Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Friday, September 1, 2023


In Race 7 on Saturday, all seven contenders are entered for a $40,000 claiming tag. Yet on paper, the quality of competition reads as a highly competitive, salty allowance race. In an affair with old pros and class racers, horseplayers can make a case for any entrant in the race.

The well-bred Nolde was a dominant winner of a super strong starter allowance race on turf at Santa Rosa last month. He won the race by just under four lengths while geared down in the final sixteenth of a mile. A repeat effort would tab him as one of the horses to beat in Race 7 on Saturday, although the field he faces this time around is significantly tougher.

The last time we watched Kennebec compete on the Golden Gate turf course, he comfortably defeated a second level allowance field. Since then, he has failed to fire in two consecutive races: the Pleasanton Mile on dirt and a 50k claimer at Del Mar last month. In both losses, Kennebec went off at high odds. He appears well spotted for a much more competitive run this weekend.

The gutsy gelding Honos Man has finished first or second in his last four starts. The 7-year-old by Afleet Alex recently stalked, pounced, and pummeled over a first level allowance group at Santa Rosa. He returns to the races one month later with consistent form for one of the leading trainers at Golden Gate, Isidro Tamayo. Tamayo also campaigns Anitanewmercedes, who has strung together back-to-back first level allowance victories on two different surfaces as of late. The chestnut gelding enjoys racing on the lead; expect him to gun for the front and try to wire the field.

Dulas sports a pair of fast workouts leading up to his first start in almost seven months for trainer Manny Badilla. Beginning his career in Great Britain, Dulas broke his maiden overseas on a soft turf course and, since moving to America in the fall of 2021, has hit the board in a trio of second level allowance races over the GGF Tapeta.

The fresh Harmon makes his first start in about three months for trainer Monty Meier. Harmon’s last afternoon appearance resulted in a runner up finish behind next out allowance winner Seattle Bold at the same $40,000 claiming condition as Saturday’s seventh race. Harmon hasn’t seen the winners circle in a while; he last got his picture taken after a gate to wire win against open allowance company in April of 2022-eleven starts ago.

Sent off at odds of 3-1 in a $40,000 claiming heat at Sacramento on July 28, Conundrum stalked the pace and weakened to fourth in a disappointing effort. His last start on grass came at Golden Gate in April, when the son of Super Saver stalked the pace, battled for the win in midstretch and came up a length short of race winner One Fast Bro in a first level allowance.

8 races made the Saturday overnight. First post is 1:45 PM.

Race 7 on Saturday (40k claimer at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)

#1 Nolde (Jockey Alexander Chavez…Trainer Steve Sherman…morning line odds of 5-2)

#2 Kennebec (Brayan Pena…Ruby Thomas…7-2)

#3 Harmon (Catalino Martinez…Monty Meier…6-1)

#4 Conundrum (Frank Alvarado…Mike Lenzini…8-1)

#5 Dulas (Evin Roman…Manny Badilla…8-1)

#6 Honos Man (William Antongeorgi III…Isidro Tamayo…3-1)

#7 Anitanewmercedes (Irving Orozco…Isidro Tamayo…9-2)


It’s not often you see a runner up finisher in a first level allowance race immediately take a bump up in class to the second level condition. That is the case, however, with 4-year-old California bred colt Trip to Spain, as he tackles a small but highly talented group of rivals in Race 4 on Sunday: a second level allowance for sprinters on Tapeta.

A son of Grade 1 winner Stay Thirsty, Trip to Spain began his racetrack life surrounded by hype. Sent off at even money in his career debut as a 2-year-old in 2021, Trip to Spain clobbered a large field by over 4 lengths. He returned a few weeks later and placed second in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar for state-breds. After given time off for the rest of the year, Trip to Spain returned as a 3-year-old and, within a span of six starts, won a pair of allowance races.

An issue popped up shortly after a gutsy victory in July of 2022. Trip to Spain was given over a year off. His comeback to the races came in his last start, a first level allowance at Santa Rosa, in which Trip to Spain was in for a $32,000 tag, dueled on a highly contentious pace, outkicked the early leaders turning for home, and got tagged late by race winner Gerlach’s. Trip to Spain earned a career high Beyer speed figure (80) for a much better than looked effort.

Since his trip to Santa Rosa, Trip to Spain has worked twice, including a sharp 47.80 half mile drill last weekend. Assistant trainer Troy Thomas, who works for his father Jamey, indicated the decision to run in Sunday’s second level allowance attributes to the way Trip to Spain has been training over the last few weeks.

“I like him more going into this race than in his last,” said Thomas. “Before his last start, he wasn’t showing us a ton [in the mornings]. We were happy with how he ran at Santa Rosa. After the race, he started to pick it up. He had a terrific breeze the other morning. He’s training forwardly, for sure. Right now, he’s doing as well as he could be doing.”

Trip to Spain faces a tough field on Sunday. Trainer Tim McCanna enters a strong 1-2 punch with Rager and Unraptured. Rager took the summer off after a pair of second level allowance wins in the spring and, most recently, a length and three-quarter loss in the Albany Stakes on turf. Unraptured, who got a confidence boosting win against $40,000 claimers in June, was last seen placing third in the Oak Tree Sprint on July 1. Both McCanna entrants are in for a $62,500 tag.

Playing Hardball has won three consecutive races while steadily climbing the class ladder for trainer Sammy Calvario. After Calvario claimed Playing Hardball off a $12,500 win, the 5-year-old son of Hard Spun reeled off a $20,000 restricted claiming victory. His most recent start against first level allowance company ended in a gate to wire win, and Playing Hardball earned a lifetime high 85 Beyer speed figure. His last two victories for the Calvario barn came over dirt; ‘Hardball has won twice over Tapeta in the past.

Rounding out the field is Cool Mountain Lad, whose last start on the Tapeta at this level in June resulted in a trip to the winner’s circle. He has made one start since: a well beaten, seventh place finish in the Oak Tree Sprint at Pleasanton.

8 races are on the docket for Sunday. First post is 1:45 PM.

Race 7 on Saturday (40k claimer at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)

#1 Rager (Jockey Assael Espinoza…Trainer Tim McCanna…morning line odds of 8-5)

#2 Trip to Spain (Alexander Chavez…Jamey Thomas…2-1)

#3 Unraptured (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…5-1)

#4 Cool Mountain Lad (Evin Roman…Victor Trujillo…8-1)

#5 Playing Hardball (Catalino Martinez…Sammy Calvario…3-1)


The 5-year-old gelding I’mgonnabesomebody has firmly stamped himself as the top older horse in Northern California with victories in races like the Joseph T. Grace, the All American and, one year ago, the Sam Spear Memorial. This Labor Day Monday, the Kentucky-bred by Will Take Charge is ready to defend his title in the 2023 edition of the Sam Spear Memorial.

I’mgonnabesomebody got a legit acid test in the Grade 2 Eddie Read at Del Mar on July 30. Sitting four lengths off the lead early, the chestnut gelding plodded along down the lane and finished four and three-quarter lengths behind race winner Gold Phoenix. Gold Phoenix is a major contender in the Del Mar Handicap on Saturday.

“Those are good horses he ran against. I thought he ran well,” said McLean. “He didn’t get the greatest trip. I was a little surprised he was as far off the pace as he was. There wasn’t a lot of speed in the race and that’s why I entered him there [vs. the San Diego Handicap on dirt one day prior].”

Since the Eddie Read, I’mgonnabesomebody worked five furlongs out of the gate on August 27 at Del Mar.

“The key is to get him around there,” quipped McLean. “We just wanted to get some air in him. You don’t have to do too much with him once he’s fit.”

I’mgonnabesomebody is a versatile talent. He can either go to the front or stalk the pace. One horse who won’t be afraid to hook up with the likely favorite early is Jimmy Blue Jeans. Like I’mgonnabesomebody, Jimmy’ also last raced at Del Mar, placing fifth after setting the pace in the California Dreamin’ Stakes for state-breds. Jimmy Blue Jeans will be reunited with jockey Assael Espinoza, who was aboard the front running grey son of James Street for a second level allowance victory over this turf course in April.

Royal ‘n Rando outran his 36-1 odds in The California Dreamin’, sitting off a decent pace before rallying for fourth. He improved off his two starts ago effort: an off the board finish in the All American Stakes. The strong jockey/trainer combo of Frank Alvarado and Steve Specht team up with Royal ‘n Rando in the Sam Spear.

A wise guy contender may be Lammas, who hasn’t been seen since a nose loss to 2021 Grade I Pacific Classic winner Tripoli in March. Even though he has finished behind I’mgonnabesomebody on three separate occasions, Lammas defeated the aforementioned foe in the Grade 3 Berkeley last fall while earning a 96 Beyer. Lammas sports fast works leading up to his return to the races, including a 59 second flat, five-furlong drill on August 28. The surface Lammas races over on Monday is a potential concern: the European bred has never hit the board in four career runs on turf.

A pair of three-year-olds face older foes in the Sam Spear. Cousin Richie earned the silver medal behind Clovisconnection in the Robert Dupret Derby at Santa Rosa. In the spring, Cousin Richie was second best to Southern California shipper Game Time in the Alcatraz Stakes. Starter allowance victor Druidic came on late to round out the superfecta in the Robert Dupret and is also entered in the Sam Spear.

Completing the field is America Great, who has competed against claiming company in his last two starts. He is projected to go off at a price in the Sam Spear Memorial.

The Sam Spear Memorial is named after the Bay Area media legend who was part of the Northern California racing community for decades. Throughout a large portion of his career, Sam Spear held the position of publicity manager at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows. He hosted “At the Track with Sam Spear,” a popular morning radio show every Sunday, and a daily race replay show that debuted in 1978 and ran through 2018 on KTSF-TV. Spear had strong connections with Bay Area newspapers, radio and TV stations and worked closely with those channels to promote horse racing. He also consulted several notable figures who showed a passion for horse racing. Among them: rapper MC Hammer, Hall of Fame baseball player Joe DiMaggio, and Hall of Fame baseball manager Earl Weaver.

Eight races will be run on Labor Day 2023 at Golden Gate. First post is 1:45 PM.

Race 7 on Monday: $50,000 Sam Spear Memorial (For 3-year-olds and up at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)

#1 I’mgonnabesomebody (Jockey Alexander Chavez…Trainer Bill McLean)

#2 Cousin Richie (Alejandro Gomez…Sergio Ledezma)

#3 Lammas (William Antongeorgi III…Manny Badilla)

#4 America Great (Luis M. Jimenez…Monty Meier)

#5 Jimmy Blue Jeans (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis)

#6 Druidic (Epifanio Garcia…D. Wayne Baker)

#7 Royal n’ Rando (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht)


Below is a list of claims from last week


Race 3: Dick Best (New trainer Jack Steiner…New owner Melvin Simonovich)

Race 5: Crescendo Molto (Manny Badilla…Jerry Jamgotchian)


No claims 


Race 1: Dancing Bonbon (Owner/Trainer Isidro Tamayo)

Race 1: Elegance Code (Leobardo Rivera…Javier Ortiz)

Race 5: Teagans Atm (D. Wayne Baker…Baker, Porlaris and Santoro)


Below is a list of Northern California horses and human connections to watch for at Del Mar this week:


Race 4: Capo Luigi (Ed Moger Jr…Hector Berrios)

Race 5: Chickenfingerfriday (Bill McLean…Geovanni Franco)

Race 5: Developingtheway (Steve Miyadi…Antonio Fresu)

Race 6: Almost Snow (Tim McCanna…Edwin Maldonado)

Race 10: Stilleto Boy (Ed Moger Jr…Kent Desormeaux)


Race 6: Canam Gal (Bill McLean…Jose Gregorio [J.G.] Torrealba)

Race 11: Elevado (Andy Mathis…Ricky Gonzalez)

Race 11: Goldensunrise (Andy Mathis…Julien Couton)


Race 1: Kamaina Cruiser (O.J Jauregui…Armando Ayuso)

Race 4: Sea Breeze Boy (Reid France…Tiago Pereira)

Race 4: I Got a Guy (Ruby Thomas…Armando Aguilar)

Race 10: Blevy’s Tiger (Manny Badilla…Juan Hernandez)

Race 11: Give Me the Lute (Andy Mathis…Juan Hernandez)

FINISH LINES: The Ed Moger Jr. trained Stilleto Boy drew post 3 and is 8-1 on the morning line in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Pacific Classic at Del Mar. The Pacific Classic, a one-mile and a quarter Grade I dirt race, goes as Race 10 on an 11-race card. Post time for the ‘Classic has been set at 6:13 PM…Not something you see often at Golden Gate: a Texas-bred in the winner’s circle. That was the case on Monday with first time starter Charlene’s Dream, who won Race 4, a maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies. A $35,000 sale purchase by multiple Grade 2 winner Qurbaan, Charlene’s Dream paid $14.20 to win for the Moger barn and owner Domeyko Taylor LP…An open allowance (Race 7) on Sunday features a strong group of contenders: stakes winners Anthony’s Cleopatra and Tam’s Little Angel, recent Governors Cup Stakes runner up finisher Lexington Humor, and hard tryers Blue Wildcat and Miss Union…The fastest 2-year-old filly on the West Coast is in the barn of a Golden Gate trainer. O.J Jauregui and owner Danny Eplin campaign the speedy Dreamfyre, undefeated winner of the Everett Nevin Stakes at Pleasanton and, most recently, a dominant winner of the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar. This past Monday morning, the $140,000 sale purchase by Flameaway drilled a half mile in 48.80 seconds, her first work since the Sorrento triumph. She’s tabbed to run next in the Grade I $300,000 FanDuel Racing Del Mar Debutante on Saturday, September 9…On Monday, Golden Gate maiden winner Blevy’s Tiger faces state-bred 2-year-old fillies in the $125,000 Generous Portion Stakes at six furlongs. Manny Badilla trains for owners Martin Bach and Daniel Weiner.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Friday, August 25, 2023


On the Golden Gate Fields backstretch just after 10 AM this past Thursday morning, trainer Jorge Bautista gazed at his 15 horses who had just completed their morning training. This writer asked Bautista if he was happy to be back home at Golden Gate.

He nodded his head and smiled with assuredness.

Opening Day of the 2023 Summer Meet at Golden Gate Fields commences Saturday afternoon with an eight-race card. First post is 1:45 PM. Bautista could kick off his summer meeting with a “bang” right away as he saddles four-year-old Talbot Bay in the featured finale on Opening Day, a first level allowance at six furlongs on the main track Tapeta. Talbot Bay is listed at 8-1 on the morning line.

Talbot Bay’s last appearance on the Golden Gate Tapeta surface came two and a half months ago, when he scored a runaway, three and a half-length win at the same first level allowance condition he competes at this weekend. A repeat of that effort is good enough to win this weekend. Most recently, the California-bred by Northern Causeway placed third in a five-furlong turf dash at Santa Rosa.

“He ran well that day [at Santa Rosa],” said Bautista. “The jockey said he ran fine. I think the distance was just too short.”

The Rozamund Barclay homebred has won 4 of 8 lifetime starts on Tapeta, with two of those victories coming at the six-furlong distance. One could make a solid case that he has not run a bad race since his career debut last year.

“I think he needed his first race,” said Bautista. “Since then, he’s done great. A horse like him isn’t hard to train. You just have to keep him fit and he’ll run well because he’s just a good horse.”

Bautista noted that, in all his prior synthetic track races, Talbot Bay did not race with hind shoes on. He will be fitted with hind shoes on Saturday.

“When you run on the turf, you have to wear the hind shoes,” said Bautista. “So, when he ran at Santa Rosa, we had them on. We decided to keep them on for this race on Tapeta and see how he does.

Some horses don’t travel as well with the hind shoes on. Others are fine with it. He’s a very sound and healthy horse, but we’ve always kept them off [until his last start on turf].”

Talbot Bay faces seven other rivals on Sunday. Morning line favorite The Little H Man makes his second start of the year after a stalk and pounce victory on dirt at Santa Rosa. His final start in 2022 also ended with a win. He seeks his third winners circle appearance in a row while taking a bump up in class. Alexander Chavez rides for trainer Brendan Galvin.

Colonel Vargo is the second choice on the morning line at 3-1. The Leobardo Rivera trainee beat a group of $20,000 claimers at Del Mar in his last afternoon showing on July 23. A versatile type, Colonel Vargo can either go to the front-those tactics were employed at Del Mar-or he can stalk the pace. Evin Roman will be in the saddle.

Blazing Jamie figures to get support in the wagering after two strong efforts at this first level allowance condition on the fair circuit. On July 4 at Pleasanton, the 5-year-old gelding was a gritty victor over Our Bold Prince and Saint Ives, both who are also entered in Saturday’s nightcap. Blazing Jamie was last seen finishing as the runner up against a salty group of allowance foes at Sacramento. Francisco Duran and Cliff Delima team up with the son of Haynesfield, who is listed at 4-1 on the morning line.

This meet, Golden Gate runs on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday basis. First post is 1:45 PM each day unless otherwise noted.

Race 8 on Saturday (First level allowance at six furlongs on Tapeta)
#1 Blazing Jamie (Jockey Francisco Duran…Trainer Cliff Delima…Morning line odds of 4-1)
#2 The Little H Man (Alexander Chavez…Brendan Galvin…2-1)
#3 Colonel Vargo (Evin Roman…Leobardo Rivera…3-1)
#4 Grazen Sun (Irving Orozco…Blaine Wright…12-1)
#5 Our Bold Prince (William Antongeorgi III…Eddie Rich…5-1)
#6 Talbot Bay (Santos Rivera…Jorge Bautista…6-1)
#7 Saint Ives (Catalino Martinez…Jose Bautista…10-1)
#8 Counting Cards (Brayan Pena…Victor Trujillo…15-1)


It isn’t often that 5-year-old mare Stoic Luna runs a poor race. It also isn’t often that she fails to garnish significant money in the betting pools. In her last seven races, she has either gone off as the favorite or second choice in the wagering.

In Sunday’s third race, a second level allowance for fillies and mares at one mile and a sixteenth on turf, more things stay the same. The 8-5 morning line favorite makes her third start since being claimed by Jack Steiner and enters Sunday’s marquee event fresh off a decisive starter allowance win at Santa Rosa when sent off as the 1-2 favorite. On speed figures and class, she fits in this second level allowance group.

“She won easily in the starter allowance race the other day, so we’re taking a step up,” said Steiner.

Stoic Luna is wheeling back in just two weeks. Steiner says all signs indicate Stoic Luna is ready to run back on short rest.

“She’s been eating everything in her feed tub and is training with good energy. Those are the things you look for that tell you how a horse is doing after a race,” said Steiner. “We could either run in this race or wait three or four weeks until the next condition book comes out. This is the only race for her in the [first] condition book and she’s doing well, so we’re going to run.”

Stoic Luna competed at this level two starts ago on July 9 at Pleasanton, where she stalked the pace and wound up third, beaten a length and a quarter behind Madeira Wine and Twilight Empire. Both mares are also entered in Sunday’s fifth race. Interestingly, Stoic Luna went off at even money in the Pleasanton event and grinded along down the stretch after sitting off an extremely slow pace. Jockey Evin Roman rides on Sunday.

Although the Manny Badilla trained Madeira Wine needs the right set up to win at this level-that set up meaning a clear lead-it appears she’ll receive it on Sunday. She enters as the lone front runner on paper in the field of six. The daughter of English Channel can run effectively on any surface and drops in class after a sixth-place finish in the Luther Burbank Stakes at Santa Rosa. Jockey Santos Rivera has the call.

Twilight Empire is stakes placed; she finished as the runner up in the She’s a Tiger Stakes at Pleasanton while closing into a quick pace. She freshens up a month and a half after the recent second place effort behind Madeira Wine on July 9. Veteran conditioner Cliff Delima employs jockey Francisco Duran to ride.

Assignation ran as well as she ever has in her most recent afternoon appearance, placing third behind the talented Ascendancy and Southern California shipper Ever Smart in the Luther Burbank. She’ll be coming from off the pace for trainer Steve Sherman and jockey Cristobal Herrera.

The veteran Clockstrikestwelve failed to be competitive in two consecutive stakes races on the fair circuit this summer. She gets class relief here while getting back to a condition she has run well at in the past; this year alone, she won a race at the level in February and placed in two other second level allowance events in the spring. Jockey Brayan Pena and trainer Ruby Thomas team up.

Rounding out the field is Councilwoman Jilly, a starter allowance winner who has lost by double digit lengths in her last two starts. Alexander Chavez is set to steer the 4-year-old filly trained by Simon Hobson.

Race 3 on Sunday (Second level allowance at one mile and a sixteenth on turf for fillies and mares)
#1 Assignation (Jockey Cristobal Herrera…Trainer Steve Sherman…Morning line odds of 8-1)
#2 Twilight Empire (Francisco Duran…Cliff Delima…5-2)
#3 Stoic Luna (Evin Roman…Jack Steiner…8-5)
#4 Clockstrikestwelve (Brayan Pena…Ruby Thomas…6-1)
#5 Madeira Wine (Santos Rivera…Manny Badilla…4-1)
#6 Councilwoman Jilly (Alexander Chavez…Simon Hobson…10-1)

Below is a list of horses and human connections from Golden Gate who compete at Del Mar this weekend:

Race 5: Ladywearsthering (Trainer Tim McCanna…Jockey Edwin Maldonado)
Race 8: Nabakov (Ed Moger Jr…Armando Ayuso)

Race 1: Outer Sunset (Bill McLean…Assael Espinoza)
Race 2: Callhercontessa (Andy Mathis…Edwin Maldonado)
Race 3: Big Sis Little Sis (Reid France…Tiago Pereira)
Race 6: Hijo Galante (Ed Moger Jr…Armando Ayuso)
Race 6: Cowboy Charlie (Quinn Howey…Edwin Maldonado)
Race 8: One Fast Bro (Quinn Howey…Kent Desormeaux)

FINISH LINES: Race 6 on Saturday catches the eye. A first level allowance for filly and mare sprinters, the gritty Tamantari and hard knocker Candy’s Clone are the two to beat in the field…Eight races a day on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday this week…On Friday at Del Mar, the first two finishers in the Moscow Burning Stakes Rose Maddox and Chancery Way placed second and third, respectively, in the $150,000 Solana Beach Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares at one mile on turf. Rose Maddox, ridden by Juan Hernandez on Friday, is trained by Steve Miyadi. Chancery Way is trained by Jamey Thomas. Local rider Evin Roman was aboardLeading Winter/Spring meet jockey Assael Espinoza spent his summer at Del Mar and will continue to race down south for the remainder of the meet. He is scheduled to come back to Golden Gate in September…Jockey Armando Ayuso, who finished third at the Winter/Spring meet, has made a permanent move to Southern California…Northern California mainstay Irving Orozco had productive meetings at Sacramento and Santa Rosa and is back in the jockey colony at Golden Gate for this summer meeting. Orozco suffered a race riding injury in April and took two and a half months off to recuperate…FanDuelTV‘s Rich Perloff will be on track covering Golden Gate’s eight race card this Monday while Dave Weaver will be in town on the Labor Day Monday, September 4 card.


Golden Gate Fields to Close at End of 2023 Racing Meet 

BERKELEY, CA (July 16, 2023) – In a major development aimed at consolidating, invigorating and innovating racing throughout Southern California, The Stronach Group today announced it will double down on its prestigious racing and training venues at Santa Anita Park and San Luis Rey Downs by closing Golden Gate Fields at the end of the 2023 racing meet.

At the conclusion of the Golden Gate Fields meet, the company will focus on seamlessly transitioning horses from Northern California to Southern California with the goal of increasing field sizes and adding another day of racing to the weekly racing calendar at Santa Anita Park, come January 2024. This consolidation will provide expanded content opportunities, wagering prospects and will serve to further elevate the overall customer experience at Santa Anita Park.

“The Stronach Group remains steadfastly committed to racing in California,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairwoman, Chief Executive Officer and President, The Stronach Group. “We believe that the future success of racing depends on a business model that encourages investment in Southern California, one of North America’s premier racing circuits. Focusing on Santa Anita Park and San Luis Rey Downs as state-of-the-art racing and training facilities that offer enhanced program quality, increased race days, expanded wagering opportunities, and premier hospitality and entertainment experiences is vital to ensuring that California racing can continue to compete and thrive on a national level.”

Stronach added “We recognize that the decision will have profound effects on our valued employees as well as the owners, trainers, jockeys and stable personnel at Golden Gate Fields. The Stronach Group is committed to honoring labor obligations and developing a meaningful transition plan.

Moving forward, the company will work in cooperation with industry participants including the California Horse Racing Board, Thoroughbred Owners of California, California Thoroughbred Trainers, and Del Mar and Los Alamitos racetracks, to develop a plan to relocate horses and employees to Southern California while supporting all affected by this closure.

Media Contacts

Tiffani Steer,
Stefan Friedman,

About The Stronach Group and 1/ST
The Stronach Group is a world-class technology, entertainment and real estate development company with Thoroughbred racing and pari-mutuel wagering at the core.  The Stronach Group’s 1/ST business (pronounced “First”) is North America’s preeminent Thoroughbred racing and pari-mutuel wagering company and includes the 1/ST RACING & GAMING, 1/ST CONTENT, 1/ST TECHNOLOGY and 1/ST EXPERIENCE businesses, while advocating for and driving the 1/ST HORSE CARE mission. 1/ST represents The Stronach Group’s continued movement toward redefining Thoroughbred racing and the ecosystem that drives it. 1/ST RACING & GAMING drives the best-in-class racing operations and gaming offerings at the company’s premier racetracks and training centers including: Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields and San Luis Rey Downs (California); Gulfstream Park – home of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series and Palm Meadows Thoroughbred Training Center (Florida); the Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course – home of the legendary Preakness Stakes, Rosecroft Raceway and Bowie Training Center (Maryland). 1/ST CONTENT is the operating group for 1/ST’s media and content companies including: Monarch Content Management, Elite, TSG Global Wagering Solutions (GWS) and XBTV. 1/ST TECHNOLOGY is racing’s largest racing and gaming technology company offering world-class products via its AmTote, Xpressbet, 1/ST BET, XB SELECT, XB NET, PariMAX and Betmix brands. 1/ST EXPERIENCE blends the worlds of sports, entertainment and hospitality through innovative content development, elevated national and local venue management and hospitality, strategic partnerships, sponsorships, and procurement development. As the advocate for critical industry reforms and by making meaningful investments into aftercare programs for retired horses and jockeys, 1/ST HORSE CARE represents The Stronach Group’s commitment to achieving the highest level of horse and rider care and safety standards in Thoroughbred racing on and off the track. The Stronach Group’s TSG Properties is responsible for the development of the company’s live, play and work communities surrounding its racing venues including: The Village at Gulfstream Park (Florida) and Paddock Pointe (Maryland).

For more information, visit or follow @1ST_racing on Twitter or @1stracing on Instagram and Facebook.

daftar megafafa

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, June 8, 2023


Five-time stakes winner Top Harbor has won on synthetic and dirt. He has never hit the wire first on turf though, and seeks to change that statistic in this Saturday’s signature race of the day, the $50,000 Albany Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf. The Tim McCanna trainee drew post 2 in a field of 8 and will once again be ridden by regular pilot Frank Alvarado.

Top Harbor makes his first start since a decisive victory at low odds in the Lost in the Fog Stakes on April 29. Last year, Top Harbor was victorious in the Oakland Stakes and El Dorado Shooter Stakes. All three races mentioned were run over the Tapeta main track. His lone career stake win on dirt came as a 2-year-old in the Everett Nevin Stakes at Pleasanton.

Not only has Top Harbor never won on turf; he has never hit the board in two starts over the surface. That said, when handicappers dive deeper into both races, they can be forgiving. One of the races came at a two-turn distance; Top Harbor is more effective at one-turn sprint distances. The other came in a second level allowance sprint at Del Mar as a 3-year-old. He faced older horses that day-some who were stakes quality runners-and Top Harbor has improved significantly since then.

“His mom won five stakes over [turf],” said McCanna. “I think he’ll be fine on it this time. I’m not concerned.”

McCanna also sends out 2021 Oakland Stakes winner Rager in the Albany. The 6-year-old son of Into Mischief has won two consecutive second level allowance races on Tapeta and gets back to turf, a surface he frequently competed over when stabled in Southern California from 2019 through early 2021. This will be the first time he runs on turf since joining the McCanna barn.

“I just haven’t had the chance to run him over [turf],” said McCanna. “He’s put up back-to-back good races. So why not? Let’s get him back to turf and give him a shot in this stake. Both my horses are doing well.”

My Summer Dream is another who competed on the grass while racing in Southern California. In the wintertime, the 5-year-old son of Summer Front won a pair of turf sprints while earning Beyer speed figures in the 90’s. He was claimed out of one of those events in January by owner Danny Eplin and trainer O.J. Jauregui for $50,000. My Summer Dream’s last afternoon appearance, in the Lost in the Fog Stakes, resulted in an off the board finish, though he was never given a chance to get rolling in the final furlong.

“He got impeded by another horse,” said Jauregui. “He got slammed into and that was that. He was definitely running on. I think he could have been second or third.”

My Summer Dream’s most recent win came last April over Larry’s Legend in a second level allowance race on Tapeta. Larry’s Legend, trained by Sammy Calvario, placed second behind Top Harbor in the Lost in the Fog Stakes and has hit the board in all four starts for Team Calvario since joining the stable earlier this year. Like Rager and My Summer Dream, Larry’s Legend was claimed out of Southern California.

Calvario also campaigns 2022 Harris Farm Stakes winner Psycho Dar. The last time we saw Psycho Dar race at five furlongs on the turf, he earned a 92 Beyer speed figure and beat Give Me the Lute, who won the 2021 and 2022 editions of the Albany. That said, Psycho Dar’s aforementioned winning effort came last September. He looks to snap a four-race losing streak in the 2023 Albany.

4-year-old filly Lexington Humor faces male counterparts after a fifth-place finish in the Camilla Urso Stakes against fillies and mares. That day, she broke slowly from the gate, passed a few rivals down the lane, and finished four lengths behind race winner Alice Marble. This is an arguably tougher field. Honeymoonz Over draws the rail and makes his first start in almost three months while bumping up in class after multiple races at high-level claiming conditions. In his last start, Honeymoonz Over was outfinished for second by Larry’s Legend.

The Bill McLean trained Evenrevenworse was supplemented into the Albany and completes the lineup. The speedy son of Decarchy lost a heartbreaker in a first level allowance race on May 13, leading almost the whole way around, fighting gallantly inside of the winner down the lane but ultimately finishing second when beaten a nose in a dramatic stretch duel.

10 races are on the docket this Saturday. First post is 1:15 PM.

Race 9 on Saturday: The 2023 Albany Stakes (for 3-year-olds and upward at 5 furlongs on turf)

#1 Honeymoonz Over (William Antongeorgi III…D. Wayne Baker…12-1 morning line odds)

#2 Top Harbor (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…9-5)

#3 Evenrevenworse (Evin Roman…Bill McLean…6-1)

#4 My Summer Dream (Armando Ayuso…O.J. Jauregui…5-1)

#5 Larry’s Legend (Santos Rivera…Sammy Calvario…81)

#6 Rager (Assael Espinoza…Tim McCanna…3-1)

#7 Psycho Dar (Hugo Herrera…Sammy Calvario…15-1)

#8 Lexington Humor (Brayan Pena…O.J. Jauregui…10-1)


Just days before 2022 Bear Fan Stakes winner Chancery Way competed in her last start, the Camilla Urso Stakes for turf sprinters on April 29, trainer Jamey Thomas noted to the Golden Gate News and Notes team that his star filly was training like she was sitting on a big race. Thomas was correct, as the daughter of Mr. Big set a torrid pace, lengthened stride turning for home and opened up two lengths at the eighth pole before ultimately get nipped in the final stride by low odds race favorite and winner Alice Marble. Chancery Way was well ahead of the third-place finisher and earned a career best 86 Beyer speed figure for her effort.

“We were super happy with her last race,” said assistant trainer Troy Thomas, son of Jamey Thomas. “It was a winning effort, really. We weren’t quite sure how she’d take to turf but a couple of her siblings ran well on turf. She has the pedigree for it.

She didn’t run well [two races ago] at Santa Anita, but she didn’t ship great. After she came back from that trip, she just wasn’t quite herself, so we freshened her up. That helped. She bounced back and we knew [before the Camilla Urso] she was ready to run her best race and she did. Other than when she ran at Santa Anita, she hasn’t run a bad race.”

Heading into Sunday’s inaugural $75,000 Dream of Summer Stakes for California-bred or sired fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward, Chancery Way is ready to make another afternoon appearance. The key to keeping Chancery Way happy on the track, says Thomas, is to let her do her thing. She is naturally quick and enjoys flaunting her speed.

“I think she could rate. She’s a smart filly. But in my opinion, she really likes to be on the lead,” said Thomas. “She just enjoys running. Once she gets out front and pricks her ears up, she’s tough to get by. She’s naturally quick and you don’t want to fight her. You just want to let do her thing.”

Chancery Way faces seven formidable foes in Race 7 on Sunday, The Dream of Summer, which like the Camilla Urso Stakes is run at five furlongs on turf. The classiest entrant in the bunch, 2022 Camilla Urso Stakes winner Sadie Bluegrass, hasn’t raced since a sixth-place finish in the Daisycutter Stakes at Del Mar on July 29. The Jonathan Wong trainee is a win machine, with 13 victories from 23 lifetime starts. Her career earnings add up to just over $300,000. Last Sunday morning, the daughter of Bluegrass Cat drilled 5 furlongs in a lightning quick 58.80 seconds over the Tapeta main track.

Sassy Nature has failed to fire in a pair of turf sprint stakes in Kentucky and ships west for Southern California conditioner Luis Mendez. On March 25, the daughter of Straight Fire went gate to wire sprinting five panels on the lawn in the Melody of Colors Stakes at Gulfstream Park. She figures to be part of the pace in her first Northern California start.

Rousing Jewel faces older fillies and mares while cutting back in distance. The Larry and Marianne Williams homebred recently placed fourth in the Campanile Stakes at a mile for state-bred 3-year-old fillies. We know she can be effective at one-turn; 2 of her 3 lifetime wins have come sprinting on the Tapeta.

Recent first level allowance winners Mischievous Curlin and Smiling Molly are also part of the eight-horse field.

10 races are on the Closing Day Sunday card. First post is 1:15 PM.

Race 7 on Sunday: The 2023 Dream of Summer Stakes (for California-bred or sired fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at five furlongs on turf)

#1 Sassy Nature (Jockey Santos Rivera…Trainer Luis Mendez)

#2 Tamantari (Alejandro Gomez…Jeff Bonde)

#3 Mischievous Curlin (Brayan Pena…Faith Taylor)

#4 Smiling Molly (William Antongeorgi III…D. Wayne Baker)

#5 Rousing Jewel (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht)

#6 Chancery Way (Evin Roman…Jamey Thomas)

#7 Big Sis Little Sis (Assael Espinoza…Reid France)

#8 Sadie Bluegrass (Armando Ayuso…Jonathan Wong)


6-year-old Awesome Summer began his career in 2019 with the late Bob Hess Sr. He was well liked by the veteran horseman and broke his maiden with Hall of Famer Kent Desoremaux aboard in lifetime start number two.

After several failed attempts at winning first level allowance races as a 3-year-old, Awesome Summer was given time off from September of 2020 to April of this year.

That’s right. Awesome Summer was out of action for about 32 months. He returned to training in early 2023 with trainer Jose Bautista. Bautista saw enough of Awesome Summer to give him a chance at a first level field off the prolonged break.

“The owners have always been very high on this horse,” said Bautista. “I was thinking early on maybe run him for a tag. His first half mile work back, he went 49 and he was doing it in the hands. Nice and easy. So, we let him roll in his next work and, even though our clockers got him in a minute and change, I got him in 59 and 2. And he was just cruising. So, I called the owners and said, ‘He’s training great. I think we need to run in an allowance.’”

Sprinting five and one-half furlongs on April 23, Awesome Summer dueled on the lead at speedy fractions of 21 and 3/5 seconds for the first quarter mile and 45 and 1/5 seconds for the opening half mile. Down the stretch, the 6-year-old son of Vronsky kicked away for a three-length victory. He went off at 16-1 odds.

Certainly a well-kept secret.

“I told [jockey] Catalino [Martinez], ‘Don’t fight him. Just let him run.’ I wasn’t surprised he ran that well.”

A California-bred, Awesome Summer was eligible to win twice at the first level allowance condition. Bautista took advantage of that perk (it pays to be a Cal-bred, right?) and entered Awesome Summer back in another first level allowance three weeks later. In that May 14 heat, Awesome Summer stalked the pace. The result, however, was no different than on April 23: the big, grey gelding seized the lead by the eighth pole and won going away.

“He’s never seemed like a horse that needed to be on the lead,” said Bautista. “There was a bunch of other speed to our inside, so I told Catalino to let him break and stalk the pace if someone wanted to go. He’s very push button.”

Awesome Summer seeks to remain unbeaten this year while stepping up in class to the second level allowance condition in Friday’s featured fourth race, a six-furlong sprint on Tapeta. Awesome Summer is the 9-5 morning line favorite.

“I thought about running him in the Albany but decided to run him in this race Friday instead,” said Bautista. “If he runs very well this time, then our goal is to go in the Oak Tree Sprint [on July 1] at Pleasanton.”

A quartet of respectable rivals line up to challenge Awesome Summer. The 2-1 second choice on the morning is Long Lance, who lost by a head at this level behind Albany Stakes contender Rager. Like Rager, Long Lance is trained by Tim McCanna. Lmlooknformischief placed fifth in the race behind the Tim McCanna pair and is also entered in Friday’s fourth race.

Southern California shipper Jam Session is already familiar with the sights and sounds of Golden Gate. The Michael McCarthy trainee broke his maiden sprinting on the Tapeta in February and was last see finishing off the board in the 8.5-furlong California Derby after setting the pace. He is a 3-year-old facing older in Friday’s fourth race. Rounding out the field is 2022 Oak Tree Sprint winner Cool Mountain Lad. He has failed to threaten for the gold prize in his last six races.

Eight races kick off Closing Week of the 2023 GGF Winter/Spring meet on Friday. First post is 1:15 PM.

Race 4 on Friday (Second level allowance at 6 furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Cool Mountain Lad (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…Trainer Victor Trujillo…morning line odds 5-1)

#2 Long Lance (Armando Ayuso…Tim McCanna…2-1)

#3 Jam Session (Assael Espinoza…Michael McCarthy…4-1)

#4 Lmlooknformischief (Santos Rivera…Faith Taylor…6-1)

#5 Awesome Summer (Catalino Martinez…Jose Bautista…9-5)


The Sunday, June 11 live race program at Golden Gate marks the final card of the bayside track’s 2023 Winter/Spring meet. First post is 1:15 PM Pacific. With closing day comes mandatory payouts in four bets: the Golden Pick Six, both Pick 5 wagers, and the Rolling Super High Five.

The Golden Pick Six is a 20-cent minimum bet and features the last six races on any given race card. The Sunday, June 11 sequence goes as Races 5 through 10. Heading into Friday’s card, the Golden Pick Six jackpot carryover sits at $35,904. If there fails to be a single ticket jackpot winner on Friday or Saturday, meaning a lone ticket hits all six winners in the Pick Six, then the carryover amount will be even greater come mandatory payout Sunday. A mandatory payout would still be in play even if a single ticket winner took down the Pick Six jackpot on Friday and or Saturday.

The Early Pick 5 and Late Pick 5 sequences are also mandatory payout wagers on Sunday. The Early Pick 5 consists of the first five races (Races 1-5) on the card while the Late Pick 5 is comprised of the last five races (Races 6-10). Both Pick 5 sequences are 50-cent minimum plays.

Rounding out the list of mandatory payout bets on Sunday is the last Rolling High Five wager of the day. The Rolling High Five tasks horseplayers with correctly tabbing the first five finishers in order. The Rolling High Five is only offered in races where there are seven or more official starters. On Sunday, the tenth and last race of the day has eight starters. If two defections were to occur in Race 10, then the Rolling High Five mandatory payout race would be Race 9, which attracted a field of nine.


Below is a list of claims from last week


Race 2: Sweet Blush (New trainer O.J. Jauregui…New owner A. Jason Hall Stables)

Race 6: Dawn At Last (Jonathan Wong…Madden Racing and MJVET Stables)

Race 8: Gardees World (Jonathan Wong…Hat Trick Racing)

Race 8: O’Neills Legacy (Owner/Trainer Sammy Calvario) 


Race 2: Laura Branigan (Sammy Calvario…Huntertown Farm LLC and Calvario)

Race 3: Sugar Beets (Manny Badilla…Brett Tahajian and Badilla)

Race 3: Tex Hanley (Reid France…TC Racing)

Race 8: Pacific Zip (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables and Taboada Racing Stables LLC)

Race 9: Class Code (Reid France…Leon Scott)


Race 2: Gulara (Monty Meier…Browne Cattle Co. and William Branch)

Race 4: Love Candy (Sammy Calvario…Mary Tucker)

Race 5: Sippin N Kissin (Jonathan Wong…Madden Racing)

FINISH LINES: In a contentious battle for the Winter/Spring meet leading trainer title, trainers Isidro Tamayo and Jonathan Wong each have 52 wins and will be sending out a strong number of entrants closing week…Statistically, jockey Assael Espinoza has clinched his first ever riding title at Golden Gate. The soon-to-be-official Winter/Spring meet leading rider has won 87 races so far and has plenty of live mounts closing week. Second place rider Evin Roman has certainly had a satisfactory meeting as well, tallying 72 victories with three racing days left to go…Taboada Racing Stables LLC have the most wins in the owner category with 14 first place finishes. Larry and Marianne Williams sit right behind with 13 wins, Gray Farms Inc. has 12, and Tommy Town Thoroughbreds LLC, Ron Charles and Sam Gordon, and Hat Trick Racing all have 10 wins apiece…Contentious allowance races are spread throughout closing week. Among them: Race 3 on Friday for filly and mare turf routers and Race 4 on Sunday for second level filly and mare Tapeta routers. The “Long Distance” Farewell, going as Race 3 on Sunday, is a first level allowance at one mile and three furlongs on turf. Seven entrants are signed on to travel the 11 furlongs…Race 4 on Saturday is a maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies while Race 6 on Sunday is for 2-year-old colts. Both races will be run at 5 furlongs on Tapeta…The Jose Bautista trained Il Bellator ran fourth in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile two weeks ago and is now targeting the $150,000 Pleasanton Mile on July 9…We wish all our horsemen, horsewomen, owners, breeders, and fans best of luck in their endeavors this summer. Live racing resumes at Golden Gate for the Summer Meet on Saturday, August 26…see you then!!!

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Friday, June 2, 2023


After a dominant win against a large field of talented second level allowance foes on May 20, the She’s a Tiger Stakes for filly and mare routers at Pleasanton on June 24 was the original target for 4-year-old filly Ascendancy.

Then, the Golden Gate racing office hung an open allowance race for fillies and mares at one mile on the Tapeta for Friday, June 2.

And then, Ascendancy was entered in it.

“Are we coming back pretty quick? Yeah,” frankly noted trainer O.J Jauregui. “This race on Friday popped up and we decided to call an audible. Let’s go for it. She came out of her last race really well. She’s been eating everything in her feed tub, her weight looks good, and she’s come back to the track training with good energy. I just hope she doesn’t bounce.”

Ascendancy, a daughter of Classic Empire always well regarded by her connections, took a while to find her best stride. She broke her maiden in her eighth lifetime start, winning at a two-turn distance. Her maiden breaking run was the first time she had competed at a distance farther than six furlongs. Along with the first career winner circle photo came a lightbulb that had finally turned on, and Ascendancy has steadily improved since then. Ascendancy passed the six-figure lifetime earnings mark in her most recent start on May 20, sitting off a quick pace before producing a ferocious rally down the stretch, winning the mile and a sixteenth turf route by two and a half lengths while wrapped up in the final stages by jockey Alexander Chavez.

“I wasn’t surprised she won like that,” said Jauregui. “She’s a nice filly.”

Ascendancy reunites with Chavez and goes up against four other rivals in the featured third race on Friday. One of them is Trojan Clubhouse, who threw in an uncharacteristic clunker in the May 20 trial. That afternoon, she stalked the pace and faded to sixth with seemingly no excuses as the 2-1 favorite. A winner of 9 races from 17 lifetime starts, the daughter of Clubhouse Ride is likely to be forwardly placed in a race on Friday that does not attract a great deal of early speed. Reid France trains and puts regular rider Evin Roman back aboard.

2022 California Oaks winner Anthony’s Cleopatra freshens up five weeks after a poor showing in the Golden Poppy Stakes on April 29. That day, the Tim McCanna trainee stalked a moderate pace and faded, beating just one filly home in the field of 10. She gets back to Tapeta, a surface in which she has run first or second over in 5 of 6 lifetime starts. Earlier in the year, Anthony’s Cleopatra sprinted five and one-half furlongs and finished a half-length behind Always Seeking, one of the top filly and mare sprinters in Northern California so far this year.

The one filly who Anthony’s Cleopatra finished ahead of in the Golden Poppy was none other than Tam’s Little Angel, also entered to compete in Friday’s signature race. Winner of the She’s a Tiger Stakes on dirt in 2022, Tam’s Little Angel has lost eight consecutive races since then. Multiple first level allowance winner Twilight Empire ran poorly on May 20, her first lifetime start on turf, and returns to the Golden Gate main track for another try against the likes of Ascendancy and Trojan Clubhouse. She completes the quintet entered in Friday’s third.

First post on an 8-race card this Friday is 1:45 PM.

Race 3 on Friday (Open allowance for fillies & mares 3-years-old and up at one mile on Tapeta)

#1 Tam’s Little Angel (Jockey Catalino Martinez…Trainer Steve Specht…Morning lines odds 8-1)

#2 Twilight Empire (Francisco Duran…Cliff DeLima…7-2)

#3 Trojan Clubhouse (Evin Roman…Reid France…2-1)

#4 Ascendancy (Alexander Chavez…O.J. Jauregui…9-5)

#5 Anthony’s Cleopatra (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…7-2)


Stakes winner Jimmy Blue Jeans picked up his first win since March of 2022 in a second level, one-mile turf allowance race on April 21, setting a soft pace and kicking on for a half-length victory. The runner up finisher, Kennebec, returned to win at a second level condition in his next start.

Jimmy Blue Jeans returns to action in this Saturday’s sixth race-an event in which the same conditions as April’s race (surface, distance, and class level) apply. Although most of his wins have come while employing front running tactics, trainer Andy Mathis knows his 5-year-old gelding is multi-dimensional.

“He won an allowance race at Del Mar stalking the pace,” said Mathis. “With a horse like him, the rider has full control. [Jockey] Assael [Espinoza] knows this horse well. He’s going to have to call the shots out there. It’s hard to give specific instructions.”

The April 20 victory for Jimmy Blue Jeans may have been a well needed confidence booster for the California-bred by James Street. A similar effort this Saturday could help Mathis map out what races Jimmy Blue Jeans may find himself in heading into the summer season. 

“I suppose every race is a gauge to where you might run next,” said Mathis. “This group is a notch below the stakes horses. If he runs well here, we can think about getting him back up to a tougher level. You want to put a horse like him in races where we realistically feel he can win.”

Jimmy Blue Jeans draws the rail in a field of six and is listed as the 9-5 morning line favorite. The second choice on the morning line at 5-2 is Tesoro. Trained by O.J Jauregui, Tesoro made his first start of the year in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile, was “keen” in the early stages of the race, sat in midfield, and faded by the eighth pole. A class drop should benefit the Kentucky bred by Anchor Down, as well as the fact that he now has a race under his belt in the current form cycle. He makes his second start off a six-and-a-half-month vacation in Saturday’s sixth race.

Also exiting the San Francisco Mile is Tarantino, who finished about four lengths behind race winner Balnikhov in the ‘Mile. Earlier this year, the Ed Moger Jr. trainee was the runner up in a salty race for second level allowance routers at Santa Anita. Tarantino possesses backclass. As a 3-year-old, he placed third in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 American at Santa Anita.

Seattle Bold has done well for trainer Steve Sherman and owners Sherman, Tom Mayo, Randy Exelby, and The Jimmy Rex Robinson Family Trust since being claimed by said connections for $32,000 in February. In two races since the acquisition, Seattle Bold won a $40,000 claimer and returned to finish as the runner up behind Kennebec in a May 12 heat. Seattle Bold possesses natural speed and can challenge Jimmy Blue Jeans for the lead in the early stages.

Conundrum earned a career high 91 Beyer speed figure in victory while racing over the main track Tapeta in his last start on May 6. His lone career try on grass resulted in a runner up finish at the first level allowance condition. Conundrum has never raced at the second level allowance condition before and takes a bump up in class for the Saturday feature. Rounding out the field is America Great, third behind Kennebec and Seattle Bold on May 12.

9 races comprise the Saturday live program at Golden Gate. First post is 1:15 PM.

Race 6 on Saturday (Second level allowance for 3-years-old and up at one mile on turf)

#1 Tesoro (Jockey Armando Ayuso…Trainer O.J Jauregui…Morning line odds of 5-2)

#2 Jimmy Blue Jeans (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis…8-5)

#3 America Great (Hugo Herrera…Monty Meier…8-1)

#4 Tarantino (Epifanio Garcia…Ed Moger Jr…6-1)

#5 Seattle Bold (Evin Roman…Steve Sherman…4-1)

#6 Conundrum (Frank Alvarado…Mike Lenzini…10-1)


Local I’mgonnabesomebody defeated a top-class group of routers in Monday’s $100,000 All American Stakes. The list he beat includes multiple Grade 2 winner Royal Ship, Grade 1 winner Tripoli, stakes winner American Farmer, and Grade 2 placed Rio King. Ridden to victory by Alexander Chavez, I’mgonnabesomebody earned a 94 Beyer speed figure for the win.

24 hours after the race, trainer Bill McLean noted that I’mgonnabesomebody came out of the All American with a clean bill of health and would be pointed next to the $150,000 Pleasanton Mile on dirt on Saturday, July 9.

“That was really nice,” reflected McLean on the All American win. “I told Chavez before the race, ‘Just send him out of the gate and get him to the lead if you can.’ We ended up pressing [pacesetter Mastering] and I was okay with that. Turning for home, it looked like he might get swarmed, but he just kicked away from them. It was pretty great to watch. We’ve got a great group of owners who have been with our barn for a long time, so it’s special to have such a nice horse for them. I’m happy for the whole group and my whole team at the barn.”

I’mgonnabesomebody, who won the Sam Spear Memorial and Joseph T. Grace Stakes last year, was purchased for $30,000 as a yearling at the 2019 Keeneland September sale. He earned $60,000 for the All American win and improved his lifetime bankroll to $242,380. His career record now reads 7 wins, 3 runner up finishes, and 2 thirds from 17 starts. The son of Will Take Charge was bred in Kentucky by Elm Tree Farm LLC and is owned by the partnership of Nin Auyeung, Phillip Crosby, Cheryl Hauck, Bill McLean, Todd Miller, Elizabeth Moran, and Marilyn Taylor.

McCann’s Mojave Stakes winner American Farmer put up a commendable effort in the All American and is worthy of recognition. He finished second, beaten a length and a half by I’mgonnabesomebody. If all goes well, American Farmer is also possible for the Pleasanton Mile. Steve Sherman trains the California-bred by Bluegrass Cat.


Below is a list of claims from last week


Race 1: Big Jolt (New trainer Jonathan Wong…New owner Madden Racing)

Race 2: Safe Combination (Owner/Trainer Jorge Maravilla)

Race 5: Il Capitano (Isidro Tamayo…Mean Girls Racing Stable)

Race 7: Kodiaction (Bill McLean…Carpenter, Hauck, McLean, and Puertas)

Race 7: Supermazel (Jesus Ramos…MJ Ranch)

Race 8: Luck Is Golden (Ed Moger Jr…Johnny Mcafoos)


Race 7: Harbor Sky (Jamey Thomas…Troy Smith and Thomas)

Race 7: Stanford Bay (Reid France…TC Racing)


Race 6: Fully Loaded (Gary Greiner…Renee Greiner)

Race 6: Mr. Clutch (Jonathan Wong…JJ Lee Rae)


Race 3: Blursday (Mike Lenzini…Gary Marrone)

Race 4: Wound Up (Jamey Thomas…Brian Parker)

Race 6: Asano’s Back (Ellen Jackson…Alberto Ruvalcaba)

Race 6: Wicklow Hills (Marcelino Trujillo…Nancy Salas Ibarra and Floriberta Trujillo)

Race 9: Eddie Crosswire (Tim Bellasis…Donna Smartt, Cassandra Tschanz and Bellasis)

Race 9: Respond (Isidro Tamayo…Hat Trick Racing)

Race 9: Silent Sunday (Andy Mathis…William Branch and Robert Jones)

FINISH LINES: San Francisco Mile third place finisher Il Bellator finished fourth of 11 in Monday’s Grade 1 $500,000 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita and earned $30,000 for the placing. Il Bellator is trained by Jose Bautista and was ridden by regular rider Alejandro GomezGame Time, winner of the $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes on Sunday for trainer John Sadler and jockey Armando Ayuso, received an 84 Beyer for his win. The son of Not This Time could make his next appearance on Opening Day at Del Mar in the $100,000 Caesars Sportsbook Oceanside Stakes…With two more weeks to go at the current Winter/Spring meet, jockey Assael Espinoza has 84 wins-the most out of any rider in the colony. Evin Roman, who won five races on Friday, had a big week and propelled himself to second place in the jockey standings with 67 wins total, 3 more than Ayuso…Jonathan Wong nurses a narrow lead in the trainer standings with 51 wins, two ahead of Isidro Tamayo$20,055 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot bet heading into Friday…The feature race on Sunday is a first level allowance which goes as the eighth of nine races. First post is 1:15 PM on Sunday…Remember: Closing Day of the Winter/Spring meet is next Sunday, June 11. Mandatory payouts are in play for all wagers next Sunday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Friday, May 26, 2023


Some of the top 3-year-olds in Sunday’s $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes are names that racing fans who closely follow Golden Gate will know. Undefeated Prince Abu Dhabi, well-bred Harcyn, and multiple stakes winner Passarando are three who come to mind in a group that has produced a strong crop of sophomores in the Northern California region. The trio of racers, all who exit the California Derby last month, will be racing over a new surface, turf, in Sunday’s feature race of the day, the Alcatraz at one mile. The 2023 Alcatraz drew a field of seven and goes as the eighth race on a nine-race card. First post is 1:45 PM.

The one to beat in the race is Prince Abu Dhabi, undefeated with four consecutive wins and looking to become a two-time stakes winner after a half-length victory in the California Derby on April 29. The Blaine Wright trainee certainly possesses the pedigree to enjoy turf. Prince Abu Dhabi’s dam, the Irish-bred American Girl, won three times on grass during her racing career in 2014 and 2015. Damsire High Chaparral dead heated for the win in the 2003 Breeders Cup Turf at Santa Anita.

“He got a chance to gallop over the outside part of the turf course last Wednesday morning,” said Wright. “It’s always good when you can get your horses over a track they haven’t been on before. He’s bred to like the grass. You never truly know how a horse will do over a surface in a race until they actually race over it, but I was very pleased with how he galloped on the turf the other morning.”

Prince Abu Dhabi, to be ridden by regular jockey Alexander Chavez again, has worked twice since the California Derby triumph. An $8,000 sale purchase by multiple Grade 1 winner Palace Malice, Prince Abu Dhabi hasn’t done anything wrong since joining the Wright stable as a 2-year-old for owners Lance and Steve Kinross.

“The horse always comes first,” said Wright. “We’ve got a pretty good 3-year-old program here at Golden Gate, so for the time being we’re staying home. If he were to ship and run poorly on a new surface, then you start trying to answer if he didn’t like the ship, if the company was too tough, if he didn’t like the turf. Right now, we’ll see how he runs on the turf while not necessarily facing easier company than he did in the California Derby. This race will help us map out our summer campaign.”

California Derby fourth place finisher Harcyn sat on the bumper of a quick pace in the ‘Derby and was unable keep up with the top three. He finished three lengths behind Prince Abu Dhabi. Trained by Steve Sherman, Harcyn is out of the Street Cry mare Florian, a half sibling to 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and 2007 Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago. Their dam, named Set Them Free, won a turf sprint stake at Hollywood Park in 1994. Earlier in the year, Harcyn ran third in the El Camino Real Derby for owner/breeder Jerry Moss.

California-bred Passarando finished a head and a nose, respectively, behind Harcyn in the El Camino Real Derby and California Derby. As a 2-year-old, he won the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate on Tapeta and the Golden State Juvenile sprinting seven furlongs on dirt at Santa Anita. His second dam, the Decarchy mare Antares World, was a multiple stakes winner on the turf and placed second in the 2010 Grade 1 American Oaks on grass at Hollywood Park. The Steve Specht trainee makes his second start off a two-and-a-half-month layoff in the Alcatraz.

Southern California shipper Phosphorescence is back for another crack at Northern California company after a runner up finish to Prince Abu Dhabi in the California Derby. Unlike the three locals mentioned, Phosphorescence is based at Santa Anita under the care of Michael McCarthy. He is proven to like turf, too, as the $200,000 Keeneland weanling purchase by City of Light broke his maiden going two turns on grass in March.

The second Southern California shooter in the Alcatraz is Game Time, entering for trainer John Sadler off a length and a quarter loss in the Singletary Stakes at Santa Anita. That day, he stalked the pace inside of horses and got caught behind traffic throughout the length of the stretch. A maiden winner on turf at Santa Anita last October, Game Time placed second in the Grade 3 Cecille B. Demille at Del Mar as a 2-year-old and was the runner up in the Pasadena Stakes behind Johannes, arguably the top 3-year-old turf horse in Southern California.

Others entered in the Alcatraz are starter allowance winner Cousin Richie, third place finisher in the Silky Sullivan for state-breds on turf, and Welton, a first out maiden special weight winner who returned two months later in his most recent start to finish third in a first level allowance race sprinting. Sergio Ledezma trains Cousin Richie while leading conditioner Jonathan Wong campaigns Welton. Welton’s dam, the Lemon Drop Kid mare Iadorakid, raced once in her short career and won at the one-mile distance on turf. A 2-year-old unnamed sibling to Welton was purchased for $750,000 at the OBS April 2-year-old in training sale and currently resides at Los Alamitos with trainer Bob Baffert.

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

#1 Game Time (Jockey Armando Ayuso…Trainer John Sadler)

#2 Cousin Richie (Alejandro Gomez…Sergio Ledezma)

#3 Welton (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong)

#4 Prince Abu Dhabi (Alexander Chavez…Blaine Wright)

#5 Passarando (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht)

#6 Phosphorescence (Assael Espinoza…Michael McCarthy)

#7 Harcyn (Evin Roman…Steve Sherman)


A good-sized field is projected to compete in the $100,000 All American Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward at one mile on the Tapeta this Monday. The All American is the annual feature race on Memorial Day Monday, May 29, a day every year in which Golden Gate Fields runs a special holiday program. Entries for the All American and the rest of the Monday card will be taken, drawn, and published on Friday.

Among the strong list of local entrants pointing to the All American is Rio King, second-place finisher in last month’s Grade 3 $250,000 San Francisco Mile. Rio King, exiting three consecutive wins including a first level allowance triumph in March, went off at 51-1 in the San Francisco Mile, sat off a quick pace, rallied down the lane and finished a nose short of race winner Balnikhov. The aforementioned foe runs in Monday’s Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita.

“I was very happy, of course, but I was not surprised he ran well,” said Rio King’s trainer, Sammy Calvario. “I really liked him going into that race. He was a longshot, but he stood out in his training. In his gallops, he was aggressive and wanted to be ahead of all the other horses he was training with. After he won the allowance race, I told the owner ‘Let’s go in the San Francisco Mile.’ Someone asked me before Gold Rush Weekend, ‘What stakes horse do you like this weekend?’ and I told her that I liked Rio King. Every race he’s won with us, he’s gotten stronger and more confident.”

Rio King, claimed by owners Huntertown Farm LLC for $20,000 as a maiden in October, has won four of eight starts for the Calvario barn off the claim with earnings just over $100,000 for the current connections.

“The owner wanted to claim a horse in October. I looked in the racing form and saw Rio King had come from Kentucky and ran a good race over there. He didn’t run well at Del Mar [and was shipping in to race at Golden Gate], so I told the owner, ‘It’s tough at Del Mar. He might be good at Golden Gate.’ So, we claimed him.”

Since the San Francisco Mile, the son of Bali a Bali has one published morning workout. Rio King is a multiple winner on the Tapeta main track, meaning the surface switch in the All American shouldn’t be an issue.

“He’s training as well as he was before the ‘Mile,” said Calvario. “He is doing good. He is ready.”

The projected field assembled for the 2023 All American isn’t any lighter than the San Francisco Mile. The Richard Mandella trainee Royal Ship is a three-time Grade 2 winner and is reportedly “probable” to sign up for the All American at Golden Gate on entry day Friday. Another possible All American entrant is 2021 Grade I Pacific Classic winner Tripoli, who lost his best form in 2022 but got a confidence booster with a determined allowance win on the Tapeta two months ago, defeating Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap winner Lammas in the process. He has been training at Santa Anita under the care of John Sadler since then.

Other likely contenders in the All American include McCann’s Mojave Stakes winner American Farmer, a synthetic specialist from the Steve Sherman barn who hasn’t raced since the aforementioned victory on March 18. Tesoro failed to fire in the San Francisco Mile, his first start of 2023, and makes his second start off a layoff. Gutsy gelding I’mgonnabesomebody  won the Sam Spear Memorial on turf last year and was second in the Grade 3 Berkeley over the fall. He returns to the races in the All American after a four-and-a-half-month vacation for trainer Bill McLean. 2022 Silky Sullivan Stakes winner Royal n’ Rando is another who enters off a similar layoff as I’mgonnabesomebody. Trained by Steve Specht, Royal n’ Rando’s last winners circle appearance came after a second level allowance victory in December. Rounding out the list of local probables is recent second level allowance winner Kennebec.

One nominee missing from the All American probables list is San Francisco Mile third place finisher Il Bellator. Il Bellator is possible to compete at Santa Anita instead in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on Monday. Local trainer Jose Bautista trains Il Bellator for owners Edward and Theresa DeNike.

Entries for Monday’s Memorial Day Monday card will be taken, drawn, and published on Friday.


On paper, handicappers can make a legitimate case for every horse in Friday’s signature race of the day: a first level allowance for 3-years-olds at one mile on the Tapeta. A field of seven are entered in the feature event of the day, which goes as the sixth of eight races. First post is 1:15 PM.

Morning line favorite Nauvoo gets class relief for leading trainer Jonathan Wong after a four-length loss in the California Derby. The son of Not This Time possesses the speed to go to the lead if he wants it. The last win for Nauvoo came in a $16,000 claiming race on dirt at Santa Anita, where he set the pace, won the contest by a whopping nine lengths, and earned a 80 Beyer speed figure. Brayan Pena was aboard in the California Derby and retains the mount on Friday.

Mother’s Prayer ran two bang-up races in March: a victory on the fourth of the month at this first level allowance condition, and a nose loss at the hands of California Derby winner Prince Abu Dhabi in a separate allowance event on March 31. The Steve Specht trainee seeks to rebound after a poor effort in his most recent start, the Silky Sullivan Stakes, for state-breds on the turf, and picks up the services of leading rider Assael Espinoza for Friday’s engagement.

The Kentucky bred Sea Dog was a length and a quarter behind Mother’s Prayer in the March 4 allowance heat and freshened up over a month and a half for his next start in the California Derby, where he finished a nose ahead of Nauvoo for sixth place in the field of nine. The son of Midshipman is trained by O.J Jauregui will be ridden by Alexander Chavez for the first time. Purchased for $90,00 as a 2-year-old in training, Sea Dog is in for the optional $50,000 claiming tag.

Happy Does, third in the March 4 allowance race, has already won twice at the first level allowance condition. In his most recent afternoon appearance, the Felix Rondan trainee sat off the speed and rallied down the lane to complete the superfecta in the Silky Sullivan Stakes, finishing just two lengths behind race winner Hacking It Up. The most experienced entrant in the field, Happy Does is less than $5,000 short of the six-figure lifetime earnings mark.

Rodrigoknows finished a length behind Happy Does for fourth in the Silky Sullivan and makes his second lifetime start at a route of ground for trainer Victor Trujillo. The son of Cat Burglar broke his maiden sprinting and has already hit the board once at the first level condition sprinting. Just like Happy Does, Rodrigoknows returns to the Tapeta against allowance company on Friday.

Recent maiden special weight turf winner Duplication is another who routes for the second time. He ran a career best race going a two-turn distance last month and looks to build off that. Completing the field is Trinidad, tenth in the Silky Sullivan Stakes on Gold Rush Weekend Sunday. Jack Steiner conditions Duplication and Roger Hansen trains Trinidad.

Race 6 on Friday (First level allowance at one mile on the Tapeta)

#1 Mother’s Prayer (Jockey Assael Espinoza…Trainer Steve Specht…Morning line odds of 3-1)

#2 Nauvoo (Brayan Pena….Jonathan Wong…2-1)

#3 Duplication (Armando Ayuso…Jack Steiner…8-1)

#4 Trinidad (Hugo Herrera…Roger Hansen…12-1)

#5 Happy Does (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…6-1)

#6 Sea Dog (Alexander Chavez…O.J. Jauregui…4-1)

#7 Rodrigoknows (Evin Roman…Victor Trujillo…6-1)



Race 3: Don’t Tell Hydee (New trainer Isidro Tamayo…new owner Hat Trick Racing)

Race 4: Alexander’s Dream (Reid France…RKJ Stable)

Race 7: Attenzione (Jonathan Wong…Madden Racing LLC, MJVET Stables and Sergio Salguero)


No claims


Race 1: All (Ruby Thomas…William Heck)

Race 1: Jaycee (Jesus Uranga…Battle Born Racing Stable)

Race 3: Harbor Sky (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

FINISH LINES: El Camino Real Derby winner Chase the Chaos placed fifth in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes last Saturday at Pimlico and picked up a $49,500 check for the effort. No immediate plans are on the docket for the Pennsylvania bred son of AsternRace 8 on Saturday is the feature race of the day: a field of 9 are entered to travel one mile and a sixteenth on the turf. The final race on Saturday, Race 9, is a maiden sprint for 3-year-olds. Both high quality races are two halves of the Golden Hour Late Pick 4 sequence…With 10 racing days left to go at the 2023 Winter/Spring meet, Assael Espinoza sits atop the jockey standings with 78 wins. Armando Ayuso is second with 62 wins and Evin Roman rounds out the top three with 58 trips to the winner’s circle…In the trainer standings, Jonathan Wong leads the way with 49 wins, five ahead of Isidro Tamayo…Trainer Blaine Wright is 10 wins away from 1,000 career victories. He has 11 horses entered at Emerald Downs between Saturday and Sunday and saddles 4 horses at Golden Gate throughout Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Friday, May 19, 2023


Golden Gate Fields is saving the highest quality race for last on Friday. The nightcap on an 8-race program attracts 7 second-level allowance sprinters. Trainer Tim McCanna conditions the best sprinter in Northern California, Top Harbor, and is loaded with other talented one-turn racers as he campaigns a strong 1-2 punch in the Friday finale.

“It’s kind of feast or famon,” quipped McCanna. “You either have none or a few of them in the same division.”

The morning line favorite in Race 8 on Friday is the McCanna trained Rager, winner of the 2021 Oakland Stakes. This year, the son of Into Mischief has already won a pair of second level allowance races. In his most recent start, Rager sat off a fast pace, rallied down the lane and hit the wire in front while earning a career best 91 Beyer speed figure.

“He’s a little pro,” said McCanna. “He definitely runs better when he has a pace to run into. When you put him close [to the pace], he just doesn’t have the same kick.”

The one Rager may have to fear most is a familiar face around the barn: 6-year-old gelding Long Lance. Also trained by McCanna, Long Lance cuts back from route races to a 6-furlong sprint after an off the board finish last month. Earlier in the year, he hit the board in multiple races behind a trio of stakes caliber runners: Grade 1 winner Tripoli, Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap winner Lammas, and McCann’s Mojave Stakes gold medalist American Farmer. The last time we saw Long Lance compete at a one-turn distance, he defeated a salty bunch while earning a 90 Beyer.

“[Jockey Armando] Ayuso said to sprint him,” said McCanna. “He’s hung a little bit in a couple of his route races. Last time he didn’t break, didn’t get pace to run at and sort of ran a dull race. He’s won here sprinting, so we thought we’d mix it up. Both my horses have the same type of [running] style.”

A recent stakes placed sprinter adds depth of the field. The Sammy Calvario trained Larry’s Legend has a case of ‘seconditis’- that is, he has finished second in his last three starts. Most recently, he pressed the pace in the Lost in the Fog Stakes and finished second behind Top Harbor. No shame in that. Larry’s Legend competed at this level two races ago and finished three-quarters of a length behind the winner.

Top Executive is a multiple stakes winner in Washington state and makes his second start off a seven-month vacation. In his first race of the year last month, Top Executive was third home behind Rager, finishing the race with good energy. Top Executive, who ran fourth in the Longacres Mile last year, will be ridden by Evin Roman for the first time. Wright also tightens the girth of Torpedo Away, a hard knocking 7-year-old whose last win came against $32,000 claimers in February. His most recent start at a second level condition resulted in a third-place finish.

Lmlooknformischief was fifth behind Rager and Torpedo Away in the April 23 heat while Lost in the Fog Stakes fifth place finisher Cool Mountain Lad complete the field. Over the summer, Cool Mountain Lad won the Oak Tree Sprint on dirt at Pleasanton.

The 8 race Friday program kicks off at 1:15 PM.

Race 8 (Second level allowance for 3-year-olds and up at 6 furlongs)

#1 Torpedo Away (Alexander Chavez…Blaine Wright…6-1)

#2 Top Executive (Evin Roman…Blaine Wright…6-1)

#3 Lmlooknformischief (Frank Alvarado…Faith Taylor…12-1)

#4 Long Lance (Armando Ayuso…Tim McCanna…3-1)

#5 Cool Mountain Lad (William Antongeorgi III…Victor Trujillo…10-1)

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

#7 Larry’s Legend (Santos Rivera…Sammy Calvario…7-2)


Golden Gate Fields based trainer Ed Moger Jr. has gone on various trips around the country with his Grade 1 winner Stilleto Boy. This week, Moger travels to a new location with another one of his horses. El Camino Real Derby winner Chase the Chaos is Moger’s first starter in a Triple Crown race when he competes in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the $1,500,000 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, this Saturday. Chase the Chaos drew post position two and will be ridden by Maryland based rider Sheldon Russell.

“He got [to Pimlico] on Tuesday at midnight,” said Moger Jr. from Baltimore, Maryland, where Pimlico is located. “This track is sandy. It’s going to be a different deal. The good news is he looks like a million bucks and he’s a talented horse.”

Purchased for $10,000 by owners Adam Ference and Bill Dory as a weanling at Keeneland in 2020, 3-year-old Chase the Chaos boasts 3 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third place finish from 8 starts with lifetime earnings of $123,950. He earned a free berth into the Preakness winning the El Camino Real Derby in February. If he were to pull off the upset on Saturday, he would be the second El Camino Real Derby winner to win the Preakness since 1/ST racing officials implemented the free Preakness berth to the EL Camino Real Derby winner in 2019. Rombauer won both the El Camino Real Derby and the Preakness that year.

Chase the Chaos’s last start, an eighth-place finish in the California Derby, was a headscratcher. The Pennsylvania-bred son of Astern came back to work five furlongs in 1:00.80 last Friday morning in a serious work gearing up for the Preakness.

“I was looking for him to go in 1:02 or so. He went faster and did it on his own,” said Moger Jr.

Kentucky Derby winner Mage is the 2023 Preakness morning line favorite and seeks to become the ninth horse since 2000 to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The Preakness is Race 13 on a 14-race card at Pimlico Racecourse, with post time set at 4:01 PM Pacific Time. Fans on track at Golden Gate this Saturday can watch and wager on the Preakness and the stakes filled undercard at Pimlico. The Preakness will be shown on the infield big screen.


 When you see a large field with a favorite installed at 7-2 on the morning line, this is usually an indicator of a good betting race. Said rule of thumb rings true in Race 8 on Saturday at Golden Gate, a second level allowance for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf. The gold medal is up for grabs; all 10 entrants appear in with a shot.

Morning line favorite Buyback is arguably the class of the race. She was last seen in the Golden Poppy Stakes and finished best out of a trio of runners in Saturday’s feature that exit the Golden Poppy. That day, Buyback set a contested pace, faded in the late stages, and placed fourth-a length and three-quarters behind race winner Rose Maddox and two other Southern California shippers. Trained by Blaine Wright, Buyback is expected go to the front again. Wright also sends out La Reine’s Legacy, who makes her second start of the year after a poor showing on April 30.

Jockey Evin Roman rode Buyback in the Golden Poppy but opts to stick with Trojan Clubhouse, who sports a 9 for 16 lifetime record entering Saturday’s signature race of the day. The Reid France trainee won at this level last time out, stalking the pace in fourth before passing the front runners down the lane for a determined head victory on April 30. Trojan Clubhouse, who usually is on the lead or pressing a pacesetter, showed for the first time on April 30 the ability to rate in fourth before passing runners down the stretch. With that, the daughter of Clubhouse Ride is as versatile as she’s ever been.

Along with Buyback, two other runners in Race 8 on Saturday exit the Golden Poppy. Golden Gate first level allowance winner Ascendancy finished two and a half lengths behind Rose Maddox at the finish in the Golden Poppy. She suffered a wide journey on both turns and hopes to get a more favorable trip under new jockey Alexander Chavez. Earlier this year, Ascendancy finished fifth in the Grade 3 Santa Ana in Southern California. Stakes placed Clockstrikestwelve failed to fire in the Golden Poppy and seeks to rebound. The last time she competed at a second level allowance condition, she made a last to first move into a slow pace and overhauled the field in the final furlong.

Trainer Steve Sherman sends out a duo of 6-year-old mares. Undisturbed draws the rail and exits a fourth-place finish on this turf course last month. Stable companion Rev Ree is a blue-collar racer who enters Saturday’s eighth race fresh off a runner up finish, only beaten a head, to Trojan Clubhouse. Like Sherman, trainer Manny Badilla also enters a duo: longshot Madeira Wine and Topanticipation, who makes her second start off a layoff. Topanticipation was fifth home in her United States debut on April 39, finishing three lengths behind Trojan Clubhouse that day.

Twilight Empire rounds out the field. The California-bred has strung together back-to-back first level allowance wins and takes the next logical bump up in class to the second level allowance condition. Veteran Cliff DeLima trains the 6-year-old by Empire Way, who makes her first lifetime start on turf.

A 9-race card on Saturday at Golden Gate kicks off at 1:45 PM.

Race 8 (Second level allowance for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at one mile on turf)

#1 Undisturbed (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…Trainer Steve Sherman…Morning line odds 8-1)

#2 Rev Ree (Armando Ayuso…Steve Sherman…5-1)

#3 Madeira Wine (Santos Rivera…Manny Badilla…20-1)

#4 Topanticipation (Frank Alvarado…Manny Badilla …6-1)

#5 Clockstrikestwelve (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong…8-1)

#6 La Reine’s Legacy (Hugo Herrera…Blaine Wright…15-1)

#7 Trojan Clubhouse (Evin Roman…Reid France…9-2)

#8 Twilight Empire (Francisco Duran…Cliff DeLima…20-1)

#9 Buyback (Assael Espinoza…Blaine Wright…7-2)

#10 Ascendancy (Alexander Chavez…O.J. Jauregui…4-1)


Below is a list of claims from last week: 


Race 4: Obvious (New trainer Jesus Ramos…new owner Van L. Valenzuela Castaneda)

Race 4: Tee Shot (Reid France…France and Kendal King)

Race 5: Stateforest (Jack Steiner…Lamonte Isom)

Race 6: Barbera (Jack Steiner…Gary and Deborah Lusk)


Race 2: Coolcross (Jonathan Wong…Madden Racing)


Race 4: Lasmuigh (Victor Trujillo…Kenneth Seastrom and Trujillo)

FINISH LINES: 2-year-old filly Grand Slam Smile won Race 3 on Sunday at four and one-half furlongs: the first “baby race” of 2023. She earned a 54 Beyer speed figure for her four-length victory. Grand Slam Smile is a Larry and Marianne Williams homebred by Smiling Tiger out of the Grand Slam mare Royal Grand Slam, making her a sibling to stakes winners Royal ‘n Rando and Luck’s Royal Flush, and stakes placed Late ‘n Left. Frank Alvarado guided the chestnut filly to victory for trainer Steve Specht…Trainer Blaine Wright won four races on Sunday at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington and is now 11 wins shy of 1,000 lifetime victories…$55,151 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager on Friday…9 races are on the docket for Sunday at Golden Gate. We have an early first post on Sunday of 12:45 PM. The feature race of the day is a first level allowance at one mile for 3-year-old fillies.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Friday, May 12, 2023


We take the time travel machine back to October 7, 2022. On this late fall afternoon, the Bill McLean trained Kingmeister was sent off at astronomical odds of 61-1 in an eight-horse starter allowance field at Santa Anita. McLean watched the race from his home in the Bay Area.

It’s a good thing that Kingmeister doesn’t read the tote board before his races. Very much against his high odds set that day, Kingmeister stalked the pace, battled for the win down the lane and surged in the final stages for a nose, upset victory.

Following a poor effort against first level allowance company in November, Kingmeister was given time off. He returned to the races on April 8, stalked a lone leader, and wound up third in a race run over the Tapeta main track. McLean was pleased with the effort.

“I don’t train as hard as a lot of people train. I think that last race will help his fitness level,” said McLean.

6-year-old gelding Kingmeister has posted two quick workouts leading up to Friday’s seventh race, a second level allowance at one mile and a sixteenth on turf. He makes his second start off the break for the McLean barn while returning to turf, the surface he won over at Santa Anita.

“He always trains well. He can run well on either surface. Tapeta or turf…he’s good on both,” said McLean. “We tried to get him in a race for $40,000 and the race didn’t fill. So, here we are. There’s a couple horses with speed in the race [on Friday]. Hopefully he lays third and fourth and gets a good trip. This is a tougher race, so we’ll see if he fits.”

Kingmeister will need to bring his A+ game to take another winner’s circle photo on Friday. Seattle Bold, who beat Kingmeister on April 8 in his first start off a $32,000 claim by trainer Steve Sherman, gets back over the turf course where he won a pair of first level allowance races last year and placed second in the 2021 Alcatraz Stakes. He figures to get plenty of attention in the wagering.

Kennebec draws the rail and also appears as a major player. The son of Lookin At Lucky sat off a slow pace and came charging up to the rail for a half-length defeat at the hands of stakes winner Jimmy Blue Jeans three weeks ago. He makes his third start off a 13-month vacation for trainer Jonathan Wong. Harmon, who ran third to Jimmy Blue Jeans and Kennebec at this level, is also entered in this Friday’s feature.

Like Kennebec, Executive Chef races for the third time in his current form cycle. The Blaine Wright trainee last routed in the Muckleshoot Derby at Emerald Downs as a 3-year-old over the summer and finished fourth. Although he won the Auburn Stakes at Emerald sprinting, Executive Chef broke his maiden routing at Golden Gate, indicating that putting up a winning performance at a route distance is certainly not out of the question. The same can be said for Unraptured, who won a first level allowance as a 3-year-old going two turns. In his last two starts, both sprinting, he finished behind 4-time stakes winner Top Harbor.

America Great completes the field. America Great has already won a trio of first level allowances this year and makes his second start off a claim by trainer Monty Meier. In his first start for his current connections last month, America Great faded to fifth after pressing a fast pace.

Eight races are on the Friday program. First post is 1:15 PM.

Race 7 (Second level allowance for 3-years-old and up at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)

#1 Kennebec (Jockey Brayan Pena…Trainer Jonathan Wong morning line odds of 3-1)

#2 America Great (Assael Espinoza…Monty Meier…4-1)

#3 Seattle Bold (Evin Roman…Steve Sherman…2-1)

#4 Harmon (Hugo Herrera…Monty Meier…8-1)

#5 Executive Chef (William Antongeorgi III…Blaine Wright…10-1)

#6 Kingmeister (Santos Rivera…Bill McLean…8-1)

#7 Unraptured (Armando Ayuso…Tim McCanna…6-1)


4-year-old filly Zazen hasn’t done much wrong this year. In her first start of 2023, she got slammed sideways coming out of the gate, sat farther off the speed than she anticipated to be, yet rallied to finish two and a half lengths behind race winner Always Seeking, one of the top sprinters in Northern California. Since that effort, Zazen has wracked off back-to-back wins, including in her most recent start at the first level allowance condition. The Dan Markle trainee earned a career high 81 Beyer speed figure for the victory.

“I think some of [her good form] has something to do with the Tapeta,” said Markle. “When she’s running from off the pace, she doesn’t get that kickback like on a sandy track. She likes this track and trains really well over it.”

Zazen, according to Markle, is showing signs of readiness leading up to her next afternoon appearance this Saturday in Race 8, a first level allowance for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at six furlongs on the Tapeta. Zazen draws post position two and will be ridden by William Antongeorgi III for the first time. The daughter of Grazen has worked four times since her last start. One workout, the fastest half mile of 52 workers at said distance on the morning of April 29, catches the eye.

“You smooch at her and she’ll go,” said Markle. “She can be a little aggressive, so we take her out later in the morning to be clear of the traffic.  Going 48 [seconds for a half mile] is easy for her. There doesn’t look like a ton of speed in the race [on Saturday], so she won’t have too much ground to make up. She can sit closer if the pace is slow or come from off if it if the pace is fast. I’m excited to see her run.”

Her main competition may be the rival breaking directly to her outside. Candy’s Clone, a lightly raced 5-year-old mare trained by Steve Specht, is another who exits a pair of wins. In her last start on April 21, she drew away for a three and three-quarter length victory while earning a lifetime best 82 Beyer. Both first place finishes came at starter allowance conditions. She takes the next logical step up in class to the first level allowance condition on Saturday.

Miss Union makes her second start off a four-and-a-half-month break. In her first start of the year on April 21, she stalked the pace, took the lead in midstretch, and got caught late by race winner Mischievous Curlin. Trainer Isidro Tamayo conditions; Tamayo wins at a strong 27%-win rate with his trainees making their second starts off a break between 45 and 180 days.

The Larry and Marianne Williams homebreds Lady’s Sermon and Tamantari are also entered. Lady’s Sermon is knocking on the door for a win at this condition, having hit the board in five different races at this level in the fall and early winter. Tamantari was an unlucky loser on April 21, taking up late in the race while only finishing three-quarters of a length behind the winner. Steve Specht trains Lady’s Sermon while Jeff Bonde manages Tamantari.

Henny’s Crazy Train made her first start in Northern California for trainer Tim McCanna and owner Alan Mindell on April 2 and beat a strong bunch of $32,000 claimers. She seeks to build off that in her second career start over the Golden Gate Tapeta. Dulce Emma, fourth at 45-1 behind Miss Union and Tamantari on April 21, completes the field.

Saturday’s nine-race card features three allowance races and a full field of maiden special weight sprinters to end the day (Race 9). First post is 1:15 PM.

Race 8 (First level allowance for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at six furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Miss Union (Jockey Alexander Chavez…Trainer Isidro Tamayo…morning line odds of 6-1)

#2 Zazen (William Antongeorgi III…Dan Markle…4-1)

#3 Candy’s Clone (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht…2-1)

#4 Lady’s Sermon (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht…5-1)

#5 Tamantari (Assael Espinoza…Jeff Bonde…6-1)

#6 Henny’s Crazy Train (Armando Ayuso…Tim McCanna…5-1)

#7 Dulce Emma (Alejandro Gomez…Jesus Ramos…12-1)


Race 7 on Sunday at Golden Gate attracted 13 fillies and mares to compete in the event: a first level allowance at one mile on the turf. The maximum number of starters that can make the starting gate is 12, meaning one filly is on the also eligible list hoping to draw in with a late defection by Sunday morning.

If Ladywearsthething were to draw into the race from the also eligible list, she would be an intriguing player. In 2022, she finished three-quarters of a length behind the winner in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes on turf and was then purchased for $450,000 by owner Thomas Bachman of Fairview LLC at the Keeneland November sale of last year. She was eased in her first start for her new connections-in a dirt sprint at Santa Anita on March 26-but she has performed significantly better on turf and posts very quick morning works leading up to her Golden Gate debut.

Even if Ladywearsthering were to have to wait for another day, there are still plenty of interesting handicapping angles and storylines. Warrior’s Moon was a non-factor in a California-bred allowance race at Santa Anita and makes her first start for the Andy Mathis barn at Golden Gate. Southern California jockey Emily Ellingwood makes the trip north to ride. Rivendell is another Southern California invader who finds class relief for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale.

On the local front, Derrygoolin makes her 2023 debut in Sunday’s seventh race. Last year, the Isidro Tamayo trainee ran three bang up races at this level while routing on turf. One of those efforts ended in victory while the other two resulted in close runner up finishes behind mares who have since gone on to win second level allowance races. Agreetodisagree, on the contrary, has run two poor races at this level since moving to Northern California. Both efforts were on the Tapeta, however, and she returns to turf. Her best efforts in Southern California all came over the grass, and a rebound back to her top grass form is fast enough to be a major threat on Sunday. Naughty Nadine is knocking on the door for a win at this condition after several in the money finishes at this condition, Jacrodra’s Devil boasts career best form since employing front running tactics a couple starts ago, and A Crown for Kitten enters Sunday’s seventh race fresh off a gutsy starter allowance win. She must overcome the undesirable far outside post position (12).

A strong 8-race program ends the racing week on Sunday. First post is 1:15 PM. Both legs of the Golden Hour Late Pick 4 are strong events: Race 7 (Leg 2) is mentioned above while the nightcap, Race 8 (Leg 4), is a first level allowance for sprinters at 6 furlongs. The one to beat is Awesome Summer, who won at the first level condition last time out off a 32-month layoff for trainer Jose Bautista and owners/breeders William and Judy Hedrick. Awesome Summer draws the outside post in a field of 7 others on Sunday.

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

#1 Agreetodisagree (Jockey Evin Roman…Trainer Andy Mathis)

#2 Pacific Zip (Alejandro Gomez…Ellen Jackson)

#3 Seems Logical (Santos Rivera…Sheldon Paldanius)

#4 Jacrodra’s Devil (Francisco Duran…Tim McCanna)

#5 Warrior’s Moon (Emily Ellingwood…Andy Mathis)

#6 Shanghai Mist (Alexander Chavez…Faith Taylor)

#7 Naughty Nadine (Assael Espinoza…Manny Badilla)

#8 Rivendell (Catalino Martinez…Neil Drysdale)

#9 Shezarunaway (Frank Alvarado…Dan Markle)

#10 Derrygoolin (William Antongeorgi III…Isidro Tamayo)

#11 Bandeena (Pedro Flores…Ed Moger Jr.)

#12 A Crown for Kitten (Armando Ayuso…Steve Sherman)


#13 Ladywearsthering (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht)


Below is a list of claims from last week


Race 2: Noble Hearted (New trainer D. Wayne Baker…new owner Richard Barton) 


Race 2: Lookin for Revenge (D. Wayne Baker…Madera Thoroughbreds Racing LLC and Baker)

Race 7: Grit and Curiosity (Victor Trujillo…Jose Parades and Trujillo) 


Race 2: Moonshine Cat (Owner/Trainer Selwyn LaGrone)

Race 5: Livermore Heat (Jonathan Wong…Taboada Racing Stables LLC) 


Race 1: Fly Wicked Eagle (Ed Moger Jr…Moger Inc.)

Race 2: Snip (D. Wayne Baker…Richard Barton)

Race 6: Crystal Proof (Ruby Thomas…Donald Jacklin and Dave Wood)

Race 6: My Legal Bet (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables and Clay Sides)

Race 8: Brookys Tapit (Owner/Trainer Jorge Maravilla)

Race 8: Dick Best (Ruby Thomas…William Heck)

Race 8: Walking Boss (Gary Greiner…Ernie Meza)

FINISH LINES: The Golden Pick Six jackpot pool has increased to $39,533 heading into Friday’s eight race card…There is also a Super High Five carryover into Friday’s seventh race of $6,342…El Camino Real Derby winner Chase the Chaos is confirmed to ship to Pimlico Racecourse for next Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. More to follow in next week’s News and Notes…The first Northern California 2-year-old race of 2023 is this Sunday’s third race. An oversubscribed field of 10 fillies, colts, and geldings entered the race. Eight are in the main body of the field while two others are on the also eligible list and will draw into the race if one or two defections/scratches occur. Among entered: The Smiling Tiger fillies Blevys Tiger (trained by Manny Badilla) and Grand Slam Smile (Steve Specht), the Mike Lenzini trained pair of Dad’s Dream and Lucca’s Legacy, and the Sammy Calvario trained duo of Clear the Coast and Drum Bunny.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, May 3, 2023


On Kentucky Derby week, Golden Gate Fields offers Thursday through Sunday racing. The special Thursday program is comprised of seven races.

The Thursday card was originally scheduled as an “all turf” program. After off-and-on rainfall on Tuesday evening and parts of Wednesday, racing officials made the decision Wednesday morning to move the Thursday races to the Tapeta.

Five of the seven races on Thursday are at the one-mile distance. The other two are five-furlong sprints. The first race, a maiden event for sprinters, attracts first time starters Roy Hobbs and Jersey Babe. Roy Hobbs, a Nick Alexander homebred trained by Steve Miyadi, is a full sibling to last weekend’s Golden Poppy Stakes winner Rose Maddox. The Tim McCanna trained Jersey Babe is out of a multiple turf route winner who has produced five winning siblings to Jersey Babe. The morning line favorite in the race, Kerry Gold, is knocking on the door for a win after two narrow defeats.

Race 2 begins the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager. Heading into Thursday, the Golden Pick Six jackpot carryover is $24,385. Expected favorite and class dropper Noble Hearted ships in from Santa Anita and makes her first start for local trainer Miguel Ramirez in the second race. The start of the Late Pick 5 is Race 3, a maiden claiming sprint. First time starter Autism Shine is the 8-5 morning line favorite for trainer Jonathan Wong. 5-year-old Sensational City makes her debut for the Steve Miyadi barn and is another newcomer who could also garnish support in the wagering. Cry Me A Runner comes off a third-place finish at this level behind next out winner Big Strike and may be the strongest contender out of any runner that has racing experience.

The first leg of the Late Pick 4, Race 4, appears as a wide-open heat and features class droppers Shut Up Michael and Roaring Tiger and recent winners Mesa Empire and Vanisky. The last three races on the card have 7.6 horses per race-all which are also extremely contentious events.

First post on Thursday is 1:15 PM.


Per the Daily Racing Form’s Steve Anderson, plans for next possible starts for California Derby winner Prince Abu Dhabi and Grade 3 San Francisco Mile victor Balnikhov are already under discussion.

According to Anderson, Prince Abu Dhabi, who kept his unbeaten win record intact with a last to first victory in the $100,000 California Derby last Saturday, is possible for the $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes for 3-year-olds at one-mile over turf on Sunday, May 28 at Golden Gate. If Prince Abu Dhabi were to race in the Alcatraz and take to the turf, then the possibility to try his hand on grass at Del Mar in a race like the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap could be an option down the road. Prince Abu Dhabi, a Kentucky-bred by Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice out of the Irish-bred High Chaparral mare American Girl, was purchased for $8,000 as a yearling by owners Lance and Steve Kinross and has earned $115,200 in four starts.

In the meantime, Grade 3 San Francisco Mile gold medalist Balnikhov is back at home at Santa Anita where trainer Phil D’Amato and owners Little Red Feather Racing, Old Bones Racing, and Madaket Stables are still finalizing plans for Balnikhov’s next start. According to Anderson, D’Amato noted that Balnikhov could race out of his own stall in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 29 or ship east to Belmont Park to compete in the Grade 3 Poker Stakes on Saturday, June 10.

To read Steve Anderson’s article on Prince Abu Dhabi:

To read Steve’s article on Balnikhov:


This Saturday, May 6 is an afternoon that racing fans around the world eagerly await. Now, it’s just a couple sleeps away.

Of course, the main event around the world is the Kentucky Derby, run on the First Saturday in May every year. Along with the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky has a plethora of stakes races on a 14-race marathon card that begins at 7:30 AM Pacific Time. Race 12 of 14 is the 2023 $3,000,000 Kentucky Derby at 10 furlongs (one mile and a quarter). Post time is set at 6:57 PM ET/3:57 PM PT.

Fans who attend the races at Golden Gate Fields will be treated with a festive atmosphere and nine live races. First post at Golden Gate is 2 PM. Gates open for simulcast wagering of Churchill Downs and other tracks around the country at 8 AM.

Three allowance races at Golden Gate-Races 6, 7, and 9-are the co-featured trio of races on the nine-race program. Race 6, a five-and-one-half-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds, consists of a half dozen up and coming sophomores.

Recent allowance winner Idaho Once was bred in California, meaning he is eligible to win at this first level allowance condition twice. Last time out, we saw the Victor Trujillo trainee duel on the lead before shaking clear of his competition, winning the six-furlong event by a length and three-quarters. Idaho Once has finished either first or second in his last four starts.

First out maiden winners St. Paddy’s Charm and Welton add depth to the field. St. Paddy’s Charm, trained by Dan Markle, sat last off a quick pace on April 15 and rallied strongly between horses down the stretch, defeating ten other rivals at the finish. The Kentucky-bred by Preakness winner Cloud Computing out of the Sligo Bay mare Bide a Wee Island is a half sibling to Grade 3 winner Island Commish. Welton, conditioned by Jonathan Wong, sat off the speed and finishing well for a narrow win on March 4. He freshens up two months and boasts a steady series of morning works since earning the maiden diploma. A Kentucky bred by Creative Cause out of the undefeated Lemon Drop kid mare Iadorakid, Welton is a half sibling to a 3-time winner.

Southern California shipper Mila’s Papa was a gritty state-bred maiden special weight winner at Santa Anita in January for trainer Adam Kitchingman but failed to hit the board in his next start routing on the turf. He makes his first afternoon appearance in three months while trying Tapeta for the first time. If Nauvoo runs, he’ll be wheeling back in six days after an off the board finish in the California Derby. That said, all of his best work has come routing. Strength of Autism, coming off a runner up finish against state-bred claimers, bumps up in class and rounds out the field.

The seventh and ninth races on the card were split into two divisions after 15 horses made the entry box for the race. Both first level allowance divisions are scheduled at one mile on the turf.

In Race 7, the one to beat is arguably One Fast Bro, a California-bred who won at this condition three weeks ago on April 15. The Quinn Howey trainee earned an 83 Beyer speed figure in his three most recent starts. Other main contenders are Supermazel, who finished a length behind One Fast Bro on April 15, recent starter allowance winner Caisson, and Sea of Liberty, who earned a strong Beyer speed figure (85) when defeating five others at this level in September. He makes his first start in seven and a half months for trainer Jamey Thomas. Seven equines comprise the seventh race field.

The nightcap on Saturday (Race 9) attracts eight horses. Conundrum was the runner up behind One Fast Bro on April 15 and should be supported in the wagering, especially if One Fast Bro were to run well in Race 7. Enos Slaughter was in the photo for second with Conundrum on April 15 and has shown an affinity for turf in four lifetime starts over the surface. Tribal Nation is a main track only entrant, meaning he would run only if Saturday’s ninth race was moved from the turf to the main track Tapeta. If that becomes the case, the speedy Tribal Nation would be the one to catch on the lead.

Race 6: First level allowance (for 3-year-olds at five and one-half furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Strength of Autism (Jockey Alexander Chavez…Trainer Isidro Tamayo)

#2 Mila’s Papa (Assael Espinoza…Adam Kitchingman)

#3 Welton (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong)

#4 Nauvoo (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong)

#5 Idaho Once (Santos Rivera…Victor Trujillo)

#6 St. Paddy’s Charm (Frank Alvarado…Dan Markle)


Race 7: First level allowance (For 3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf)

#1 One Fast Bro (Jockey Armando Ayuso…Trainer Quinn Howey)

#2 Caisson (Assael Espinoza…Manny Ortiz Sr.)

#3 Supermazel (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman)

#4 House of Lords (Alexander Chavez…Isidro Tamayo)

#5 Chief Wild Eagle (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna)

#6 Bandera Azteca (Brayan Pena…Isidro Tamayo)

#7 Sea of Liberty (Hugo Herrera…Jamey Thomas)


Race 9: First level allowance (For 3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf)

#1 Gallant Warren (Jockey Francisco Monroy…Trainer Tim Bellasis)

#2 Table for Two (Santos Rivera…Victor Trujillo)

#3 Runkerry (Hugo Herrera…Gloria Haley)

#4 Anitanewmercedes (Evin Roman…Isidro Tamayo)

#5 Conundrum (Alexander Chavez…Mike Lenzini)

#6 Tribal Nation (Main Track Only) (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis)

#7 Secret Club (Alejandro Gomez…Ed Moger Jr)

#8 Enos Slaughter (Cristobal Herrera…Marcelino Trujillo)



Race 3: Remember Sue (New trainer Jack Steiner…new owner Melvin Simonovich)

Race 9: Thanks Maggio (Jonathan Wong…Taboada Racing Stables LLC)


Race 3: Stoic Luna (O.J Jauregui…Danny Eplin)


Race 4: Tiger Queen (Isidro Tamayo…Taboada Racing Stables LLC)

Race 6: Phantom Drop (Gary Greiner…Ernie Meza)

Race 6: Stretch Run (Owner/Trainer Jorge Maravilla)

Race 10: Idiot’s Gold (Blaine Wright…Chappell Alpine Farms LLC)

FINISH LINES: With five more weeks to go at the current Winter/Spring meet, jockey Assael Espinoza has the most wins out of any rider with 63 trips to the winner’s circle. Armando Ayuso is second with 56 wins while Evin Roman rounds out the top three with 46…In the trainer standings, Jonathan Wong leads the way with 45 wins, seven more than Isidro Tamayo. Steve Sherman and Jack Steiner are tied for third with 22 wins apiece…Jockey Irving Orozco is home and in good spirits following a fall last Saturday. We look forward to seeing Irving in the winner’s circle again soon…Congratulations to owner/breeder Nick Alexander, who won three of the eight stakes races on Gold Rush Weekend. His Alice Marble won the Camilla Urso Stakes for filly and mare turf sprinters on Saturday while Rose Maddox was victorious in the Golden Poppy Stakes for filly and mare turf routers. On Sunday, 3-year-old filly Carole Lombard beat state-bred fillies in the one-mile Campanile Stakes. All three Alexander homebreds are by Alexander’s stallion Grazen. Alice Marble and Carole Lombard are trained by Phil D’AmatoSteve Miyadi, who conditions Rose Maddox, picked up his 1,800th career win with the Golden Poppy victory…In other stakes news, local Top Harbor won the Lost in the Fog Stakes for sprinters and added a fourth lifetime stakes victory to his resume with the first place finish…The Michael McCarthy trained Lily Poo was a decisive winner of the California Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on Tapeta to kick off the stakes action on Gold Rush Weekend Saturday…Hacking It Up was a half-length victor in the last stake event of the weekend on Sunday, the Silky Sullivan Stakes for California-bred or sired 3-year-olds at one mile on turf…The first race on Gold Rush Weekend Saturday resulted in a dead heat between Chicago Soldier and Naughty Niko, both shipping in from Southern California…Also on Saturday, Southern California based jockey Umberto Rispoli won four races: the second race with She’s Resilient, the California Oaks atop Lily Poo, the Camilla Urso aboard Alice Marble and the San Francisco Mile alongside Balnkihov…A friendly second reminder: live racing is offered on a Thursday through Sunday basis this week. First post on Thursday is 1:15 PM, racing on Friday begins at 1:45 PM, and the Kentucky Derby Day program at Golden Gate this Saturday kicks off at 2 PM. First post on Sunday will be announced on Thursday afternoon when entries are taken…PLEASE NOTE: gates open for simulcasting wagering on Friday, May 4 (Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs) at 9 AM. Gates open for simulcast wagering on Saturday, May 5 (Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs) at 8 AM.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Friday, April 28, 2023…Gold Rush 2023 Edition


Golden Gate Fields will offer guaranteed pools in the Late Pick 5 and Late Pick 4 wagers throughout the racing week of Friday, April 28 through Sunday, April 30. The Late Pick 5 consists of the last five races on each card while the Late Pick 4 is comprised of the last four races on the card. Both wagers are 50-cent minimum plays.

On Gold Rush Weekend Saturday, April 29, the Late Pick 5 sequence will have a guaranteed pool of $150,000. The Late Pick 4 pool on Saturday is guaranteed at $200,000. A half dozen stakes races highlight the Saturday program, including the $250,000 Grade 3 San Francisco Mile and the $100,000 California Derby.

On Friday, April 28, the Late Pick 4 and Late Pick 5 pools will have a guaranteed pool of $100,000. On Sunday, the Late Pick 5 pool is guaranteed at $150,000 while the Late Pick 4 pool will be guaranteed at $100,000. Two stakes races, the Silky Sullivan and Campanile for California-breds on turf, are the co-featured events on Gold Rush Weekend Sunday.


5-year-old Tesoro and 4-year-old Il Bellator have shown plenty of class in their racing careers. That said, it will be no easy task for either horse to win Saturday’s Grade 3 $250,000 San Francisco Mile, especially given both  enter the event through an unconventional route: training up to the race off a layoff. Tesoro hasn’t competed since the fall while Il Bellator was last seen in The Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar in September.

Tesoro’s most recent trip to the winners circle came one year ago on Gold Rush Weekend 2022, beating a second level allowance field on the same grass course he’ll be racing over in the 2023 ‘Mile. Trainer O.J Jauregui noted that Tesoro, along with the ‘Mile being his first start of the year, would also be making his first start as a newly turned gelding.

“He has a mind of his own,” said Jauregui. “There have been a few races where he gets in a position [during a race] that maybe he doesn’t like, and he just sort of gives up. He’s training well right now. I’m really happy with how he’s doing. I’ve noticed a difference [in the way he trains] and I think making the ‘equipment’ change has helped him. I think we might see a more focused Tesoro. He’s got the ability. He just needs to put it together.”

Il Bellator, like Tesoro, last won on Gold Rush Weekend 2022, though he scored against other 3-year-olds in the California Derby that day. Il Bellator sports a trio of stamina building workouts, including two 7-furlong drills and a bullet six-furlong work.

“This is Plan B for us,” said trainer Jose Bautista. “We tried to get him in another race, and it didn’t fill. This is the only spot to run him. The good thing is he’s training great. I gave him some time off because he had lost weight and he needed some time to regain that weight and freshen up. It did him a lot of good. He came back to the track looking like a new horse. He’s been training really, really good. I’ve tried to get him as fit as I can off works. He worked out of the gate and galloped out a mile in [1 minute and] 39 [seconds] the other morning. It was a super nice work.”

Tesoro and Il Bellator better have their running shoes on. This year’s edition of the San Francisco Mile came up tough. In search of his first San Francisco Mile win, trainer Phil D’Amato campaigns a legit contender in 4-year-old gelding Balnikhov, who was last seen finishing off the board in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March. As a 3-year-old in 2022, Balnikhov won the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar and the Grade 3 Bryan Station at Keeneland. He makes his second start of the year in the San Francisco Mile with Southern California based pilot Umberto Rispoli set to ride.

A second Southern California conditioner, George Papaprodromou, ships two horses for the 2023 ‘Mile. 7-year-old gelding Bob and Jackie is an old pro who finished third in the Grade 3 American at Santa Anita earlier this month. His most significant win to date came in the 2021 9-furlong Grade 2 San Gabriel. Stablemate Flavius, in the meantime, makes his first start off a year vacation. A multiple minor stakes winner, the War Front ridgling was last seen finishing off the board in the 2022 Frank Kilroe Mile. Jose Valdivia Jr. hops aboard Bob and Jackie while locally based rider Evin Roman is set to navigate Flavius.

The Leonard Powell trained Dicey Mo Chara came up a length short in the Grade 2 Charlie Whittingham on Santa Anita Derby Day and cuts back a quarter mile for this eight-furlong event. His last victory came three starts ago in the Grade 2 San Gabriel in December. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke has the call aboard the 5-year-old European bred gelding.

The speedy Lamplighter Jack was a decisive winner of a starter allowance race last month at Santa Anita and takes a significant step up in class to face graded stakes competitors. He has set the pace in most of his races and is expected to be close to the lead again. Abel Cedillo picks up the mount for trainer Librado Barocio.

The Ed Moger Jr. conditioned Tarantino is multiple Grade 3 placed on dual surfaces and most recently finished as the runner up in a second level allowance at Santa Anita in March. Completing the field is Rio King, a runaway winner of a first level allowance at Golden Gate who takes a major class hike in the San Francisco Mile.

The San Francisco Mile is one of six stake races on the Gold Rush Weekend Saturday, April 29 program. First post on a terrific 12-race card is 1:15 PM PT.

Race 11: The Grade 3, $250,000 San Francisco Mile (For 3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf)

#1 Tarantino (Jockey Armando Ayuso…Trainer Ed Moger Jr…Morning line odds of 12-1)

#2 Balnikhov (Umberto Rispoli…Phil D’Amato…9-5)

#3 Rio King (Santos Rivera…Sammy Calvario…12-1)

#4 Bob and Jackie (Jose Valdivia Jr…George Papaprodromou…6-1)

#5 Tesoro (Frank Alvarado…O.J. Jauregui…15-1)

#6 Lamplighter Jack (Abel Cedillo…Librado Barocio…81)

#7 Il Bellator (Alejandro Gomez…Jose Bautista…15-1)

#8 Flavius (Evin Roman…George Papaprodromou…5-1)

#9 Dicey Mo Chara (Drayden Van Dyke…Leonard Powell…3-1) 


4-year-old filly Always Seeking is a win machine. The Larry and Marianne Williams homebred has wracked off five consecutive victories since December and makes her stakes debut on Saturday in the $75,000 Camilla Urso Stakes. The Camilla Urso is a five-furlong turf dash for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

“We’re going to go ahead and run in the stake,” said trainer Jack Steiner. “She worked an easy half mile the other morning. We scoped her and she came out of her work great.”

Steiner noted that Always Seeking has given signals that she is chomping at the bit to compete in a race.

“She’s a real sweetheart around the barn,” said Steiner. “The day before her work, she was squealing and bopping her head around. When she does that, that just means she’s telling us she’s feeling good and ready to run. She’s ready to get back out there.”

Always Seeking, along with facing stakes company for the first time, will also be making her career debut on turf. Steiner doesn’t believe the surface switch will be an issue.

“Her dam [Heat Striker] ran in one race …it was a turf sprint, and she won,” said Steiner. “She’s a real honest filly. I don’t see why she won’t like it.”

Other locals set to tackle Always Seeking are Chancery Way, winner of the Bear Fan Stakes in December, and Carolina Mia, who placed second in last year’s Albany Stakes against males.  Chancery Way, like Always Seeking, has never raced on turf but is bred to enjoy it. By Mr. Big, whose progeny fare well on grass, Chancery Way is out of the War Chant mare This Means War. Carolina Mia, on the other hand, has put up most of her best efforts while sprinting five furlongs on the lawn.

“She is training out of her mind,” said Chancery Way’s trainer, Jamey Thomas. “She’s doing better than she ever has right now, honestly. She’s training like she’s going to run really well.”

The class of the race is undoubtedly Alice Marble, a Grade 2 placed Phil D’Amato trainee who recently won back-to-back California-bred turf sprint stakes at Santa Anita. The Nick Alexander homebred by Grazen has earned $470,880 from 15 starts, with 7 career wins and 5 other in-the-money finishes. Umberto Rispoli rides. Another Southern California shipper, Xmas Surprise, was a convincing second level allowance winner last month and defeated runner up finisher Secrets Told, who is also entered in the Camilla Urso. Leonard Powell trains Xmas Surprise and employs local rider Assael Espinoza to ride; they teamed up together to win last year’s Golden Poppy with Avenue de France. Secrets Told will be ridden by Drayden Van Dyke. Secrets Told, a 5-year-old mare by Broken Vow, has been training with John Sadler at Santa Anita and will be under the care of local trainer Andy Mathis for this race.

Two additional home team players round out the field. Slack Tide was a multiple stakes winner last year at Emerald Downs, was given the fall off, and failed to fire in her first start off a layoff about a month ago. Lexington Humor broke her maiden like a good thing in her first career start at Golden Gate, won a first level allowance at Del Mar over the summer, but has lost her last two starts against second level allowance sprinters at Turf Paradise. She returns to the site of her eye-popping maiden win.

Race 7: The $75,000 Camilla Urso (For fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf)

#1 Always Seeking (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…Trainer Jack Steiner…morning line odds 4-1)

#2 Slack Tide (Irving Orozco…Blaine Wright…20-1)

#3 Carolina Mia (Armando Ayuso…Felix Rondan…12-1)

#4 Alice Marble (Umberto Rispoli…Phil D’Amato…8-5)

#5 Lexington Humor (Brayan Pena…O.J. Jauregui…15-1)

#6 Secrets Told (Drayden Van Dyke…Andy Mathis…8-1)

#7 Chancery Way (Evin Roman…Jamey Thomas…8-1)

#8 Xmas Surprise (Assael Espinoza…Leonard Powell…5-2)


Horse racing is a peculiar game. Unlike most sports where ownership groups will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to win the most significant events, people from all walks of life can own a stakes champion. Some horses are purchased for a 7-figure amount and will never see the racetrack. Others will at least get to the races but fail to win a single race. On the contrary, horses purchased for as little as $1,000 turn out to be multiple stakes winners. Some have even won Grade I races.

Regardless of breeding, purchase price, or physical confirmation, the dream to own a stakes horse is always alive.

Looking back at Prince Abu Dhabi, purchased for $8,000 as a yearling by owners Lance and Steve Kinross, he ended up being quite the bargain. A Kentucky bred son of Palace Malice, the Blaine Wright trainee has won three consecutive races to kick off his career. After two sprint wins, Prince Abu Dhabi competed at a two-turn distance for the first time on March 31 and narrowly edged out Mother’s Prayer, a much more seasoned racer expected to be a major player in the Silky Sullivan Stakes against state-breds on Sunday.

Prince Abu Dhabi, a $55,200 earner with a perfect win record, makes his stakes debut in the $100,000 California Derby for 3-year-olds at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta this Saturday. Not bad for an $8,000 purchase, right?

“In his first race he was so professional,” said Wright. “We’ve always liked him, and I wasn’t surprised he won [first out]. In his next two races, he was green, but he did what he needed to do to win. He’s got talent for sure, but he’s going to have to improve to win on Saturday. He worked well the other morning and he’s doing good. I’m pleased with how he’s coming into the race.”

Prince Abu Dhabi faces 8 others, including Chase the Chaos, winner of the El Camino Real Derby in February. He has started once since then, in the Grade 2 San Felipe at Santa Anita, where he finished off the board. He returns to a track he enjoys, the Tapeta, and faces easier company in the California Derby for trainer Ed Moger Jr.

The Steve Sherman trained Harcyn finished third in the El Camino Real Derby in February and was third home behind Prince Abu Dhabi in the March 31 allowance. The dark bay colt is well bred, by Goldencents out of a half sibling to G1 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and G1 winner Tiago. He’ll be wearing blinkers for the first time in the California Derby and retains the services of regular rider William Antongeorgi III.

Passarando won the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate and the Golden State Juvenile at Santa Anita last year, and finished fourth in his most recent start, the El Camino Real Derby in February. Passarando posted a one-mile workout on the morning of April 15 as a stamina building drill leading up to his first start in two and a half months. Trainer Steve Specht employs go-to jockey Frank Alvarado for the California Derby ride.

The Williamson Racing LLC homebred Egon RNA’d for $375,000 at Keeneland as a yearling. The pedigree suggests he could be a good one, by Ghostzapper out of Grade 2 winner Nashoba’s Joy, she herself from the same female family as Grade 1 winner Nashoba’s Key. Traveling a mile on debut, Egon stalked the pace, took the lead in midstretch, and powered away for a runway victory on April 8. Three weeks later, he returns in the California Derby. Evin Roman guided Egon to victory first time out and sees fit to ride again.

Two Southern California shippers are in the field. Both are trained by Michael McCarthyPhospherescence was a gate to wire maiden special weight winner at Santa Anita on turf and faces winners for the first time while Jam Session broke his maiden in a sprint over the Golden Gate Tapeta two races back. The latter gelding was never in a factor in an allowance race at Santa Anita five weeks ago and tries routing for the first time in the California Derby.

Two locals round out the field. Sea Dog finished four lengths behind Chase the Chaos in the El Camino Real Derby and most recently placed second in an allowance race. Nauvoo was a dominant claiming race winner at Santa Anita, earning the co-highest last-race Beyer speed figure (80) out of anybody in the California Derby.

Race 10: The $100,000 California Derby (For 3-year-olds at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)

#1 Sea Dog (Jockey Francisco Monroy…Trainer O.J Jauregui…morning line odds of 20-1)

#2 Harcyn (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman…4-1)

#3 Nauvoo (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong…20-1)

#4 Egon (Evin Roman…Reid France…12-1)

#5 Phosphorescence (Umberto Rispoli…Michael McCarthy…8-1)

#6 Jam Session (Assael Espinoza…Michael McCarthy…6-1)

#7 Passarando (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht…5-1)

#8 Chase the Chaos (Armando Ayuso…Ed Moger Jr…5-2)

#9 Prince Abu Dhabi (Alexander Chavez…Blaine Wright …4-1)


Prepping for the Lost in the Fog Stakes on April 1 in an open allowance race, three-time stakes winner Top Harbor had to call on all his class to outfinish the talented Star Racer, who had recently strung together three consecutive runaway wins against first and second level allowance company. In every one of those starts, Star Racer earned 93, 96, and 97 Beyer speed figures. Displaying grit and determination, Top Harbor defeated Star Racer by a nostril and picked up a 92 Beyer for the victory.

“He came out of that race pretty tired,” said trainer Tim McCanna. “Heck, he ran hard. Both of those horses put on a great show. They both ran great.”

Top Harbor sports two works since his last afternoon appearance on April Fool’s Day. His most recent morning work, a 59.60 five-furlong drill, screams off the page.

“He’s got good energy now,” said McCanna. “It took him a few days of rest to get his energy level back after that last race. He’s doing well. He’s not a gelding. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the weight off him. We have to train him hard, but he always does what we ask him to do. He’s just a racehorse.”

Top Harbor’s story of consistency can be told simply by looking at his lifetime race record. From 15 starts, the California-bred by the late Harbor the Gold has won 6 times, with 5 runner up finishes and one additional third place finish. Half of his wins have come in stakes: he won the Everett Nevin on dirt as a 2-year-old, defeated older foes at 3 in the 2021 El Dorado Shooter, and was victorious in the Oakland Stakes last November.

“He always shows up,” said McCanna. “He loves to run, that horse.”

Top Harbor draws post position 2. Regular rider Frank Alvarado set to be reunited with the 5-year-old gelding.

A decent group of locals are part of the Lost in the Fog lineup. San Francisco Mile nominee Crazy Dreams was supplemented into the Lost in the Fog by his connections in a surprise twist. The Isidro Tamayo trainee, who was last seen finishing second in the McCann’s Mojave Stakes going 9 furlongs, has only sprinted once, with that lone effort resulting in a head loss as a maiden in his first lifetime start.

My Summer Dream won three races in a row at Santa Anita and was claimed off the third victory by trainer O.J Jauregui. After throwing in a couple clunkers for his current connections, he put it all together in his third start for the barn, winning a second level allowance at Golden Gate. With the confidence booster, My Summer Dream is back to winning form. Larry’s Legend, the runner up finisher to My Summer Dream in the aforementioned allowance, is also part of the Lost in the Fog Stakes field.

Top Harbor’s barn buddy, Unraptured, was third in the April 1 allowance and makes the third start in his current form cycle in the Lost in the Fog. Ditto Cool Mountain Lad, who finished fourth behind Top Harbor and Unraptured on April 1. Last year, Cool Mountain Lad won the Oak Tree Sprint at Pleasanton and a second level allowance at Golden Gate.

Two Southern California shippers complete the field. Lovesick Blues has won his last two races while sprinting on dirt, including just three weeks ago in a dominant victory against starter allowance rivals. Creative Peak won a first level allowance sprinting on the turf at Del Mar in the fall but has lost three races since then. In one of those losses, he ran sixth behind Grade 3 stakes winner Motorious. He also finished ahead of Lovesick Blues that day.

Race 8: The $75,000 Lost in the Fog (For 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Cool Mountain Lad (Jockey Brayan Pena…Trainer Victor Trujillo…morning line odds of 12-1)

#2 Top Harbor (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…9-5)

#3 Lovesick Blues (Umberto Rispoli…Steve Miyadi …3-1)

#4 Unraptured (Assael Espinoza…Tim McCanna…8-1)

#5 My Summer Dream (Armando Ayuso…O.J. Jauregui…6-1)

#6 Creative Peak (Evin Roman…Sammy Calvario…12-1)

#7 Crazy Dreams (Irving Orozco…Isidro Tamayo…4-1)

#8 Larry’s Legend (Santos Rivera…Sammy Calvario…12-1)


10 fillies and mares are entered in the $75,000 Golden Poppy Stakes. On paper, it’s anybody’s race.

Rose Maddox won the Moscow Burning Stakes against state-breds on Tapeta and returns to Golden Gate in search of a stakes victory against open company. The versatile daughter of Grazen was last seen finishing second in the Irish O’Brien Stakes while suffering traffic issues behind Alice Marble, one of the favorites in the Camilla Urso Stakes.

Trainer Neil Drysdale will have two chances to win the Golden Poppy with Nadette and Ever Smart. Nadette finished second in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss in November but has finished off the board in three consecutive graded stakes since then. She finds class relief in the Golden Poppy. Ever Smart, on the other hand, sports inconsistent form against second level allowance company and takes a bump up in class.

Australia Mia is a multiple Group 2 winner in South America before moving to trainer Michael McCarthy’s Southern California string. She kicked off her North American racing career with a third-place finish in the 12-furlong Astra Stakes, but returned a month and a half later and was eased (but crossed the wire) in the Grade 3 Santa Ana Stakes. Her best makes her a legit threat to take home the top prize.

The Northern California contenders are a strong bunch. Buyback was a nose short from winning this race last year, getting tagged in the final stride by race winner Avenue de France. The aforesaid foe came back to win the Grade 2 John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar over the summer. Off a layoff in her last start, Buyback finished fourth sprinting.

“That sprint race was a prep for [the Golden Poppy],” said Buyback’s trainer, Blaine Wright. “She’s a router. We were just getting a race into her. The Golden Poppy has been the goal all along. We weren’t expecting to win that sprint race. She got something out of it, and that was exactly what we were looking for.”

Since moving to the United States, Signorina Merisi is three for four on the Tapeta for trainer Manny Badilla. That said, she has never run over turf in America and finished in-the-money-with no wins-in only 2 of 8 starts on grass overseas. On the contrary, she boasts career best form. She has steadily climbed the class ladder, breaking her maiden in a maiden special weight, subsequently winning a first level allowance, and most recently scoring a second level allowance victory. She posts a lightning quick, bullet five-furlong workout leading up to the Golden Poppy.

Ascendancy exits the Grade 3 Santa Ana, finishing fifth while having to steady sharply at the quarter pole that day. Like Signorina Merisi, who coincidentally beat Ascendancy in a first level allowance in January, Ascendancy has been campaigned to where she has gone condition by condition before taking the next logical step up in company. Freshening up for the Golden Poppy, trainer O.J Jauregui believes his filly is entering the race in peak form.

“She’s coming into this race better than she’s ever gone into any race,” said trainer O.J. Jauregui. “I’m excited to see how she runs against this level of competition. I think she fits.”

Anthony’s Cleopatra makes her third start in the current form cycle after a pair of losses sprinting against one of the best filly and mare sprinters on the grounds in Always Seeking. A daughter of Constitution, Anthony’s Cleopatra has exceled routing in the past. In fact, she won the California Oaks last year on Gold Rush Weekend Saturday against 3-year-old fillies.

Another stakes winner last year, Tam’s Little Angel, won the She’s A Tiger Stakes last year at Pleasanton. Her recent form shows three consecutive off the board finishes. Clockstrikestwelve, a second level allowance winner in February, ran sixth in this race last year but has hit the board in three other stakes events over the course of her career.

Race 9: The $75,000 Golden Poppy (For fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up at one mile and a sixteenth on turf)

#1 Rose Maddox (Jockey Santos Rivera…Trainer Steve Miyadi…Morning line odds of 7-2)

#2 Nadette (Armando Ayuso…Neil Drysdale…3-1)

#3 Signorinamerisi (Assael Espinoza…Manny Badilla…6-1)

#4 Buyback (Evin Roman…Blaine Wright…8-1)

#5 Tam’s Little Angel (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht…20-1)

#6 Ever Smart (Neil Drysdale…William Antongeorgi III…12-1)

#7 Australia Mia (Umberto Rispoli…Michael McCarthy…6-1)

#8 Anthony’s Cleopatra (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…12-1)

#9 Clockstrikestwelve (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong…10-1)

#10 Ascendancy (Irving Orozco…O.J. Jauregui…5-1)


The first of six stakes on the Gold Rush Weekend Saturday program is Race 6, the $75,000 California Oaks for 3-year-olds fillies at one mile and a sixteenth on the Tapeta. Four local horses face off against a lone Southern California shipper in the race.

We begin with Lily Poo, who broke her maiden at Del Mar in the fall for trainer Michael McCarthy. The Kentucky daughter of Tapiture was outrun in a first level allowance at Santa Anita on March 27 and tries a route of ground for the first time in the ‘Oaks.

Trainer Andy Mathis is giving the green light for California-bred Smiling Lady to stay on the Tapeta and face open company rather than moving to turf 24 hours later in the state-bred Campanile Stakes. An apparent need-the-lead type who figures to be on the pace, the daughter of Smiling Tiger was a three and a quarter length, gate to wire winner in a first level allowance on March 26. That day, she beat Bourbon Glaze, Delusively, and Mastery Kat, all who enter back in the California Oaks.

Bourbon Glaze, who has run second in two consecutive races since being claimed for $12,500 by trainer Blaine Wright and owner Eric Kenneally, is on the verge of becoming a stakes winner or stakes placed router. Not a bad claim. The daughter of Union Rags has run admirably in both starts for the Wright barn and gets a crack against stakes company in this spot.

The well-bred Delusively is a half sibling to Grade 2 winner Chocolate Martini and is by Breeders Cup champion Good Magic, who is off to a good start as a stallion. Purchased for $75,000 by owners Ed and Theresa DeNike as a yearling, Delusively puts the blinkers back on after a poor effort in her most recent start when she raced without the hood for the first time. Two starts ago, she placed second behind Mastery Kat in her first start against winners.

Mastery Kat rounds out the field. She finished in-the-money in her last two starts for trainer Jamey Thomas against allowance foes and, like the others, makes her stakes debut in this spot. She has only finished off the board once in five lifetime starts.

Race 6: The $75,000 California Oaks (For 3-year-old fillies at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)

#1 Smiling Lady (Jockey Armando Ayuso…Trainer Andy Mathis…morning line odds of 9-5)

#2 Delusively (Alejandro Gomez…Jose Bautista…8-1)

#3 Bourbon Glaze (William Antongeorgi III…Blaine Wright…8-1)

#4 Mastery Kat (Brayan Pena…Jamey Thomas…4-2)

#5 Lilly Poo (Umberto Rispoli…Michael McCarthy…8-5)


Berkeley, Calif. (Friday, April 28, 2023)-Two stake races highlight a 10-race card on Day 2 of Gold Rush Weekend 2023 this Sunday, April 30 at Golden Gate Fields. First post on Sunday is 1:15 PM.

Race 5 on Sunday, beginning the Pick Six sequence, is the co-featured $75,000 Campanile Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the turf. The Nick Alexander homebred Carole Lombard enters the 2023 Campanile fresh off an allowance victory on March 31 at Santa Anita. Her lone stakes try resulted in a fifth-place finish in the Leigh Ann Howard California Cup Oaks. Golden Gate Winter/Spring meet leading rider Assael Espinoza is slated to ride for trainer Phil D’Amato. Carole Lombard will need to turn the tables on Sell the Dream, a multiple Grade 3 placed router who was last seen running second in the Leigh Ann Howard California Cup Oaks for trainer Brian Koriner. She makes her first start in four and a half months in the Campanile and will be ridden by local pilot Armando Ayuso. Also making the trip north is Proof She Zips, trained by Michael McCarthy and to be ridden by Kentucky Derby winning jockey Mario Gutierrez. The daughter of Idiot Proof tries routing for the first time after a runner up finish sprinter against allowance company at Santa Anita. She was supplemented into the Campanile by her connections after failing to nominate to the race last week.

Like No Other was fifth home behind Carole Lombard on March 31 and returns to Golden Gate, where she broke her maiden two starts ago for trainer Jonathan Wong and owner/breeder Tommy Town Thoroughbreds. Wong and Tommy Town also campaign supplemental entrant Get My Point, coming off a maiden win just last week. Rounding out the field is Rousing Jewel, a Larry and Marianne Williams homebred trying turf for the first time. The Steve Specht trainee is a multiple allowance winner at Golden Gate and placed second in the Golden Gate Debutante as a 2-year-old last year.

In the penultimate ninth race, ten California-bred three-year-olds voyage one mile on the turf in the $75,000 Silky Sullivan Stakes. The main local contenders figure to garnish support in the wagering. 2022 Golden Nugget Stakes winner Clovisconnection wheels back in three weeks after a fifth-place finish behind the talented Kangaroo Court in the Echo Eddie Stakes at Santa Anita. The son of Vronsky makes his career debut on turf in and will be ridden by William Antongeorgi III for the first time. Mother’s Prayer was nosed out for the win by California Derby contender and undefeated Kentucky-bred Prince Abu Dhabi last time out. Happy Does is a multiple Golden Gate allowance winner at Golden Gate and draws the rail. Two Southern California entrants spice up the field: allowance winner Hacking It Up from the George Papaprodromou barn and Please Focus, also an allowance winner, from the Doug O’Neill stable.

Race 5: The $75,000 Campanile (For California-bred or sired 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf)

#1 Get My Point (Jockey Brayan Pena…Trainer Jonathan Wong…120 pounds)

#2 Proof She Zips (Mario Gutierrez…Michael McCarthy…120)

#3 Like No Other (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong …120)

#4 Rousing Jewel (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht …120)

#5 Carole Lombard (Assael Espinoza…Phil D’Amato…120)

#6 Sell the Dream (Armando Ayuso…Brian Koriner …120)

Race 9: The $75,000 Silky Sullivan (For California-bred or sired 3-year-olds at one mile on turf)

#1 Happy Does (Jockey Santos Rivera…Trainer Felix Rondan…120 pounds)

#2 Clovis Connection (William Antongeorgi III…Blaine Wright…120)

#3 Bob’s Blue Moon (Frank Alvarado…Angelo Tekos Jr…120)

#4 Trinidad (Catalino Martinez…Roger Hansen…120)

#5 Rodrigoknows (Irving Orozco…Victor Trujillo…120)

#6 Please Focus (Mario Gutierrez…Doug O’Neill…120)

#7 Mother’s Prayer (Assael Espinoza…Steve Specht…120)

#8 Cousin Richie (Alejandro Gomez…Sergio Ledezma…120)

#9 Hacking It Up (Evin Roman…George Papaprodromou…120)

#10 Charbonneau (Armando Ayuso …Andy Mathis…120)



Race 3: La Vikina (New trainer Andy Mathis…New owner Bob Bone)

Race 5: Safe Combination (Ed Moger Jr…Johnny Mcafoos)

Race 5: Sync (Isidro Tamayo…Leon Scott)

Race 6: Hot Rageous (Sammy Calvario…Mary Tucker)


Race 1: Sugar Beets (Jack Steiner…Lemonte Isom)

Race 3: Never Had I Ever (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables and Clay Sides)

Race 3: Practical Bid (Jack Steiner…Remmah Racing Inc.)

Race 7: Auspicious Style (Jack Steiner…Melvin Simonovich)

Race 7: Luck Is Golden (Jonathan Wong…SpergerWay Stables)

Race 8: Roister (Reid France…Hat Trick Racing)


No Claims

FINISH LINES: A big round of applause for 6-year-old Awesome Summer and his trainer, Jose Bautista. Bautista had the 6-year-old gelding ready to roll off a 32-month layoff last Sunday in the nightcap, a first level allowance race, and won the contest in gate to wire fashion. Jockey Catalino Martinez, aboard for the winning ride, picked up a riding triple on Sunday with the victory. Bautista and Martinez also teamed to win the eighth race with Saint Ives…During Races 6 through 9 on Friday and all-day Saturday and Sunday, XBTV/Santa Anita’s Zoe Cadman and Jeff Siegel will be on the simulcast feed giving their expert analysis and insight for race watchers…FanDuelTV will have their own live coverage of Gold Rush Weekend with popular talent Dave Weaver on site this Saturday and Sunday…$8,045 is carried over in the Rolling Super High Five pool for the next race in which the wager is offered on Friday…Last Saturday, a sharp handicapper was the single ticket jackpot winner of the Pick 6 and took home a whopping $71,819 jackpot. With that, the jackpot pool began anew on Sunday. $4,750 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager heading into this Friday…And finally, Happy Gold Rush Weekend!!!