much of a hold of him,” said Midnight Mammoth’s trainer, Steve Sherman. “If you let him run his race and let him place himself as the race unfolds, he’ll give you a good effort. He sort of wants the rider to be the passenger, not the pilot. I can’t tell you that he’s an easy horse to ride because he isn’t, but as soon as you start taking a hold of him and trying to tell him what to do, he’s going to call it a day.”

Lmlooknformischief attempts routing for the first time for trainer Faith Taylor and appears as a colt who has only improved with racing experience. His recent afternoon showings have been very respectable, running second behind stakes winner Boise and hard knocker Johnny Podres in his last two starts. The latter racer was just .03 seconds off the track record when he defeated Lmlooknformischief and returned last week to defeat older allowance turf sprinters.

“We always liked him from the get-go,” said Taylor. “We had intended to run him going long [earlier in his career], but he had some foot problems and we had to be patient. He’s past that now. He covers a lot of ground when he runs; I’m hopeful he’ll get the distance. I think he’ll probably be coming from off the pace, but the rider will have to see how he gets out of the gate and how the race plays out.”

2021 Golden Nugget Stakes winner Dr Pescado returns off a layoff for trainer Felix Rondan and appears as a compelling price horse. His first start at a route of ground resulted in a third-place finish behind Boise and Degree of Risk. He then finished well behind the winner in the El Camino Real Derby and was given eight and a half months off. Rondan also saddles Nuestro Engreido, who finished fourth behind Optimising and Crazy Dreams in September.

“Dr Pescado is doing good,” said Rondan. “He’s fit. He’s been ready to race. We’ve just been looking for a race for him. Nuestro Engreido is going [to the front]. So, we have one in front and one off the pace.”

Race 4 on Friday (Open Allowance for 3-year-olds at one mile on the Tapeta)

#1 C’Mon Man (Jockey Irving Orozco…Trainer Bill McLean…Morning line odds of 2-1)

#2 Crazy Dreams (Evin Roman…Isidro Tamayo…6-1)

#3 Nuestro Engreido (Brayan Pena…Felix Rondan…10-1)

#4 Lmlooknformischief (Assael Espinoza…Faith Taylor…9-2)

#5 Midnight Mammoth (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman…9-5)

#6 Dr Pescado (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…5-1)


The Felix Rondan trained Juana Gallo has won a pair of allowance races on dirt and looks to transfer her precocious, winning form to the turf while stretching out in distance in the first stake of the Golden Gate fall meet this Saturday, the $75,000 Pike Place Dancer for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.

Juana Gallo drew the rail for her route debut. A filly that has shown front running speed in sprints, she figures to be close to the pace going longer.

“Juana Gallo is ready,” said Rondan. “Her workouts have been nice and easy. I’ve been training her to go a mile. She’s always trained like a filly with talent.”

Juana Gallo will need to run a career best race if she wants to take home the Pike Place Dancer Stakes trophy. Among the main contenders are a pair of Southern California maiden winners who appear as the ones to beat. Bolt’s Broad, trained by Shelbe Ruis, was last seen running third behind Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies turf contender Comanche Country in the Grade 3 Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita three weeks ago. Ami Please, trained by Doug O’Neill, was a gate to wire winner in a maiden special weight on October 2 and makes her first start against winners in the Pike Place Dancer.

Maiden Jennifer’s d’Light comes off a three-quarter length loss in her first try going long at Santa Anita and has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite for trainer Michael McCarthy. Purchased for a whopping $650,000 as a yearling, the daughter of City of Light seeks black type and a first career stakes win. E Z Pharis is a daughter of American Pharoah who broke her maiden sprinting but has failed to make an impact in her last three afternoon appearances. She routes for the first time on grass for Southern California conditioner Ruben Alvarado.

Sally’s Sassy was a first-out turf sprint winner for Jonathan Wong and Tommy Town Thoroughbreds at Del Mar in August. She returned one month later against stakes company and only beat one horse home. The $190,000 sale purchase by West Coast looks to improve in her second lifetime route race while racing in Northern California for the first time.

California-bred Smiling Lady broke her maiden sprinting at Pleasanton and has since finished off-the-board twice in a pair of state bred sprint races at Del Mar for trainer Andy Mathis. Another California-bred entered in the Pike Place Dancer, Quickly Park It, freshens up two months after a maiden victory at Del Mar. Sean McCarthy trains the daughter of Prospect Park for owner/breeder Jon Harris.

First post on the 9-race cards this Saturday and Sunday is 1:45 PM.

Race 7 on Saturday (Pike Place Dancer Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on turf)

#1 Juana Gallo (Jockey Santos Rivera…Trainer Felix Rondan…Morning line odds of 10-1)

#2 Ami Please (Armando Ayuso…Doug O’Neill …2-1)

#3 E Z Pharis (Irving Orozco…Ruben Alvarado …20-1)

#4 Jennifer’s d’Light (Assael Espinoza…Michael McCarthy…9-5)

#5 Bolt’s Broad (Frank Alvarado…Shelbe Ruis…9-2)

#6 Sally’s Sassy (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong …8-1)

#7 Quickly Park It (William Antongeorgi III…Sean McCarthy…15-1)

#8 Smiling Lady (Kevin Radke…Andy Mathis…10-1)


Below is a list of claims from last week


Race 2: Jaycee (New trainer Isidro Tamayo…new owner Joel Gonzalez)

Race 6: Danielle’s Secret (Isidro Tamayo…Frankly Speaking LLC)

Race 8: Sassy Einstein (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)


Race 2: Mybluebell (Reid France…Lamonte Isom)

Race 3: Big Chick (Reid France…Hat Trick Racing)

Race 4: Bronze Warrior (Isidro Tamayo…Narasimham L. Ayyagari)

Race 7: Mr Botanicals (Isidro Tamayo…Miguel Chavez)

Race 7: Thunder of Zion (Isidro Tamayo…Raymond Brogliatti and Michael Fried)

Race 8: Hot Rageous (Isidro Tamayo…Frankly Speaking LLC)

Race 9: Mischievous Pirate (Blaine Wright…George, George, Isetta, Isetta and Wall)


Race 1: Friday’s At Shady (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

Race 1: Implicitly (Jonathan Wong…TAK Racing)

Race 3: Arma d’Oro (Dan Markle…Glyn Kelly, Anne MacLellan and Len Strandley Jr.)

Race 5: Rocktillyoudrop (Tim Bellasis…Bellasis, Donna Smartt and Cassandra Tschanz)

Race 9: Dizzy Dazmura (Owner/Trainer Jose Bautista)

FINISH LINES: Along with the fourth race on Friday, Race 6 is the co-feature: a first level allowance for fillies and mares at one mile and an eighth. Morning line favorite Imperial Creed has thrived on the Tapeta and faces seven other rivals…The signature race of the day on Sunday is a first level allowance at six furlongs, Race 8. Among the main contenders in the field of nine are horses who have already won at the level: Bobby’s Alibi, Gerlach’s and Playing Hardball…Golden Gate allowance winner Passarando faces California-bred stakes company in the $175,000 Golden State Juvenile at Santa Anita on Saturday. Trainer Steve Specht employs Umberto Rispoli to ride the Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams homebred, who is 4-1 on the morning line…Also on Saturday, multiple Golden Gate stakes winner Avenue de France competes in the $200,000 Goldikova Stakes at Santa Anita for trainer Leonard Powell…We welcome back Jim Gilmour, Sergio Perez, Jose Puentes, and Angelo Tekos Jr. to the training colony. Tekos Jr. had his string in Southern California since June of 2021 but has relocated to GGF. The other three trainers raced at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington over the summer and are back in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future…Along with the $38,250 Late Pick 5 carryover on Friday, the Golden Pick Six carryover pool sits at $2,504…Happy birthday to trainer Jeff Bonde, who celebrates his birthday on Sunday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, October 20, 2022


Nine stake races are scheduled for the upcoming Fall Meet at Golden Gate, which kicks off this Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday, December 11. The Fall Meet offers 25 live race days, with first post each day at 1:15 PM unless otherwise noted.

The signature race of the meeting is the $100,000 Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta. Set for Saturday, November 26, The Berkeley Handicap is likely to attract defending champion Freeport Joe, Fresno stakes winner A Man’s Man and possibly Sam Spear Memorial victor I’mgonnabesomebody.

The first stake of the season, the Pike Place Dancer for 2-year-olds fillies at one mile on turf, will be run on October 29. Seven days later, racers 3-years-old and upward take center stage-also on turf-in the Joseph T. Grace at one mile and a sixteenth.

A pair of 2-year-old stakes are part of the road to the El Camino Real Derby in February. The Golden Nugget, a 6-furlong Tapeta sprint slated for November 12, typically features a precocious and good quality field. The top finishers in the Golden Nugget usually compete three weeks later in another stake, the December 3 Gold Rush at one mile on the Tapeta. In the female division, 2-year-old fillies get their chance to shine in the Golden Gate Debutante, a six-furlong contest scheduled for Friday, November 25.

The best sprinters in the Bay Area will point towards the Oakland Stakes on November 19, for 3-year-olds and upward at six furlongs on the main track. A large field of 13 competed last year in the Bear Fan, a $75,000 stake restricted to California-bred or sired fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward. This year, the Bear Fan will be held on December 10. The Closing Day feature on Sunday, December 11 is the Miss America for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward at one mile and a sixteenth on turf.


Sat. October 29: $75,000 Pike Place Dancer Stakes (2-year-old fillies at one mile on turf)

Sat. November 5: $50,000 Joseph T. Grace Stakes (3-year-olds and up at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)

Sat. November 12: $50,000 Golden Nugget Stakes (2-year-olds at six furlongs on Tapeta)

Sat. November 19: $50,000 Oakland Stakes (3-year-olds and up at six furlongs on Tapeta)

Fri. November 25: $50,000 Golden Gate Debutante (2-year-old fillies at six furlongs on Tapeta)

Sat. November 26: $100,000 Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap (3-year-olds and up at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)

Sat. December 3: $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes (2-year-olds at one mile on Tapeta)

Sat. December 10: $75,000 Bear Fan Stakes (California-bred or sired fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at six furlongs on Tapeta)

Sun. December 11: $50,000 Miss America Stakes (Fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)


The newest edition to the Northern California training colony will saddle his first starter this weekend. Jorge Bautista, former assistant to Duane Offield, took out his trainers license a short time ago and campaigns first time starter Murloc Bay in Race 9 on Saturday.

“I’m excited to get started,” said Bautista. “I don’t really feel nervous because I’ve worked under Duane for a long time, and I had to make some training decisions on my own right before Duane passed [last month].”

Bautista, a cousin of Golden Gate trainer Jose and brother of assistant starter Hugo, began working as a groom in 1996. He moved to Offield’s barn in 2007 and was hired as the assistant for the outfit in 2016.

“Duane taught me a lot,” said Bautista. “He was a very patient trainer. He taught me to be patient.”

Bautista currently oversees a dozen horses. Nine of the 12 horses in his stable are owned by Rozamund Barclay, who was Offield’s most notable owner. One of Barclay’s horses, 6-year-old mare Northern Rose, won at 17-1 two days after Offield passed away and was Offield’s last winner.

“It was pretty emotional,” said Bautista on Northern Rose’s upset win. “Roz [Barclay] was so happy. It was a great moment.”

Bautista is hoping for a similarly special moment with Murloc Bay on Saturday.

“He’s working really good, but you never know what will happen in the race,” said Bautista.


The feature race on the “Opening Day” Friday card, Race 5, is a first level allowance for 3-year-olds and up. Seven runners have been assembled to sprint five furlongs on the turf. Among the contenders is a hard-knocking California-bred, an old pro, and a pair of impressive maiden winners. For the level, it’s a tough assignment, and the horses who fail to wear their best running shoes may prove vulnerable.

If Johnny Podres can come anywhere close to duplicating his last start, the others will be battling for the minor spoils. In a September 18 trial at this level over the Tapeta main track, Johnny Podres set the pace, drew off from his competition down the stretch and hit the wire about a half dozen lengths ahead of the runner up finisher. He stopped the clock for six furlongs in a sizzling fast 1:08.26, just .03 seconds off the track record set by Mah Gellin in 2016.

With that in mind, California-bred Johnny Podres is changing things up for Friday’s main event. He moves to the turf, a surface he was won thrice over, and cuts back in distance to five furlongs. Santos Rivera was aboard for last month’s runaway win and retains the mount for trainer Steve Miyadi.

Hard knocking 7-year-old Honeymoonz Over has been an admirable racer in Northern California throughout the years. With 66 lifetime starts to his name, Honeymoonz Over enters this race fresh off a three and a half-length score against high level claimers last month. In his last two starts sprinting on the turf-both at this level-he won once and lost by a half-length, respectively. D. Wayne Baker trains the Kentucky-bred by Congrats.

“He’s doing really well,” said Baker. “I think he’s going to get a good set up. His turf sprint numbers are comparable with every horse in this race.”

Recent maiden graduates Blazing Jamie and To Speight Her face winners for the first time. Blazing Jamie had been knocking on the door for a maiden win and picked up his diploma last time out sprinting on the Tapeta for trainer Cliff DeLima. To Speight Her, a $100,000 sale purchase, ran fourth in a large field on debut at Del Mar in July and returned five weeks later to break the maiden on turf at the aforementioned seaside oval for trainer Andy Mathis.

“We’ve always thought To Speight Her had ability,” said Mathis.

I’m Corfu was claimed off a $32,000 victory at Del Mar by trainer Isidro Tamayo but has finished off the board in three races since. His last start at Golden Gate came against salty company, finishing fourth behind stakes winner Cool Mountain Lad and multiple allowance winners Irrefutable and Unraptured.

Star Racer has competed down south in his last 10 starts for trainer Angelo Tekos Jr. The California-bred son of Vronsky began his career at Golden Gate in 2020 and has always been well regarded. But since winning a California-bred allowance race at Del Mar last year, Star Racer has lost seven consecutive races. Moving back to Golden Gate in search of improvement in form, he adds blinkers and picks up the services of veteran rider Frank Alvarado.

Love Candy makes his first start as a gelding for trainer Ed Moger Jr. The last time Love Candy raced, he competed against restricted 3-year-old company at this level in January and finished as the runner up. He sports a steady series of drills off the layoff including one 6-furlong work and a 7-furlong stamina building drill.

Race 5 on Friday (First level allowance at five furlongs on turf)

#1 Johnny Podres (Jockey Santos Rivera…Trainer Steve Miyadi…morning line odds of 8-5)

#2 Love Candy (Francisco Duran…Ed Moger Jr…12-1)

#3 Honeymoonz Over (William Antongeorgi III…D. Wayne Baker…6-1)

#4 Star Racer (Frank Alvarado…Angelo Tekos Jr.…10-1)

#5 I’m Corfu (Assael Espinoza…Isidro Tamayo…8-1)

#6 To Speight Her (Kevin Radke…Andy Mathis…5-2)

#7 Blazing Jamie (Pedro Terrero…Cliff DeLima…9-2)


4-year-old filly Tiz an Eventure was clinging onto a four-race win streak heading into her last start, the Golden Gate Turf Distaff. She ran fourth, soundly beaten for the top three placings by a pair of multiple stakes winners and a Southern California shipper.

No biggie. Trainer Jack Steiner, who claimed Tiz an Edventure in April for $25,000 along with co-owner Randy Marriott, would be the first to say that she has done exceptionally well since moving to his stable. After being claimed for the $25,000 tag, Steiner gave Tiz an Edventure a confidence booster when aggressively dropping her in class to a $16,000 claiming condition. She won the race by three-quarters of a length, defeating a next out winner in the process. Shortly thereafter, Tiz an Edventure won a pair of first level allowance races and then, two starts back, finished ahead of a decent second level allowance group on August 28.

“She has exceeded expectations,” said Steiner. “A really nice filly to be around in the barn. She’s a real light filly and isn’t a heavy eater. She just goes out there and does her thing. She’s tried hard every race we’ve had her.”

Tiz An Edventure gets back to the second level allowance ranks in the sixth race on Saturday, a one-mile turf route for fillies and mares. Coincidentally, the second and third place finishers behind Tiz an Edventure on August 28 (La Reine’s Legacy and La Vikina) are also entered in the sixth race on Saturday.

“She’s doing phenomenal,” said Steiner with a smile. “The plan is to win again.”

Also entered in the sixth race on Saturday is recent first level allowance winner Shezaghost, the Blaine Wright trained pair of La Reine’s Legacy and Strike At Dawn, European bred Scherzo, and 3-year-old allowance winner Isola Mia.

Race 6 on Saturday (Second level allowance at one mile on turf)

#1 Scherzo (Jockey Irving Orozco…Trainer Manny Badilla…morning line odds of 12-1)

#2 La Reine’s Legacy (Kevin Radke…Blaine Wright…8-1)

#3 Shezaghost (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman …9-2)

#4 Isola Mia (Assael Espinoza…Michael McCarthy…7-2)

#5 Strike At Dawn (Silvio Amador…Blaine Wright…6-1)

#6 Tiz an Edventure (Evin Roman…Jack Steiner…2-1)

#7 La Vikina (Santos Rivera…Isidro Tamayo…3-1)

FINISH LINES: With a new meet starting Friday, the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager begins anew…An intriguing race part of the Golden Hour Late Pick 4 on Saturday: Race 8. A full field of 10 filly and mare sprinters dash five furlongs on the turf. Among the leading entrants is Althea Gibson, a Nick Alexander homebred shipping north while making her first start under the care of trainer Steve Miyadi…Apprentice jockey Oscar Gonzalez will be making his Golden Gate debut at the Fall Meet. A 10-pound apprentice, Gonzalez has won 3 races from 41 thoroughbred mounts, with 13 other in-the-money finishes. He has ridden at Los Alamitos, Ferndale and Fresno and will be represented at GGF by agent Luis Fierro.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, September 29, 2022


25 days after a first career stakes win, 4-year-old gelding I’mgonnabesomebody returns to the races against open allowance company in the fourth race on Friday. The feature event of the day drew a strong field of entrants that includes Grade 3 winner Freeport Joe.

Trained by Bill McLean, I’mgonnabesomebody was last seen scoring a gate-to-wire victory in the Sam Spear Memorial, a one-mile and a sixteenth turf race. Though the distance for Race 4 on Friday is the same, the son of Will Take Charge moves to the Tapeta, a surface in which he is 0 for 3 over.

McLean could have waited to run I’mgonnabesomebody in the Bulldog Stakes at Fresno next month. Fresno has a dirt track, a surface in which I’mgonnabesomebody has thrived on in the past. Ultimately, I’mgonnabesomebody’s kryptonite-quirkiness-is what led McLean to enter him in the Friday feature instead.

“Sometimes he doesn’t want to train. He’ll jog and gallop fine. When we want him to give us a workout, we have to break him out of the gate because if we don’t, he’ll refuse to work,” said McLean. “In the barn, he’s a cool dude. Nice and relaxed. You can pet him and feed him treats. On the track he’s got a mind of his own.

The other morning, he broke out of the gate and just sort of galloped around there,” continued McLean. “So, he didn’t record a published workout. If we waited for the Fresno race, we would have to get a couple works into him. He’s still fit right now. I didn’t want to take the chance that he wouldn’t work and we’d lose fitness going into the stake. So, we’re running on Friday.”

In Friday’s fourth race, recent wire-to-wire winner Mucho Machismo figures to show front running speed. McLean says if that happens, his gelding is versatile enough to sit just off the pace.

“We don’t need the lead,” said McLean. “I figure [Mucho Machismo] is going to be gunning it [out of the gate]. We can sit second and that would be fine.”

I’mgonnabesomebody will need to run his very best race to win. His main challenger is Freeport Joe, whose 6 of 7 lifetime wins have come over the Golden Gate Tapeta. Earlier this year, Freeport Joe won the All-American Stakes and two additional open allowance races. His most significant win to date came in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap last November. Regular rider Assael Espinoza has the call on Friday for trainer Gloria Haley.

Harmon finished fourth in the Sam Spear Memorial and will need to make up three lengths on I’mgonnabesomebody. Although he has been effective in turf races, Harmon thrives on the Tapeta. From eight lifetime wins, six of them have come on the Golden Gate main track. Monty Meier conditions and employs William Antongeorgi III to ride.

American Farmer defeated Freeport Joe and Harmon at this level in a two-turn event on February 26. Since then, the son of Bluegrass Cat has lost six consecutive races including a pair of runs in which he finished behind I’mgonnabesomebody. Regular pilot Pedro Terrero retains the mount for trainer Steve Sherman.

Our Silver Oak, making his second start off a lengthy layoff for trainer Blaine Wright, could improve with a race under his belt. He was no match for I’mgonnabesomebody in the Sam Spear Memorial on September 3 but, before the long vacation, won a pair of second level allowance races on the Tapeta. Irving Orozco was aboard for both wins and will be back atop the son of Unusual Heat on Friday.

Mucho Machismo broke his maiden three weeks ago and makes his first start versus winners against a salty bunch. Trainer Dan Franko and apprentice Adrian Escobedo team up.

Race 4 on Friday (Open allowance at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)

#1 Harmon (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…Trainer Monty Meier…morning line odds of 6-1)

#2 Freeport Joe (Assael Espinoza…Gloria Haley…2-1)

#3 American Farmer (Pedro Terrero…Steve Sherman…9-2)

#4 Our Silver Oak (Irving Orozco…Blaine Wright…9-2)

#5 I’mgonnabesomebody (Santos Rivera…Bill McLean…9-5)

#6 Mucho Machismo (Adrian Escobedo…Dan Franko…12-1)


If horses could talk, you can imagine that 4-year-old California-bred gelding Kings River Knight would tell you that he loves being close to the beach. Over the summer, the son of Acclamation broke his maiden at Del Mar against California-bred ‘special weight company before, about a month later, defeating state-bred allowance foes in his first start against winners.

Since moving back home with the rest of Bay Area conditioner Andy Mathis’s Del Mar string, Kings River Knight may have noticed that the Northern California beaches are a good distance away from Golden Gate Fields. With Golden Gate’s proximity to the bay, however, Kings River Knight still resides close to the water.

Hopefully that keeps him happy.

Kings River Knight faces seven other rivals in the co-featured ninth race on a strong 10-race card at Golden Gate this Saturday. The one-mile turf affair drew plenty of speed, with front runners U. S. Danger and Anitanewmercedes both entered. Even though Kings River Knight led at every pole when he broke his maiden, he sat in midfield and pounced on the front runners in his most recent win. A perfect two for two routing on turf, Kings River Knight has the tactical ability and raw talent to receive a good trip and remain undefeated on the lawn.

“We’ll just take it race by race with him,” said Mathis. “I always thought he had ability. He’s an Acclamation, so I figured he would like going two turns on the turf. This isn’t a do or die race. If he wins, we’ll try to win the condition a second time [being a California-bred]. If he loses, we’ll go back in the condition next time too. We’re going to see how good he can be.”

Kings River Knight will still need to run his very best to win Saturday’s ninth race. U. S. Danger was the runner up finisher behind Black Caspian in his most recent afternoon appearance at this level on August 14 at Santa Rosa. The aforementioned foe has since come back to finish third in a second level allowance. U. S. Danger has never lost when competing on the Golden Gate grass course, with 3 wins from 3 lifetime starts over the surface. Leading trainer Jonathan Wong conditions the 5-year-old gelding.

Anitanewmercedes makes his first start off a fourth month layoff for trainer Isidro Tamayo and can be competitive if he shows up with his best effort. The last time we saw him race, he went off favored at this level and finished in midfield. Earlier this year, he finished third in a California-bred allowance race at Santa Anita. The two finishers who placed ahead of him that day both came back to win their next starts.

The Bill McLean trained pair of Table for Ten and Shot of a Lifetime return from Del Mar and appear well spotted for a competitive run. Big Flame ran a better than looked fourth in his first start off a Del Mar claim by trainer Victor Trujillo and returns at the same condition three weeks later. Buenisimo failed to fire at this level on the Tapeta when finishing well behind next out second level allowance winner A Man’s Man and seeks to rebound while switching to the turf. Recent claiming winner Walking Boss faces tougher this time and rounds out the field of eight. 

Race 9 on Saturday (First level allowance at one mile on turf)

#1 Big Flame (Jockey Santos Rivera…Trainer Victor Trujillo…morning line odds of 8-1)

#2 Kings River Knight (Frank Alvarado…Andy Mathis…8-5)

#3 Buenisimo (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman…8-1)

#4 U. S. Danger (Assael Espinoza…Jonathan Wong…5-2)

#5 Anitanewmercedes (Brayan Pena…Isidro Tamayo…10-1)

#6 Table for Ten (Pedro Terrero…Bill McLean…8-1)

#7 Shot of a Lifetime (Kevin Radke…Bill McLean…6-1)

#8 Walking Boss (Armando Ayuso…Tim Bellasis…15-1)


Sunday afternoon is Closing Day of the Summer Meet at Golden Gate Fields. On that note, mandatory payouts will be in play for the Golden Pick Six, Rolling Super High Five, and both Pick 5 wagers. First post on an enticing 11-race card is 12:45 PM.

Heading into Friday’s program, the Golden Pick Six jackpot pool has a carryover amount of $17,761. If there fails to be a single ticket winner on Friday or Saturday, the carryover amount by Sunday will have increased. A six-figure new-money pool is projected. The Pick Six sequence features the last six races of the day (Races 6-11) and is a 20-cent minimum bet.

The Early Pick 5 is particularly intriguing for horse players with its low 14% takeout. The Early Pick 5 sequence involves the first five races on the card while the Late Pick 5 consists of the last five races. Both Pick 5’s are a 50-cent minimum wager.

The last race in which the $1 minimum Rolling Super High Five wager is offered is the final mandatory payout bet of the day. For a race to offer Super High Five wagering, that race must have seven or more starters. Unless there are two or more scratches in the nightcap, Race 11 will be the mandatory payout leg for the Super High Five.


7-year-old sprinter Papapifas returns to the races on Sunday in Race 5 after a decisive victory one month ago against high level claimers. Papapifas had not visited the winners circle since July of 2020 at Pleasanton but put up several sneaky good races against salty allowance company over the last couple of years for trainer Guillermo Preciado. Papifas is entered in a first level allowance race this weekend.

Earlier in his career, Papifas was a horse who showed front running speed out of the gate and generally needed the lead to win. In his most recent start on September 2, Papifas stalked the pace and rallied down the lane to defeat a field that included next out winner Honeymoonz Over. The Beyer speed figure he earned that day (80) indicates his best race is fast enough to be competitive against this field. Jockey Alejandro Gomez guided Papifas to victory in September and is back aboard on Sunday.

Among the main contenders facing Papapifas is Gerlach’s, who drops in class from second level allowance competition after a 3-length loss at the level. Race winner Cool Mountain Lad is a stakes winner. Gerlach’s should appreciate the class relief and figures to get play in the betting pools for D. Wayne Baker, who trained Gerlach’s to a “last to first” win at this first level allowance condition two starts ago on dirt at Pleasanton. Baker also saddles Chief Jackson, coming off a third-place effort against restricted claimers.

Irish bred 3-year-old Almanera draws the rail in his Northern California debut. After breaking his maiden in a 7-furlong sprint over a synthetic surface in Europe, he was purchased out of the race by owners Little Red Feather Racing. His first three North American starts-two at Santa Anita and one at Del Mar-all resulted in off-the-board-finishes. Now trained by Andy Mathis, Almanera sports two fast works over the local strip leading up to this race.

Bobby’s Alibi was a winner at this level just two weeks ago and wheels back quickly for trainer Faith Taylor. Last time out, he sat off a blazing fast pace and rallied down the lane to beat Southern California shipper Cees Get Degrees and allowance winner Playing Hardball for a length and a quarter score.

Completing the field of a half dozen is Murphy’s Tiger. He won at this condition in April but has failed to visit the winners circle in four starts since then. For this race, trainer Tim McCanna opts to try blinkers on the son of Smiling Tiger.

The fifth race on Sunday is one of three allowance races spread throughout a terrific Closing Day card. A friendly second reminder: first post is 12:45 PM.

Race 5 on Sunday (First level allowance at six furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Almanera (Jockey Assael Espinoza…Trainer Andy Mathis)

#2 Gerlach’s (William Antongeorgi III…D. Wayne Baker)

#3 Papapifas (Alejandro Gomez…Guillermo Preciado)

#4 Bobby’s Alibi (Pedro Terrero…Faith Taylor)

#5 Murphys Tiger (Armando Ayuso…Tim McCanna)

#6 Chief Jackson (Kevin Radke…D. Wayne Baker)


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 4: Texas Lonhro (New trainer Isidro Tamayo…New owner(s) Thomas Lenberg and Michael Wickman)

Race 4: Tiz Vicious (Jonathan Wong…TAK Racing)

Race 5: Rowangoeshollywood (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)


Race 4: Big Rosie (D. Wayne Baker…Richard Barton)

Race 8: Ethan’s Animal (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables and Clay Sides)


Race 1: Mr. Mason (Leobardo Rivera…Manuela Franco Sosa)

Race 5: Mizzdyna (Owner/Trainer Dan Franko)

FINISH LINES: With Santa Anita beginning their race meet on Friday, The Golden Hour wagers will be back in play on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday…Race 10 on Saturday, the last leg of the Golden Hour Late Pick 4 and Double bets, is a first level allowance at one mile and a half (12 furlongs) on the Tapeta…Also on Saturday, 3-year-old filles journey a mile on grass in Race 6, a first level allowance…Along with Race 5 on Sunday (article above), the two other co-features are Race 6, a first level allowance at on mile on turf for fillies and mares, and Race 11, a first level allowance for filly and mare sprinters at 6 furlongs on Tapeta…Also over the weekend, full fields have been assembled for a pair of 2-year-old maiden special weight races. Race 7 on Saturday is a five and one-half furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies while Race 7 on Sunday is at the same conditions for 2-year-olds…Update: Golden Gate Fields Turf Distaff winner Natural Colour is bound for the $80,000 Swingtime Stakes next Sunday at Santa Anita for trainer Manny Badilla…Good luck to all horsemen and horsewomen, handicappers, bettors and fans at The Big Fresno Fair. We’ll see you back at GGF on Friday, October 21 for Opening Day of the Fall Meet!

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, September 23, 2022


In the second half of every year, trainers pay close attention to their 2-year-olds in hopes of finding a future star (or two or three) in the bunch. In Race 3 this Friday at Golden Gate, 2-year-old fillies who have already shown ability and the will to win are entered in a first level allowance. A victory in a race like this will likely lead to a try against stakes company later in the fall.

Among those signed up for the third race on Friday is Juana Gallo, the only two-time winner in the field. By late California-stallion Coach Bob, Juana Gallo kicked off her career with back-to-back runaway victories. Both races were run over dirt on the Northern California fair circuit. She makes her first ever start over the main track Tapeta, though trainer Felix Rondan does not believe the surface swap will be an issue.

“She’s ready,” said Rondan. “She’s doing good. We have always liked her. She is training good [on the Tapeta].”

Juana Gallo faces her toughest task to date. A player who figures to make things interesting is Honorable Gal, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Honor Code who broke her maiden at first asking on September 3 against numerous well-regarded fillies. That afternoon, Honorable Gal set the pace and never looked back, beating the runner up finisher by a length. Jonathan Wong trains the Tommy Town Thoroughbreds homebred.

“She showed us a lot more in her first race than she did in the mornings,” said Wong. “She showed more speed in that race than she did in the mornings. Felix’s filly is pretty fast. We’ll play it by the break this time. She can go to the lead but if she sits right off the pace, that would be fine too.”

Trainer Steve Specht entered two competitors in the third race on Friday: A Rousing Babe and Rousing Jewel. A Rousing Babe is a maiden, having just run fourth about a month ago in her career debut. Rousing Jewel was a dominant winner of a maiden special weight in May, was well beaten in her second lifetime start against stakes company at Santa Anita, and makes her third start on Friday while returning off a three-month break. One workout-a September 11th 59 seconds-flat drill on the Tapeta going five panels-screams off the page.

Majestic Oops completes the field. Trained by Ed Moger Jr., she finished as the runner up in her first two starts before breaking her maiden at Sacramento in her most recent afternoon appearance on July 29. She freshens up and draws the inside post position in the Friday feature.

This week, Golden Gate has three live race days-Friday, Saturday, and Sunday-with first post each day slated for 1:45 PM PT.

Race 3 on Friday (First level allowance for 3-year-old fillies at five and one-half furlongs

#1 Majestic Oops (Jockey Cristobal Herrera…Trainer Ed Moger Jr…morning line odds 7-2)

#2 Juana Gallo (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…2-1)

#3 A Rousing Babe (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht…8-1)

#4 Honorable Gal (Assael Espinoza…Jonathan Wong…4-1)

#5 Rousing Jewel (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht…8-5)


Last Saturday, 4-year-old filly Natural Colour picked up her second consecutive stakes trophy in the $50,000 Golden Gate Field Turf Distaff. Sent off as the 4-5 post time favorite, the European-bred daughter of Exceed and Excel stalked the pace before taking the lead in midstretch and fending off a late challenge from runner up finisher Charges Dropped. Natural Colour earned an 88 Beyer speed figure for the effort.

On Wednesday morning, trained Manny Badilla reported that Natural Colour came out of her race in excellent shape.

“She’s bobbing her head around. As happy as can be,” said Badilla. “She came out of the race great. She has a lot of energy.”

Badilla noted that the $80,000 Swingtime Stakes at Santa Anita is next on the docket. The race is on Sunday, October 9 and restricted to fillies and mares who have not won a first-place purse of $60,000 or more at a mile or farther in 2022.

Natural Colour is 4 for 5 since being purchased overseas in February for $24,233 by owners Ron Charles and Samuel Gordon. She has accrued earnings of $115,250 from those five U.S. starts. Earlier in the summer, Natural Colour won the Luther Burbank Handicap at Santa Rosa, and was a multiple allowance winner at the Golden Gate Winter/Spring meet. Her only loss came at Santa Anita in the Possibly Perfect Stakes, a race in which she suffered a far from ideal trip in the first part of the race.


By budding stallion Straight Fire out of stakes winner American Lady, 3-year-old filly Vasco sported a pedigree that handicappers and race fans were attracted to right away. On the racetrack, she showed promise too. Two of her first three lifetime starts-all on the Golden Gate Tapeta main track-were respectable efforts that resulted in narrow defeats.

But when trainer O.J. Jauregui tried Vasco over turf at Del Mar on August 6, the improvement was a “night and day” difference. She went to the lead, set solid fractions, and easily defeated a full field of California-bred allowance foes by over 2 lengths.

Three weeks later, Jauregui tried Vasco going five furlongs on the turf again-this time against California-bred allowance-caliber fillies and mares. She dueled on the lead with speedball and highly regarded filly Opening Buzz before tiring in the late stages. Finishing fourth in a field of 11 may be seen as an average effort at first glance, but given how much energy she had to use to keep up with Opening Buzz, she ran a fine race. In fact, she earned a career high Beyer speed figure for the fourth-place finish.

“She obviously liked the grass,” said Jauregui. “I think the distance really helped her, though. I believe that was the key.”

With that, Jauregui is following the old phrase, “Don’t try to fix what’s not broken.” In Race 7 this Friday at Golden Gate, going five furlongs on grass, Vasco runs against open company in a first level allowance.

In all five lifetime starts. Vasco has been on the lead. There is other speed signed on, which means an extremely hot pace is likely. Lotsa Pepper, who has shown the ability to run the first quarter mile in 20 seconds and change, drew the rail and is expected to gun it from the inside post position.

“Well, we’re not going to take back and make a run,” said Jauregui. “She’s a speedy filly, so she’s going to be close to the pace. If she were to lay second [off of Lotsa Pepper], I wouldn’t mind that. She will be showing her speed though.”

Jockey Julien Couton rode her in a race on April 30 at Golden Gate and has the call on Friday.

“Julien got to know this filly the last time he rode her,” said Jauregui. “He’ll be the one calling the shots during the race. Hopefully she breaks well, and he rides a smart race.”

Race 7 on Friday (First level allowance for fillies and mares at five furlongs on turf)

#1 Lotsa Pepper (Jockey Santos Rivera…Manny Badilla …morning line odds 7-2)

#2 Vasco (Julien Couton…O.J. Jauregui…7-2)

#3 La Aguililla (Armando Ayuso…Jesus Ramos…10-1)

#4 The Great Haynes (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis…4-1)

#5 Canam Gal (Pedro Terrero…Bill McLean…6-1)

#6 The Fun Begins (Francisco Monroy…Jesus Ramos…15-1)

#7 Miss Carousel (William Antongeorgi III…Edward Freeman…3-1)

#8 My Legal Bet (Evin Roman…Jamey Thomas…6-1)


Opening week of the 2022 Summer Meet saw rapidly improving A Man’s Man score a runaway first level allowance win. The official margin of victory was a half-dozen lengths. He was geared down late in the game by jockey Assael Espinoza.

In Race 7 on Saturday, A Man’s Man will attempt to make his fifth consecutive trip to the winner’s circle while taking the next logical bump up in class to the second level allowance condition. A Man’s Man also switches to turf, a surface in which he broke his maiden over in Southern California but has not competed on since December of 2021.

Five others line up to try to snap the win streak of A Man’s Man. One of them is Midnight Mammoth, who faces older foes after a half-length defeat against 3-year-old stakes company in the Robert Dupret Derby at Santa Rosa. In July at Pleasanton, Midnight Mammoth competed against older rivals at this level on dirt and finished a length behind I’mgonnabesomebody. The aforementioned gelding returned to win the Sam Spear Memorial Handicap earlier this month.

Black Caspian exits the Sam Spear Memorial when fifth best on the day. Over the summer at Santa Rosa, Black Caspian won a first level allowance race, and only finished three-quarters of a length behind A Man’s Man three races ago in a dirt route at Sacramento. Stablemate to last week’s stakes winner Natural Colour, Black Caspian looks to continue the positive momentum for trainer Manny Badilla and owners Ron Charles and Samuel Gordon.

Memo Daddy finished third behind Black Caspian at Santa Rosa. He will need to turn the tables on that rival while facing other tough shooters in this spot. He received a confidence booster just three weeks ago when defeating high level claiming company. One of the horses he beat that day was Irish-bred Mohawk King, likely to set the pace in Saturday’s feature race. Two races ago, he beat stakes winner American Farmer and hard-knocker Harmon in an open allowance race at Sacramento. He was not able to make the lead in the September 5 race and failed to fire.

C’Mon Man rounds out the field. Most recently, he was beaten by Midnight Mammoth in the Robert Dupret Derby and freshens up six weeks for trainer Bill McLean. The son of Tourist draws the inside post position and will be attempting to win from off the pace.

Race 7 on Saturday (Second level allowance for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf)

#1 C’Mon Man (Jockey Evin Roman…Trainer Bill McLean…morning line odds of 9-2)

#2 Memo Daddy (Irving Orozco…Tim Bellasis…4-1)

#3 Mohawk King (Santos Rivera…Mike Lenzini…5-1)

#4 A Man’s Man (Assael Espinoza…Jack Steiner….5-2)

#5 Black Caspian (Pedro Terrero…Manny Badilla…3-1)

#6 Midnight Mammoth (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman…7-2)


Below is a list of claims from last week.


Race 2: Redstwirlingdancer (New trainer Reid France…new owners RKJ Stable) 


Race 1: Half Hoping (Victor Trujillo…Lester Hunsucker)

Race 4: Kitty’s Candy (Tim Bellasis…Bellasis, Kevin O’Gorman, Cheryl O’Gorman and Cassandra Tschanz)


Race 1: Big Game (Reid France…France and Francis Lagattuta)

Race 3: Cecile’s Chapter (Owner/Trainer Victor Trujillo)

FINISH LINES: With two more weeks to go at the 2022 Summer Meet, Assael Espinoza leads Evin Roman in the jockey standings with a 19-17-win advantage…In a tight race for leading trainer, Jonathan Wong (9 wins) is one victory ahead of Jack Steiner (8 wins)…Apprentice Adrian Escobedo picked up his first career Golden Gate Fields win on Sunday atop Midnight Metal in Race 3. Escobedo is a 7-pound “bug” and represented by agent Jay Robinson…The feature race this Sunday goes as Race 4: a first level allowance for 3-year-old fillies. Miss Union and Dulce Emma have taken turns beating one another and square off once again. They figure to get support in the wagering…Jockey Kevin Radke rides two horses on Sunday for trainer Blaine Wright and has officially shipped his tack to Northern California. At the recently concluded Emerald Downs meet in Auburn, Washington, Radke finished second in the standings with 77 wins…Happy birthday to stall manager Carrie Fawcett, who celebrates a birthday next Tuesday…$6,411 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager heading into Friday’s race card.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, September 15


6-year-old gelding Give Me the Lute Is proving to be a home-run claim for trainer Andy Mathis and owners Rod and Wendy Hogan. Since being claimed for the hefty price of $80,000 in 2019, the son of Boisterous has racked up $196,388 in earnings, won the Albany Stakes twice, and placed second in the Grade 3 Green Flash Handicap behind Lieutenant Dan, who returned to finish as the runner up in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint.

“He’s been good to us,” said Mathis.

This Friday, Give Me the Lute competes in the featured third race on Friday, an open allowance for 3-year-olds and upward at five furlongs on the turf. The last time we saw him race, Give Me the Lute finished fourth in a third-level allowance at Del Mar. In June, he won the Albany Stakes for the second consecutive year. This Friday’s afternoon appearance will be his third start of 2022.

Give Me the Lute has won five times, with one second and one third place finish, from seven lifetime starts over the Golden Gate turf. Mathis feels that Give Me the Lute thrives at Golden Gate.

“He really likes this course,” said Mathis. “He chased some really nice horses last time [at Del Mar]. We entered him in a race at Del Mar towards the end of the meet, but he got on the also-eligible list and didn’t get into the race. We rerouted to this spot. We’ve had to be patient, so he’s ready.”

Irving Orozco, who rode Give Me the Lute to both career stakes wins, retains the mount on Friday.

“[Give Me the Lute] is built pretty long,” said Mathis. “Every time Irving has ridden him, he’s done a really good job of just letting him get into that big, long stride. I have a lot of confidence in Irving. I don’t tell him too much in the paddock. He’ll call the shots and he knows this horse as well as anyone. But there aren’t any secrets of how this horse is going to run.”

Give Me the Lute, who breaks from the rail post position on Sunday, has been on the lead in nine of his last 10 races.

Among the main competitors facing Give Me the Lute on Friday is Carolina Mia, who put up her A+ effort when second-beaten just a neck-to Give Me the Lute in the June 11 Albany Stakes. The Sammy Calvario trained pair of Ultimate Bango and Psycho Dar also appear as formidable foes. Ultimate Bango won the Lost in the Fog Stakes on Tapeta in April while Psycho Dar finished third in the Albany Stakes. Stakes winner Dr. Pescado makes his first start since an off-the-board finish in the El Camino Real Derby over the winter.

“This is a good field of horses, and [Give Me the Lute] didn’t beat them by much in June,” said Mathis. “He is not a lock. He needs to run his race to win.”

Mathis is back home in the Bay Area after a fantastic summer meet at Del Mar. At the seaside oval, Mathis won with 12 of his 41 starters. That equates to a 29%-win rate.

“I thought we had some good horses that would run well, but not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined we could have the meet we did [at Del Mar],” reflected Mathis. “It hasn’t even sunk in yet. That meet is probably not something I can duplicate again. Things have to work out, and you need to get lucky. There are so many factors that go into winning races, especially at a place like Del Mar. I have a ton of respect for the trainers who compete down there. It’s a competitive meet and a hard meet to win races.”

To put things in perspective, Mathis claimed 3 horses at Golden Gate and won with all of them at Del Mar. Mathis’s 12 winners came with 10 different horses. Among them: multiple California-bred turf winner Kings River Knight, undefeated Tiger Spice, maiden special weight winner To Speight Her, and stakes placed router Tom’s Surprise.

Race 3 on Friday (Open allowance at five furlongs on turf for 3-year-olds and up)

#1 Give Me the Lute (Jockey Irving Orozco…trainer Andy Mathis…morning line odds of 7-5)

#2 Ultimate Bango (Catalino Martinez …Sammy Calvario …5-2)

#3 Psycho Dar (Armando Ayuso…Sammy Calvario …7-2)

#4 Carolina Mia (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…3-1)

#5 Dr Pescado (Catalino Martinez…Felix Rondan…8-1)


The Great Britain bred Natural Colour wowed race watchers with an emphatic four and three-quarter length victory in her last start, the Luther Burbank Stakes at Santa Rosa. A month and a half later, she freshens up and posts a 59 flat bullet workout leading up to the marquee race of the weekend at Golden Gate, the $50,000 Golden Gate Turf Distaff.

Since being purchased from overseas by owners Ron Charles and Sam Gordon, Natural Colour is three for four in the United States. Her lone loss came when finishing fifth behind multiple Grade 3 winner Niege Blanche at Santa Anita. Pedro Terrero, aboard for all three stateside victories, is back aboard the 4-year-old filly by Exceed and Excel.

Two Southern California shippers are part of the field of nine. Both invaders are projected to get wagering support. The 5-2 morning line favorite is Charges Dropped, who adds blinkers for trainer Michael McCarthy and local jockey Assael Espinoza. As of late, Charges Dropped has been battling for minor awards in second level allowance races at Santa Anita and Del Mar. She looks to pick up “black type” for her connections.

The last time Sassyserb visited the winners circle, she won at Golden Gate on Gold Rush Weekend. That day, she defeated a salty group of second level allowance foes. Trained by Southern California conditioner George Papaprodromou, the California-bred exits a pair of off-the-board finishes against stakes company at Del Mar and faces a lighter group in the Golden Gate Turf Distaff. Armando Ayuso is scheduled to ride.

For white-hot trainer Jack Steiner, Tiz an Edventure has won four in a row-three of those efforts for the Steiner barn-and seeks to stretch out her win streak to five. The daughter of Tiznow won a second level allowance at Golden Gate on August 26 and wheels back in three weeks for her stakes debut while sporting career best form.

Trainer Steve Specht campaigns a duo of entrants in Tam’s Little Angel and Ellamira. Both are 3-year-old fillies facing older foes. Tam’s Little Angel is a versatile stakes winner; she has won on turf, dirt and synthetic. Over the summer, the Larry and Marianne Williams homebred went gate to wire against older companions in the She’s a Tiger Stakes at Pleasanton on dirt. Stablemate Ellamira won the Campanile Stakes for California-breds in May and enters this race off a three-and-a-half-month vacation.

Multiple stakes winner Northwest Factor figures to set the pace. The grey/roan mare finished third behind barn buddy Natural Colour in the Luther Burbank and was four lengths slower than Tam’s Little Angel in the She’s a Tiger Stakes earlier in the summer. Strike At Dawn and Misty Cat complete the field of nine.

The Golden Gate Turf Distaff goes as Race 8 on a 9-race program at Golden Gate. First post on Saturday is 1:45 PM PT. 

Race 8 on Saturday (Golden Gate Turf Distaff on turf for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up)

#1 Charges Dropped (Jockey Assael Espinoza…trainer Michael McCarthy…morning line odds 5-2)

#2 Misty Cat (Santos Rivera…Dan Franko …20-1)

#3 Tam’s Little Angel (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht …8-1)

#4 Natural Colour (Pedro Terrero…Manny Badilla…3-1)

#5 Northwest Factor (Irving Orozco…Many Badilla …8-1)

#6 Strike At Dawn (Silvio Amador…Blaine Wright …10-1)

#7 Ellamira (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht…10-1)

#8 Tiz an Edventure (Evin Roman…Jack Steiner…5-1)

#9 Sassyserb (Armando Ayuso…George Papaprodromou…9-2)


Jockey Armando Ayuso is back in the Bay Area and set to resume riding at Golden Gate Fields for the foreseeable future. Ayuso rode at Los Alamitos Racecourse in June and early July and competed at the recently concluded Del Mar summer meet.

Ayuso finished third in the jockey standings at the Golden Gate Winter/Spring meet with 72 wins from 367 mounts (20%-win rate). Among his top mounts this year: Camilla Urso Stakes winner Sadie Bluegrass, multiple stakes placed sprinter Psycho Dar, and flashy gelding Tom’s Surprise. Ayuso is represented by agent Tom “Bomber” Doutrich.

In other jockey news, apprentice rider Adrian Escobedo has shipped his tack from Southern California and begins riding at Golden Gate this weekend. He has one mount for trainer Gary Greiner on Saturday and another for Jamey Thomas on Sunday. Escobedo, who rides with a 7-pound weight allowance, has won 12 races from 113 lifetime mounts. He will be represented by agent Jay Robinson.


Below is a list of claims from last week.


Race 2: Aplombado (New trainer Isidro Tamayo…new owner Leon Scott)

Race 4: Bandeena (Ed Moger Jr…Steve Moger)

Race 4: Starship Endeavor (Blaine Wright…Tracy and Paula Henline)

Race 5: Bold Daughter (Blaine Wright…Blaine D. Wright Racing Stable LLC, Michael Dermody, and Eric Kenneally)


Race 1: Betito (Jonathan Wong…Batlte Born Racing Stable)

Race 1: Our Expectation (Isidro Tamayo..Leon Scott)

Race 1: That’s Bind Babe (Gary Greiner…Desiree and Renee Greiner)


Race 1: Amadmadworld (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

FINISH LINES: With two more weeks to go at the summer meet, jockey Evin Roman has a 14-13-win lead over Assael Espinoza in the jockey standings. Pedro Terrero is right behind them win 10 victories…Trainer Jonathan Wong has a 7-6 lead in the trainer standings over Jack Steiner. Victor Trujillo and Steve Sherman both have 5 wins apiece and are tied for third…The nightcap on Friday (Race 8) is “The Spirit of Sliveyville,” named after the Bruce Headley trained million-dollar earner who raced in the early and mid 1980’s. A 14-time stakes winner and a five time graded stakes winner, he won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 1981, was victorious in the San Francisco Mile the following year, and finished first in the Rolling Green Stakes in 1983. The Spirit of Silveyville on Friday is a starter allowance condition for 3-year-olds and upward, run at one mile and a half on Tapeta…Another starter allowance on Sunday, named “The Spirit of Brown Bess,” is named after the Chuck Jenda trained mare who won 12 stakes, including three grade ones. The race is for fillies and mares at one mile and an eighth on Tapeta…Two divisions of a first level allowance field are co-featured events on the Sunday card. The first division (Race 6) features Del Mar winner Cees Get Degrees and the well-bred Murphy’s Tiger…The second division (Race 9) includes the Steve Miyadi trained Johnny Podres and Lmlooknformischief…Classy sprinter Rebalation is back on the worktab after taking a spring and summer hiatus. She drilled 3 furlongs on Thursday morning for trainer Tim McCanna…The Golden Pick Jackpot carryover has climbed to $27,510 heading into Friday’s program.

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


In the last five years or so, trainer Michael McCarthy has had much success with sending horses from his Southern California string to Golden Gate and winning right off the van. This Friday and Saturday, McCarthy will race a trio of horses at the bayside track, all seemingly in with solid chances to win their respective races.

In the sixth race on Friday, McCarthy sends out Optimising, an Irish bred entered in an allowance for 3-year-olds at one mile and a sixteenth on turf. Optimising broke his maiden overseas in a one-turn sprint last year and was subsequently purchased out of the race by owners Red Barons Barn LLC. He was shipped to McCarthy’s barn in California where he then raced three times against stakes company, never finishing more than 2 lengths behind the winner in each start. Following a troubled trip in the Grade 3 Cecille B. DeMille Mile on November 28, Optimising was sent to a farm for a vacation.

Optimising made his 2022 debut on August 13, racing against first level allowance foes going long on turf at Del Mar. That day, he was far behind early, lacked room at the quarter pole, and finished about four lengths behind the winner. He makes his second start off a layoff in Friday’s sixth race at Golden Gate.

“We don’t see too many straight 3-year-old allowance races pop up later in the year,” said McCarthy. “I thought he ran well in his first start this year. He’ll be sitting back and making a run down the lane.”

On Saturday, McCarthy campaigns Isola Mia in Race 6, a first level allowance for 3-year-old fillies at one mile and a sixteenth on turf, and Red Tiara, a 3-year-old in against other filly and mare maidens going one mile on the main-track Tapeta. Both runners are owned by Don Alberto Stable.

Isola Mia broke her maiden for a $100,000 claiming tag at Santa Anita in May. Since then, she has finished off the board in a pair of allowance races at Del Mar. Red Tiara failed to be competitive in a pair of maiden special weight races this spring and summer against tough Southern California competition. She runs on the Tapeta for the first time.

“Isola Mia should get a good trip fairly close to the pace,” said McCarthy. “I think this is a good spot for her to run a competitive race. Red Tiara is a grinder, and I think the Tapeta will suit her well.”

Southern California jockey Diego Herrera flies up to ride Isola Mia and Red Tiara on Saturday. Local pilot Assael Espinoza has Friday’s call aboard Optimising.

“Diego has worked a bunch of horses for me and we’ve had a few wins together in the afternoon,” said McCarthy. “He’s a good kid and a good horseman. He works hard and gives us good feedback when he gets off our horses.”

A fourth horse of McCarthy’s, Irish-bred gelding Percolate, entered on Thursday afternoon to run in Race 8 at Golden Gate on Sunday, a maiden special weight for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on the Tapeta. In two starts this year against Southern California foes, Percolate failed to finish in the top three spots. Diego Herrera is booked to ride.

Live racing runs on a Friday through Sunday basis this week. First post each day is 1:45 PM PT.

Race 6 on Friday (First level allowance at one mile and a sixteenth on turf for 3-year-olds)

#1 Optimising (Jockey Assael Espinoza…trainer Michael McCarthy…morning line odds of 7-5)

#2 Canelito (Cristobal Herrera…Jonathan Wong …6-1)

#3 Tofino Bay (Pedro Terrero…Neil Drysdale …8-1)

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

#5 Saint Ives (Catalino Martinez…Jose Bautista…6-1)

#6 Stan the Hot Man (Francisco Monroy…Jonathan Wong…8-1)

#7 Crazy Dreams (Evin Roman…Isidro Tamayo…7-2)

Race 7 on Friday (First level allowance at one mile and a sixteenth on turf for 3-year-old fillies)

#1 Distorted Queen (Jockey Assael Espinoza…trainer Jonathan Wong…morning line odds of 8-1)

#2 Vincero Grande (Frank Alvarado…Andy Mathis…2-1)

#3 Harbor’s Rose (Irving Orozco…Victor Trujillo…6-1)

#4 Darnquick (Silvio Amador…Ed Moger Jr…8-1)

#5 Sacred Beauty (Pedro Terrero…Victor Trujillo…5-1)

#6 Isola Mia (Diego Herrera…Michael McCarthy…4-1)

#7 Sky Maker (Evin Roman…Steve Sherman…9-2) 


Beginning this summer meeting, Director of Racing Steve Martinelli stepped aside from morning line odds making and relinquished the roll to Jacob Shepard, one-half of the Equibase chart

calling tag team at Golden Gate. Shepard, who grew up in Indiana, first went to the track with his family at a young age, attending the races at Keeneland Racecourse and Churchill Downs in Kentucky. From there, he quickly fell in love with the sport of kings.

Shepard went to college at the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in agricultural economics. Out of college, he was hired to work in customer service for Brisnet (operated by Twinspires) and was employed there for multiple years. But eventually, Shepard moved to California and opted to take a break from racing.

“My wife got a job in California, so we moved out here,” said Shepard. “I was a little burnt out from racing and needed a break. I still would bring my friends to Golden Gate and explain how racing went, but I was not interested in making horse racing a career at that point. Then, 4 or 5 years went by and I was like, ‘Man, I really, really miss racing.’”

From there, Shepard was determined to get back in the game. Shepard cashed in stocks he earned from working at a startup lighting company and used some of the money to pay for his education at the University of Arizona Racetrack Industry program. After completing the program, he was hired as an Equibase chart caller at Golden Gate along with the second half-of the current team, Jerry Stone.

“During my time at U of A, the students at the racetrack program had various jobs at Rillito Park [in Arizona],” said Shepard. “I did a million things down there. One of the jobs I had was calling charts, and I really enjoyed it. A good friend of mine had done it a year before [at Rillito] and had gone on to call charts at Parx, Gulfstream and Churchill Downs. So, I saw an avenue to make that a job if I wanted to do that.

I really like the Bay Area,” continued Shepard. “I knew the West Coast supervisor of Equibase chart callers, so I e-mailed her after I graduated from U of A [last year]. Literally 30 minutes later, she called me and said, ‘If you want to, we can do something.’ I trained with longtime Golden Gate equibase chart caller Steve Reed. Steve retired in 2021…and here we are.”

Like any writer, Shepard considers calling and composing charts an art form.

“I love writing,” said Shepard. “I’ve always really enjoyed making the notes. Even when I was just a horseplayer, I would pay attention to the races and the trips. Now, this job affords me to pay really close attention to the races. I enjoy being the voice of how a horse performed in a race.”

So immersed in the performances of each horse on the Northern California circuit, Director of Racing Martinelli felt Shepard would be a great fit as the morning line oddsmaker. Shepard was offered the job this summer and took the position without hesitation.

Being fairly new at making morning line odds, Shepard says it can be a painstaking, trial-and-error process.

“I’ve made my own morning lines for the Breeders Cup Classic and Kentucky Derby before,” said Shepard. “I try to not re-invent the wheel as much as I can.

The first thing I try to answer is who is the horse to beat. After I answer that question, I sort of do it in a bell curve. Are there horses that don’t fit the race and or are going to be big price horses? Then, I look at human connections. There are certain high percentage barns and high percentage jockeys that I give more credence to. I also like to note how a horse was bet in their last race or two, especially for those specific conditions.”

To make a full card’s worth of morning lines, Shepard says it takes about two hours on average.

Shepard, who sees himself as a fan of the game, is happily enjoying every day of his horse racing venture. One thing’s for sure: he never misses the story of a race.

“It’s an interesting way to go from point A to B to C,” said Shepard. “I handicap the race beforehand, call the race, and then write the chart for it afterwards. I’m sort of following it all the way through. That’s really cool for me.”


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 6: Peacehaven (New owner/trainer D. Wayne Baker)

Race 8: Arma D’Oro (New trainer Jonathan Wong…new owners MJVET Stables, Clay and Carlene Sides)


Race 6: Stateforest (Reid France…Hat Trick Racing)


Race 6: Descartes (Sammy Calvario…Mary Tucker)

Race 8: All (Jack Steiner…Robert Del Vigna, Frances Jefferson, and James Maher)

Race 8: Lady Brett (Jack Steiner…Michael Radovich)


No claims


Below is a list of Northern California horses and human connections competing on the final week at Del Mar:


Race 3: Fixurhairupretty (Trainer Andy Mathis…Jockey Ricky Gonzalez)

Race 4: Holy Ghost (Aggie Ordonez…Tiago Pereira)

Race 4: U.S. Danger (Jonathan Wong…Kyle Frey)

Race 5: Emma’s Dance (Ed Moger Jr…Diego Herrera)


Race 10: As Amatter of Fact (Jonathan Wong…Hector Berrios)

Race 10: Heaven Shines (Jonathan Wong…Emily Ellingwood)


Race 2: Kingmeister (Bill McLean…Kyle Frey)

Race 4: Smiling Thunder (Jonathan Wong…Umberto Rispoli)

Race 4: Amanda Rose (Ed Moger Jr…Tiago Pereira)

Race 7: Evenrevenworse (Bill McLean…Kyle Frey)

Race 9: De La Luna (Quinn Howey…Armando Ayuso)

FINISH LINES: Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away Thursday, was the breeder of 2022 San Francisco Mile winner Evening Sun. Her Majesty the Queen was a big supporter of horses and horse racing, owning her own breeding and racing operation, and also enjoyed horseback riding as a hobby…Nominations close at midnight for the Golden Gate Distaff, a one mile and a sixteenth turf race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. The race is scheduled for next Saturday, September 17…Bett on Blaze, a half sibling to multiple Golden Gate stakes winner Bettor Trip Nick, broke his maiden on debut for trainer Monty Meier in the nightcap on Monday…Alert: Trainer Steve Specht is one win away from career victory 1,500…San Francisco Mile fourth place finisher Tom’s Surprise was victorious in Race 5 on Monday at Del Mar, a specialized starter allowance, for trainer Andy Mathis. Mathis has had a sensational summer at Del Mar, with a 12 for 40 record (30%) at the boutique summer meeting…$18,150 is the jackpot carryover amount in the Pick 6 heading into Friday’s card. A Super High Five carryover of $4,468 is offered in the next race on Friday in which there are five or more starters.