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

GOVENOR’S PARTY LOOKS TO SPOIL THE PARTY FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA INVADER, TOUGH LOCALS IN 10 FURLONG FRIDAY FEATURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#1 Muhammad Ali (SCRATCHED)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BREEDERS CUP WATCH PARTY ON SATURDAY IN LUXURIOUS GOLDEN GATE TURF CLUB

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

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

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

JOSEPH T. GRACE ON SATURDAY FEATURES HEAVY HANDICAP HITTERS IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHERMAN FIRSTERS IMPRESS ON SUNDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLAIMS REPORT

Below is a list of claims from last week:

Friday

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

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

Saturday

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

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

Sunday

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

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

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

LATE PICK 5 CARRYOVER OF $38,250 ON FRIDAY

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

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

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

CONTENTIOUS ALLOWANCE FOR 3-YEAR-OLDS KICKS OFF FRIDAY’S LATE PICK 5 CARRYOVER BET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUANA GALLO TAKES ON TOUGH SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA INVADERS IN PIKE PLACE DANCER ON SATURDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLAIMS REPORT

Below is a list of claims from last week

Friday

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

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

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

Saturday

Race 2: Mybluebell (Reid France…Lamonte Isom)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday

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

Race 1: Implicitly (Jonathan Wong…TAK Racing)

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

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

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

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

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

BERKELEY HANDICAP AND EIGHT OTHER STAKES ON THE DOCKET FOR 2022 GOLDEN GATE FALL MEET

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

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

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

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

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

2022 GOLDEN GATE FIELDS FALL MEET STAKES SCHEDULE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JORGE BAUTISTA SADDLES FIRST RUNNER ON SATURDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEATURE RACE ON “OPENING DAY” FRIDAY ATTRACTS A STRONGER THAN AVERAGE GROUP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIZ AN EDVENTURE FINDING HER BEST STRIDE IN 2022 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECENT STAKES WINNER I’MGONNABESOMEBODY FACES STAKES CALIBER FIELD IN RACE OF THE DAY ON FRIDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KINGS RIVER KNIGHT TRIES TO TRANSFER DEL MAR FORM TO GOLDEN GATE TURF ON SATURDAY

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

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

Hopefully that keeps him happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MANDATORY PAYOUTS ON CLOSING DAY SUNDAY

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

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

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

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

PAPAPIFAS BACK IN AGAINST ALLOWANCE FOES AFTER CONFIDENCE BOOSTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#3 Papapifas (Alejandro Gomez…Guillermo Preciado)

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

#5 Murphys Tiger (Armando Ayuso…Tim McCanna)

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

CLAIMS REPORT

Below is a list of claims from last week:

Friday

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

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

Race 5: Rowangoeshollywood (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

Saturday

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

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

Sunday

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

Race 5: Mizzdyna (Owner/Trainer Dan Franko)

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

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

2-YEAR-OLD FILLIES WHO HAVE DISPLAYED PROMISE CLASH ON FRIDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOLDEN GATE DISTAFF WINNER NATURAL COLOUR MAY SHOW UP IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NEXT

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

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

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

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

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

VASCO SEEMS TO HAVE FOUND HER NICHE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A MAN’S MAN FACES PROVEN COMMODITIES IN SATURDAY FEATURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLAIMS REPORT

Below is a list of claims from last week.

Friday

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

Saturday

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

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

Sunday

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

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

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

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, September 15

GIVE ME THE LUTE BACK HOME AND READY TO ROLL

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

“He’s been good to us,” said Mathis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NATURAL COLOUR ON THE UPSWING IN SEARCH OF SECOND CONSECUTIVE STAKES WIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOCKEY AYUSO RETURNS, APPRENTICE ESCOBEDO ARRIVES AT GOLDEN GATE TO RIDE

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

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

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

CLAIMS REPORT

Below is a list of claims from last week.

Friday

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

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

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

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

Saturday

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

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

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

Sunday

Race 1: Amadmadworld (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

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

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

MCCARTHY HOLDS A STRONG HAND IN MULTIPLE TURF ALLOWANCE RACES THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEW MORNING LINE ODDS MAN JACOB SHEPARD STAYING BUSY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLAIMS REPORT

Below is a list of claims from last week:

Friday

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

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

Saturday

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

Sunday

Race 6: Descartes (Sammy Calvario…Mary Tucker)

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

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

Monday

No claims

DEL MAR WATCH LIST

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

Friday

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

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

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

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

Saturday

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

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

Sunday

Race 2: Kingmeister (Bill McLean…Kyle Frey)

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

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

Race 7: Evenrevenworse (Bill McLean…Kyle Frey)

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

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

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, September 1, 2022

BAKER HOPEFUL GERLACH’S WILL TAKE TO TAPETA IN SIGNATURE ALLOWANCE ON FRIDAY

4-year-old California-bred Gerlach’s freshens up two months and enters his toughest race to date on Friday, a 6-furlong second level allowance, after a career best run at Pleasanton on July 1. That day, the son of Grazen sat off a fast pace and rolled down the center of the track in the final furlong, blowing past his competition and drawing off to win the contest by two and a half lengths.

Gerlach’s makes his second start off a claim by trainer D. Wayne Baker. After back-to-back victories at Santa Anita against claimers and California-bred allowance company, Gerlach’s was purchased for $20,000 out of a June 11 race by co-owners Baker, Dexter Bergounous, David Dicamilla and Norm Hansen.

“I can’t take credit for the claim,” said Baker. “Dexter Bergounous is the one who picked this horse out. We won a 9-way shake [at Santa Anita].”

In Friday’s seventh race, Baker is hoping for a pace for Gerlach’s to chase. Irving Orozco, who was aboard for the Pleasanton victory, retains the mount on Friday.

“He always comes from off the pace,” said Baker. “Even in his workouts, he’ll go really slow early and finish fast in the last part. That’s just his natural style. He’s never raced over a synthetic surface, but I think he likes the Tapeta based on how he works.”

It will be a tough task for any horse to win Race 7 on Friday. The 5-2 morning line favorite is I’m Corfu, claimed off a $32,000 victory at Del Mar two starts ago by trainer Isidro Tamayo. In his most recent start, I’m Corfu finished fourth, beaten a length and a quarter, behind salty sprinter War Games and Lost in the Fog Stakes winner Ultimate Bango at Santa Rosa.

Cool Mountain Lad, who won the Oak Tree Sprint at Pleasanton and most recently finished third in the aforementioned trial at Santa Rosa, is also entered in the seventh race on Friday. Trained by Victor Trujillo, Cool Mountain Lad sports an ultra-consistent record of six wins, five seconds and three third place finishes from 17 lifetime starts. Five of his six lifetime victories have come over the Golden Gate Tapeta.

Speedy gelding Irrefutable figures to set the pace for trainer Mike Lenzini. This summer, he won a pair of first level allowance races but was no match for Gerlach’s on July 1 when failing to make the lead. Unraptured began his career at Golden Gate in October and has won a trio of allowance races over the Tapeta since then. This summer, he finished off-the-board twice against stakes company at Woodbine in Ontario, Canada and returns to the Bay Area for the remainder of the year. Price horses Darnquick and Jeffnjohn’sthundr round out a salty field of seven.

First post each live race day this week is 1:45 PM PT.

Race 7 on Friday (Second level allowance at six furlongs on Tapeta for 3-year-olds and up)

#1 Jeffnjohn’sthundr (Jockey Assael Espinoza…trainer Jeff Bonde…morning line odds of 8-1)

#2 Gerlach’s (Irving Orozco…D. Wayne Baker…9-2)

#3 Unraptured (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…8-1)

#4 Darnquick (Santos Rivera…Efrain Miranda…6-1)

#5 I’m Corfu (Evin Roman…Isidro Tamayo…5-2)

#6 Irrefutable (William Antongeorgi III…Mike Lenzini…3-1)

#7 Cool Mountain Lad (Pedro Terrero…Victor Trujillo…4-1)

I’MGONNABESOMEBODY LOOKS TO MAKE A NAME FOR HIMSELF AGAINST NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STAKES COMPANY ON MONDAY

Golden Gate offers-along with our regular Friday through Sunday programs-a holiday Labor Day program this coming Monday. Exiting a fifth-place finish in the Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar, 4-year-old gelding I’mgonnabesomebody looks to stamp himself as a legit Northern California stakes player heading into Monday’s feature race, the Sam Spear Memorial at one mile and a sixteenth on turf.

Sent off at high odds of 37-1 in the Wickerr, the son of Will Take Charge finished about 2 lengths behind race winner Irideo, who may be a major player in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile in Southern California on Saturday.

“He ran hard that day,” said McLean. “It was a good effort. I hope a run like that is good enough to run big on Monday.”

Before his beachside appearance, I’mgonnabesomebody won a second level allowance race at Pleasanton on dirt. He posts two published workouts since the Wickerr Stakes. Over the last couple years, all recorded workouts by I’mgonnabesomebody have started out of the gate.

“When we try to break him off on his own, sometimes he starts propping,” said McLean. “He won’t hardly go sometimes. We break him out of the gate to get him to go when he works.

He’s going good right now,” concluded McLean. “He’s a pretty happy guy. He’s definitely fit enough.”

Among the probables for the inaugural Sam Spear Memorial is Freeport Joe, winner of the 2022 All American Stakes in May. One of the horses who finished behind Freeport Joe in the All American was Master Piece, who came back to win the Grade 2 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar. Trainer Gloria Haley noted that, although not definite to enter, the current plan for Freeport Joe is to enter and run in the Sam Spear Memorial.

“We’re just making sure he’s 100% good to go before we definitely say we’re running,” said Haley. “His last race at Del Mar [a 10th place finish in the California Dreamin’ Stakes] was a rough trip for him. He clipped heels on the first turn and then got bumped on the next turn, too. He was a little too anxious and wasn’t really himself at all. He didn’t settle like he usually does. I don’t think he was in love with that kind of surface either. It might’ve been a little bit too tight for him. He had a beautiful work last weekend [at Golden Gate] and he’s definitely happy to be back home in his own stall.”

Formerly known as the Rolling Green Stakes, the Sam Spear Memorial is a one-mile and a sixteenth turf race for 3-year-olds and upward. A $50,000 purse is offered. Official entries for the Sam Spear Memorial and the rest of the Monday card will be drawn on Friday.

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 was a key figure in working 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.

TOUGH TO SEPARATE TOP CONTENDERS IN SATURDAY NIGHTCAP 

Throughout 2022, the 3-year-old filly sprint division at Golden Gate has kept handicappers on their toes. This Saturday’s ninth race is no exception. A contentious group of eight sophomore fillies are slated to run six furlongs in the finale on Saturday at Golden Gate, a first level allowance. Post time for the last race on Saturday is 6:05 PM PT.

Miss Union is a deserved morning line favorite at 5-2. The daughter of Unionize was a dominant 6 and three-quarter length winner on July 29 at Sacramento and returns to the Tapeta for her fifteenth lifetime start. She has started more than any other racer in this group, with 14 lifetime starts already under her belt. Jockey Evin Roman and trainer Isidro Tamayo, who win at a 23% clip together, team up once again.

Another runaway winner on the Sacramento dirt was Callmemarthajane, a daughter of Gun Runner who annihilated a maiden special weight group on July 30. She makes her first start against winners for top Northern California trainer Jonathan Wong. Earlier in her career, Callmemarthajane raced over the Golden Gate Tapeta and finished as the runner up behind now undefeated filly Chancery Way.

Although Dulce Emma has finished behind Miss Union in a pair of allowance races, she finished ahead of the aforesaid foe on two other occasions. In this particular race, Dulce Emma will likely go off as the longer shot of the two after she finished well behind Miss Union in the July 29 allowance race at Sacramento. Regular rider Pedro Terrero is back atop the daughter of Dads Caps for trainer Jesus Ramos.

Trainer Jack Steiner saddles Always Seeking and Blue Wildcat. The former filly broke her maiden in April before running third behind two-time stakes winner Tam’s Little Angel in a two-turn race. Getting back to sprinting while making her first start in over three months, Always Seeking sports a series of sharp workouts leading up to her fall debut. Stablemate Blue Wildcat was an easy winner of a $20,000 claimer at Sacramento and takes a sharp bump up in class.

The Arcadian Way was a first-out winner against allowance company as a 2-year-old. She took about five months off after picking up her maiden diploma and, since then, has misfired in two starts this year. Pleasanton maiden winner Emily Smiles and consistent Code Ribbon rounds out the field.

Race 9 on Saturday (First level allowance at six furlongs on Tapeta for 3-year-old fillies)

#1 Emily Smiles (Jockey Frank Alvarado…trainer Tim McCanna…morning line odds of 12-1)

#2 Always Seeking (William Antongeorgi III…Jack Steiner…8-1)

#3 Blue Wildcat (Irving Orozco…Jack Steiner…12-1)

#4 Callmemarthajane (Assael Espinoza…Jonathan Wong …3-1)

#5 The Arcadian Way (Alejandro Gomez…Blaine Wright…8-1)

#6 Miss Union (Evin Roman…Isidro Tamayo …5-2)

#7 Code Ribbon (Catalino Martinez…Jacquie Navarre…6-1)

#8 Dulce Emma (Pedro Terrero…Jesus Ramos…3-1)

DEL MAR WATCH LIST

Below is a list of Northern California horses-with their human connections-competing at Del Mar this week:

Friday

Race 1: Tiger Spice (Andy Mathis…Ricky Gonzalez)

Race 5: Keepmeinthe Moment (Jonathan Wong…Abel Cedillo)

Race 5: O’Neill’s Legacy (Andy Mathis…Ricky Gonzalez)

Race 6: Jamming Eddy (Quinn Howey…Kyle Frey)

Race 7: Northvale Road (Jonathan Wong…Armando Ayuso)

Race 7: The Little H Man (Andy Mathis…Kyle Frey)

Race 9: Acoustic Shadow (Jonathan Wong…Armando Ayuso)

Saturday

Race 1: Wearenotbadpeople (Quinn Howey….Edwin Maldonado)

Race 2: Kings River Knight (Andy Mathis…Flavien Prat)

Race 2: Shot of a Lifetime (Bill McLean…Kyle Frey)

Race 2: U. S. Danger (Jonathan Wong…Kyle Frey)

Race 3: Sue Generous (Quinn Howey…Jose Valdivia Jr.)

Race 3: Just a Little Luck (Andy Mathis….Flavien Prat)

Race 4: Il Bellator (Jose Bautista…Abel Cedillo)

Race 7: Tarantino (Ed Moger Jr…Mike Smith)

Race 10: Stilleto Boy (Ed Moger Jr…Juan Hernandez)

Race 11: Tesoro (O.J. Jauregui…Joe Bravo) 

Sunday

Race 4: Never for Money (Andy Mathis…Kyle Frey)

Race 6: Pepperman (Bill McLean…Joe Bravo)

Race 10: Draw Me (Terri Eaton…Tyler Baze)

Race 11: My Kentucky Girl (Jonathan Wong…Abel Cedillo)

Monday

Entries to be drawn on Friday.

GOLDEN GATE CLAIMS REPORT

Below is a list of claims from last week:

Friday

No claims

Saturday

Race 2: Irish Wahine (New Trainer Reed Saldana…New Owner Johnny Taboada)

Race 3: Good Time Dolly (Sammy Calvario…Faustino Garduno and Alvaro Gonzalez)

Race 3: Party Spirit (Reid France…Williamson Racing LLC)

Sunday

Race 1: Applaud the Bench (Isidro Tamayo…Jerry Edwards)

FINISH LINES: Trainer Steve Sherman had a fun first three days of our summer meet, winning with four of his nine starters last week…A half sibling to stakes winner Cool Mountain Lad debuts in the fifth race on Saturday. Rose of Mooncoin, a 2-year-olf filly trained by Victor Trujillo, breaks from post 3 in a field of 10. Irving Orozco is set to ride…Trainer Steve Specht is two victories shy of 1,500 career wins as a trainer…With the victory aboard Irish Wahine in Race 2 on Saturday, veteran jockey Frank Alvarado picked up career win 3,900…3 of the 10 maiden special weight entrants in Race 5 on Sunday are from Southern California stables. Keith Desormeaux, Mike Maker and Doug O’Neill all have contenders…Congrats to trainer Jonathan Wong, who made 7 trips to the Del Mar winners circle last week. Among his winners was speedy filly Opening Buzz…California Derby winner Il Bellator runs in the $125,000 Shared Belief Stakes on Saturday at Del Mar. Conditioned by Jose Bautista, the Kentucky-bred by Shackleford drew post 3 of 5 and will be ridden for the first time by Abel Cedillo. He makes his first start on dirt in the Shared Belief…Also entered in a Saturday stake at Del Mar is the O.J. Jauregui trained Tesoro. The 4-year-old colt by Anchor Down drew post 8 of 11 in the 11-furlong $300,000 Del Mar Handicap on turf. Jockey Joe Bravo has the call…We send best of luck wishes to Ed Moger Jr, who saddles millionaire Stilleto Boy in the Grade I Pacific Classic and Tarantino in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on Saturday at Del Mar. Both racers are owned by Ed’s brother Steve$7,638 is carried over into the Rolling Super High five pool for the next race on Friday in which the wager is offered…$5,160 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six heading into Friday’s card.

Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, August 25, 2022

OPENING DAY FRIDAY KICKS OFF 19-DAY SUMMER MEET AT GOLDEN GATE 

Entries for Day 1 of the 19-day summer meet at Golden Gate Fields were taken, drawn and published Tuesday afternoon. 56 horses were entered on the 8-race card.

A multitude of trainers relayed to track officials that they were delighted to be back at their home base of Golden Gate Fields. Over the last couple months, all Northern California horses, trainers, and their barn help were stabled at either Pleasanton, Sacramento, Del Mar, or nearby farms while Golden Gate took on a renovation procedure involving underground pipes on the backstretch. Horses and the barn crews were welcomed back to the Golden Gate barn area throughout the week of August 8. Last week, over 500 horses recorded published workouts.

“We’re excited to be back up and running,” said Steve Martinelli, who takes over the role of Director of Racing for the first time this meet. “We have a lot of babies [2-year-old horses] on the backstretch. The trainers are rearing up and ready to run their horses. We’re really looking forward to a safe and competitive meet.”

Live racing will be conducted on a Friday through Sunday basis at the upcoming summer meet, with a Labor Day Monday, September 5 race card during the second week of racing. First post each live race day is 1:45 PM PT.

A MAN’S MAN SPORTS TOP FORM IN SEARCH OF FOURTH CONSECUTIVE WIN

New horseplayers and horse people alike quickly learn that there are risks to the claiming game in American thoroughbred horse racing. In the case of longtime Bay Area trainer Jack Steiner, he has never been scared to roll the dice.

Although Steiner has had much success with claiming and improving horses over the years, he did not take credit for the sharp claim of A Man’s Man, an $8,000 buy three months ago. Since Steiner claimed him out of a May 22 race, the 6-year-old Mucho Macho Man gelding has won three consecutive races while steadily climbing the class ladder.

“[Owner] Howard Hammer [Remmah Racing Inc.] was the one who picked him out,” said Steiner. “When Howard looked at this form, he saw the horse had run second at a $20,000 condition. Then he was in for $12,500 and he won. Then he ran for $8,000…and that’s when we claimed him. He had class. It’s ended up being a pretty good gamble.”

After a dominant starter allowance win in his first start off the claim for Steiner, A Man’s Man wheeled back to win a $20,000 claimer at Pleasanton. In his most recent afternoon outing on July 24, A Man’s Man displayed grit and determination to win a hard-fought decision over allowance company at Sacramento.

This Friday, A Man’s Man is entered in the feature race at Golden Gate: an allowance for 3-year-olds and upward at one mile on Tapeta. Regular rider Assael Espinoza will be back aboard.

“We might be asking a lot of a horse who we claimed for $8,000 to win two allowance races,” said Steiner. “The fact of the matter is he’s doing better than ever. He had a nice work last week. I think he’s a confident horse. He’s won a few races in a row and he’s feeling really good. Assael knows him really well, so I’m going to leave the race tactics up to him.”

Race 7 on Friday (First level allowance at one mile on Tapeta)

#1 Govenor’s Party (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…Trainer Dan Franko…morning line odds 6-1)

#2 Lil Miracle Man (Cristobal Herrera…Ellen Jackson…6-1)

#3 Buenisimo (Evin Roman…Steve Sherman…10-1)

#4 Rocktillyoudrop (Frank Alvarado…Ed Moger Jr…12-1)

#5 Claim of Passion (Santos Rivera…Steve Miyadi…10-1)

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

#7 Sacred Rider (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht…5-1)

#8 Pour On the Cole (Pedro Terrero…Victor Trujillo…12-1)

#9 Our Bold Prince (Irving Orozco…Eddie Rich…7-2)

STRONG FIELD OF 3-YEAR-OLDS ASSEMBLED FOR SATURDAY FEATURE

A half dozen entrants-all seemingly in with a chance-are entered to run in Saturday’s fifth race, a first level allowance for 3-year-old sprinters at six furlongs on Tapeta. Horseplayers may have a difficult time picking a winner, with many handicapping angles in play.

Super Bill, who draws the rail post position for trainer Jose Bautista, won on debut at Pleasanton in July. That race turned out to be a strong heat. Runner up finisher Smiling At Val returned to win a maiden race at Del Mar while third place horse Arollercoasteride defeat maiden special weight company about a month later at Santa Rosa. A third runner in the race, sixth place finisher You Kidding Me, also won a maiden special weight in his next start.

“We knew he could run before his first start,” said Bautista. “He broke from the rail that day and we sent him because on the dirt the kickback can bother horses sometimes. He drew the rail again [for Saturday’s race], but the Tapeta doesn’t have kickback. I think we can stalk if we need to.”

Trainer Jonathan Wong campaigns a pair of contenders in Boise and Heaven Shines. Boise, the clear class of the race, won the Gold Rush Stakes last year and lost by a head to Il Bellator in the California Derby this past April. After a pair of off-the-board finishes this summer, the son of Temple City cuts back in distance from a route to a sprint while dropping in class to a non-stakes event. He is also entered for the $50,000 optional claiming tag.

“We’ve backed off him a little bit in his morning training because he’s really fit. Hopefully he can lay third or fourth and from there give us his best effort.”

Boise blitzed a maiden special weight group when sprinting five furlongs on turf in his only other career sprint race. Wong believes that getting back to one turn will be to Boise’s liking.

“His first race [sprinting] was very good,” said Wong. “He might end up being a better sprinter.”

Heaven Shines is a speedy gelding from the Wong Barn that figures to be close to the pace. He freshens up about a month and a half after a runner up finish at Sacramento. The last time we saw Heaven Shines compete on Tapeta, he earned a career high Beyer speed figure (83) while dusting a starter allowance group.

“I think he’s a better Tapeta horse,” said Wong. “Besides [Super Bill], there isn’t much front running speed in the race. Hopefully he breaks well and is forwardly placed. Both my horses should be competitive.”

The Jack Steiner trained Stormy Samurai makes his second start off a five-month layoff and figures to get legit support in the wagering. In his seasonal debut on July 22 at Sacramento against older foes, the Kentucky-bred stumbled badly at the break and rushed up to race in a stalking position before fading down the lane. He returns to Tapeta, the surface in which both career wins have come over, and posts a pair of sharp half mile workouts leading up to this start. Stormy Samurai won at this level earlier in his career and, like Boise, is entered for the $50,000 claiming tag.

Rounding out the field are Winter Falcon and Lmlooknformischief. The former defeated the latter (who ran third) in a June 24 race over the Pleasanton main track dirt course. Since their face-off at Pleasanton, both horses tried salty company at Del Mar and finished well behind the winner. Winter Falcon ran in a high-level claimer sprinting on the turf and finished in midfield. Lmlookformischief was a no-show in the Real Good Deal Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds.

9-races made the Saturday overnight. First post on Saturday is 1:45 PM.

Race 5 on Saturday (First level allowance at 6 furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Super Bill (Jockey Alejandro Gomez…Trainer Jose Bautista…Morning Line Odds of 8-1)

#2 Stormy Samurai (Frank Alvarado…Jack Steiner…5-1)

#3 Winter Falcon (Assael Espinoza…Blaine Wright…9-2)

#4 Lmlooknformischief (Pedro Terrero…Faith Taylor..6-1)

#5 Heaven Shines (Evin Roman…Jonathan Wong…9-5)

#6 Boise (Brayan Pena…Jonathan Wong…5-2)

DEL MAR WATCH LIST

Several Golden Gate based horses and Bay Area human connections have competed at Del Mar this summer. Below is a list of horses running at the Southern California seaside oval this week.

Friday

Race 2: Creative Romance (Trainer Tim McCanna…Jockey Drayden Van Dyke)

Race 2: She’s So Pretty (Jonathan Wong…Kyle Frey)

Race 5: Jasmine Chieftain (Tim McCanna…Armando Ayuso)

Race 5: Gayles Evening (Jamey Thomas…Diego Herrera)

Race 5: Warm Summer (O.J. Jauregui…Emily Ellingwood)

Race 6: A Little Bit Crazy (Jonathan Wong…Umberto Rispoli)

Race 6: Jessebear (Aggie Ordonez…Kyle Frey)

Race 7: Man Oh Man (Jonathan Wong…Umberto Rispoli)

Race 8: Naughty Nadine (Manny Badilla…Abel Cedillo)

Saturday

Race 1: Holiday Arousal (Trainer Jonathan Wong…Jockey Hector Berrios)

Race 3: Joymaker (Quinn Howey…Ryan Curatolo)

Race 3: Callhercontessa (Andy Mathis…Edwin Maldonado)

Race 4: Stanford Man (Jonathan Wong…Armando Ayuso)

Race 4: Looksgoodonyoutho (Ed Moger Jr…Diego Herrera)

Race 6: Mask Off (Jonathan Wong…Ramon Vazquez)

Race 6: Always Litt (Blaine Wright…Juan Hernandez)

Race 6: Big Spin (Tim McCanna…Erick Lopez)

Race 7: Iconic Sky (Andy Mathis…Kyle Frey)

Race 7: Lexington Humor (Jonathan Wong…Umberto Rispoli)

Race 7: Canam Gal (Bill McLean…Drayden Van Dyke)

Race 10: Table for Ten (Bill McLean…Hector Berrios)

Sunday

Race 7: O’Neills Legacy (Trainer Andy Mathis…Jockey Edwin Maldonado)

Race 7: The Great Haynes (Andy Mathis…Umberto Rispoli)

Race 7: Opening Buzz (Jonathan Wong…Kyle Frey)

Race 7: Vasco (O.J. Jauregui…Ricky Gonzalez)

Race 7: Queen Molotov (Ramon Vazquez…Jamey Thomas)

Race 8: Empire House (Jonathan Wong…Ricky Gonzalez)

FINISH LINES: Trainer Jeff Engler, who is usually based in the Midwest but shipped his string to Del Mar for their Ship and Win bonus program this summer, will saddle his first Golden Gate Fields starter on Saturday. Myfavoritedaughter, a 4-year-old filly, races in Friday’s eighth race, a first level allowance at one mile on Tapeta. Engler also sends turf router Maqamat in Race 7 on Sunday, a maiden 20k claimer…10-pound apprentice Welfin Ruany Orantes has three scheduled mounts on Sunday. Orantes began his race riding career over the summer at Sacramento and has won two races from 13 mounts so far…Assignation and Strike At Dawn exit the Luther Burbank Stakes at Santa Rosa and are the ones to beat in the feature race on Sunday, a one-mile-and a sixteenth route for filly and mares…Leading Golden Gate trainer Jonathan Wong won 3 races on Thursday at Del Mar…Trainer Andy Mathis has had a sensational Del Mar meeting, having won 7 races from 28 starters so far…Speaking of Mr. Mathis, happy belated birthday to him; he celebrated a birthday last week.

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

PLENTY OF STORY LINES TO FOLLOW IN 5-FURLONG ALBANY STAKES ON SATURDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MANDATORY PAYOUTS THIS CLOSING DAY SUNDAY

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

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

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

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

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

JOCKEY RACE HEATS UP WITH THREE MORE RACING DAYS TO GO

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

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

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

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

CLAIMS REPORT

Below is a list of claims from last week

FRIDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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


SATURDAY

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

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

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

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

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

SUNDAY

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

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

Race 7: Stateforest (Jamey Thomas…Troy Thomas)

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

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

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

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