ASCENDANCY WHEELS BACK QUICKLY AFTER BIG ALLOWANCE WIN
After a dominant win against a large field of talented second level allowance foes on May 20, the She’s a Tiger Stakes for filly and mare routers at Pleasanton on June 24 was the original target for 4-year-old filly Ascendancy.
Then, the Golden Gate racing office hung an open allowance race for fillies and mares at one mile on the Tapeta for Friday, June 2.
And then, Ascendancy was entered in it.
“Are we coming back pretty quick? Yeah,” frankly noted trainer O.J Jauregui. “This race on Friday popped up and we decided to call an audible. Let’s go for it. She came out of her last race really well. She’s been eating everything in her feed tub, her weight looks good, and she’s come back to the track training with good energy. I just hope she doesn’t bounce.”
Ascendancy, a daughter of Classic Empire always well regarded by her connections, took a while to find her best stride. She broke her maiden in her eighth lifetime start, winning at a two-turn distance. Her maiden breaking run was the first time she had competed at a distance farther than six furlongs. Along with the first career winner circle photo came a lightbulb that had finally turned on, and Ascendancy has steadily improved since then. Ascendancy passed the six-figure lifetime earnings mark in her most recent start on May 20, sitting off a quick pace before producing a ferocious rally down the stretch, winning the mile and a sixteenth turf route by two and a half lengths while wrapped up in the final stages by jockey Alexander Chavez.
“I wasn’t surprised she won like that,” said Jauregui. “She’s a nice filly.”
Ascendancy reunites with Chavez and goes up against four other rivals in the featured third race on Friday. One of them is Trojan Clubhouse, who threw in an uncharacteristic clunker in the May 20 trial. That afternoon, she stalked the pace and faded to sixth with seemingly no excuses as the 2-1 favorite. A winner of 9 races from 17 lifetime starts, the daughter of Clubhouse Ride is likely to be forwardly placed in a race on Friday that does not attract a great deal of early speed. Reid France trains and puts regular rider Evin Roman back aboard.
2022 California Oaks winner Anthony’s Cleopatra freshens up five weeks after a poor showing in the Golden Poppy Stakes on April 29. That day, the Tim McCanna trainee stalked a moderate pace and faded, beating just one filly home in the field of 10. She gets back to Tapeta, a surface in which she has run first or second over in 5 of 6 lifetime starts. Earlier in the year, Anthony’s Cleopatra sprinted five and one-half furlongs and finished a half-length behind Always Seeking, one of the top filly and mare sprinters in Northern California so far this year.
The one filly who Anthony’s Cleopatra finished ahead of in the Golden Poppy was none other than Tam’s Little Angel, also entered to compete in Friday’s signature race. Winner of the She’s a Tiger Stakes on dirt in 2022, Tam’s Little Angel has lost eight consecutive races since then. Multiple first level allowance winner Twilight Empire ran poorly on May 20, her first lifetime start on turf, and returns to the Golden Gate main track for another try against the likes of Ascendancy and Trojan Clubhouse. She completes the quintet entered in Friday’s third.
First post on an 8-race card this Friday is 1:45 PM.
Race 3 on Friday (Open allowance for fillies & mares 3-years-old and up at one mile on Tapeta)
#1 Tam’s Little Angel (Jockey Catalino Martinez…Trainer Steve Specht…Morning lines odds 8-1)
#2 Twilight Empire (Francisco Duran…Cliff DeLima…7-2)
#3 Trojan Clubhouse (Evin Roman…Reid France…2-1)
#4 Ascendancy (Alexander Chavez…O.J. Jauregui…9-5)
#5 Anthony’s Cleopatra (Frank Alvarado…Tim McCanna…7-2)
JIMMY BLUE JEANS BACK IN AGAINST HIS FRIENDS AT THE SECOND LEVEL ALLOWANCE CONDITION
Stakes winner Jimmy Blue Jeans picked up his first win since March of 2022 in a second level, one-mile turf allowance race on April 21, setting a soft pace and kicking on for a half-length victory. The runner up finisher, Kennebec, returned to win at a second level condition in his next start.
Jimmy Blue Jeans returns to action in this Saturday’s sixth race-an event in which the same conditions as April’s race (surface, distance, and class level) apply. Although most of his wins have come while employing front running tactics, trainer Andy Mathis knows his 5-year-old gelding is multi-dimensional.
“He won an allowance race at Del Mar stalking the pace,” said Mathis. “With a horse like him, the rider has full control. [Jockey] Assael [Espinoza] knows this horse well. He’s going to have to call the shots out there. It’s hard to give specific instructions.”
The April 20 victory for Jimmy Blue Jeans may have been a well needed confidence booster for the California-bred by James Street. A similar effort this Saturday could help Mathis map out what races Jimmy Blue Jeans may find himself in heading into the summer season.
“I suppose every race is a gauge to where you might run next,” said Mathis. “This group is a notch below the stakes horses. If he runs well here, we can think about getting him back up to a tougher level. You want to put a horse like him in races where we realistically feel he can win.”
Jimmy Blue Jeans draws the rail in a field of six and is listed as the 9-5 morning line favorite. The second choice on the morning line at 5-2 is Tesoro. Trained by O.J Jauregui, Tesoro made his first start of the year in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile, was “keen” in the early stages of the race, sat in midfield, and faded by the eighth pole. A class drop should benefit the Kentucky bred by Anchor Down, as well as the fact that he now has a race under his belt in the current form cycle. He makes his second start off a six-and-a-half-month vacation in Saturday’s sixth race.
Also exiting the San Francisco Mile is Tarantino, who finished about four lengths behind race winner Balnikhov in the ‘Mile. Earlier this year, the Ed Moger Jr. trainee was the runner up in a salty race for second level allowance routers at Santa Anita. Tarantino possesses backclass. As a 3-year-old, he placed third in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 American at Santa Anita.
Seattle Bold has done well for trainer Steve Sherman and owners Sherman, Tom Mayo, Randy Exelby, and The Jimmy Rex Robinson Family Trust since being claimed by said connections for $32,000 in February. In two races since the acquisition, Seattle Bold won a $40,000 claimer and returned to finish as the runner up behind Kennebec in a May 12 heat. Seattle Bold possesses natural speed and can challenge Jimmy Blue Jeans for the lead in the early stages.
Conundrum earned a career high 91 Beyer speed figure in victory while racing over the main track Tapeta in his last start on May 6. His lone career try on grass resulted in a runner up finish at the first level allowance condition. Conundrum has never raced at the second level allowance condition before and takes a bump up in class for the Saturday feature. Rounding out the field is America Great, third behind Kennebec and Seattle Bold on May 12.
9 races comprise the Saturday live program at Golden Gate. First post is 1:15 PM.
Race 6 on Saturday (Second level allowance for 3-years-old and up at one mile on turf)
#1 Tesoro (Jockey Armando Ayuso…Trainer O.J Jauregui…Morning line odds of 5-2)
#2 Jimmy Blue Jeans (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis…8-5)
#3 America Great (Hugo Herrera…Monty Meier…8-1)
#4 Tarantino (Epifanio Garcia…Ed Moger Jr…6-1)
#5 Seattle Bold (Evin Roman…Steve Sherman…4-1)
#6 Conundrum (Frank Alvarado…Mike Lenzini…10-1)
ALL AMERICAN STAKES WINNER I’MGONNABESOMEBODY ON EVERYBODY’S RADAR NOW
Local I’mgonnabesomebody defeated a top-class group of routers in Monday’s $100,000 All American Stakes. The list he beat includes multiple Grade 2 winner Royal Ship, Grade 1 winner Tripoli, stakes winner American Farmer, and Grade 2 placed Rio King. Ridden to victory by Alexander Chavez, I’mgonnabesomebody earned a 94 Beyer speed figure for the win.
24 hours after the race, trainer Bill McLean noted that I’mgonnabesomebody came out of the All American with a clean bill of health and would be pointed next to the $150,000 Pleasanton Mile on dirt on Saturday, July 9.
“That was really nice,” reflected McLean on the All American win. “I told Chavez before the race, ‘Just send him out of the gate and get him to the lead if you can.’ We ended up pressing [pacesetter Mastering] and I was okay with that. Turning for home, it looked like he might get swarmed, but he just kicked away from them. It was pretty great to watch. We’ve got a great group of owners who have been with our barn for a long time, so it’s special to have such a nice horse for them. I’m happy for the whole group and my whole team at the barn.”
I’mgonnabesomebody, who won the Sam Spear Memorial and Joseph T. Grace Stakes last year, was purchased for $30,000 as a yearling at the 2019 Keeneland September sale. He earned $60,000 for the All American win and improved his lifetime bankroll to $242,380. His career record now reads 7 wins, 3 runner up finishes, and 2 thirds from 17 starts. The son of Will Take Charge was bred in Kentucky by Elm Tree Farm LLC and is owned by the partnership of Nin Auyeung, Phillip Crosby, Cheryl Hauck, Bill McLean, Todd Miller, Elizabeth Moran, and Marilyn Taylor.
McCann’s Mojave Stakes winner American Farmer put up a commendable effort in the All American and is worthy of recognition. He finished second, beaten a length and a half by I’mgonnabesomebody. If all goes well, American Farmer is also possible for the Pleasanton Mile. Steve Sherman trains the California-bred by Bluegrass Cat.
Below is a list of claims from last week
Race 1: Big Jolt (New trainer Jonathan Wong…New owner Madden Racing)
Race 2: Safe Combination (Owner/Trainer Jorge Maravilla)
Race 5: Il Capitano (Isidro Tamayo…Mean Girls Racing Stable)
Race 7: Kodiaction (Bill McLean…Carpenter, Hauck, McLean, and Puertas)
Race 7: Supermazel (Jesus Ramos…MJ Ranch)
Race 8: Luck Is Golden (Ed Moger Jr…Johnny Mcafoos)
Race 7: Harbor Sky (Jamey Thomas…Troy Smith and Thomas)
Race 7: Stanford Bay (Reid France…TC Racing)
Race 6: Fully Loaded (Gary Greiner…Renee Greiner)
Race 6: Mr. Clutch (Jonathan Wong…JJ Lee Rae)
Race 3: Blursday (Mike Lenzini…Gary Marrone)
Race 4: Wound Up (Jamey Thomas…Brian Parker)
Race 6: Asano’s Back (Ellen Jackson…Alberto Ruvalcaba)
Race 6: Wicklow Hills (Marcelino Trujillo…Nancy Salas Ibarra and Floriberta Trujillo)
Race 9: Eddie Crosswire (Tim Bellasis…Donna Smartt, Cassandra Tschanz and Bellasis)
Race 9: Respond (Isidro Tamayo…Hat Trick Racing)
Race 9: Silent Sunday (Andy Mathis…William Branch and Robert Jones)
FINISH LINES: San Francisco Mile third place finisher Il Bellator finished fourth of 11 in Monday’s Grade 1 $500,000 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita and earned $30,000 for the placing. Il Bellator is trained by Jose Bautista and was ridden by regular rider Alejandro Gomez…Game Time, winner of the $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes on Sunday for trainer John Sadler and jockey Armando Ayuso, received an 84 Beyer for his win. The son of Not This Time could make his next appearance on Opening Day at Del Mar in the $100,000 Caesars Sportsbook Oceanside Stakes…With two more weeks to go at the current Winter/Spring meet, jockey Assael Espinoza has 84 wins-the most out of any rider in the colony. Evin Roman, who won five races on Friday, had a big week and propelled himself to second place in the jockey standings with 67 wins total, 3 more than Ayuso…Jonathan Wong nurses a narrow lead in the trainer standings with 51 wins, two ahead of Isidro Tamayo…$20,055 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot bet heading into Friday…The feature race on Sunday is a first level allowance which goes as the eighth of nine races. First post is 1:15 PM on Sunday…Remember: Closing Day of the Winter/Spring meet is next Sunday, June 11. Mandatory payouts are in play for all wagers next Sunday.