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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2 Pacific Zip (Alejandro Gomez…Ellen Jackson)

#3 Seems Logical (Santos Rivera…Sheldon Paldanius)

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

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

#6 Shanghai Mist (Alexander Chavez…Faith Taylor)

#7 Naughty Nadine (Assael Espinoza…Manny Badilla)

#8 Rivendell (Catalino Martinez…Neil Drysdale)

#9 Shezarunaway (Frank Alvarado…Dan Markle)

#10 Derrygoolin (William Antongeorgi III…Isidro Tamayo)

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

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


#13 Ladywearsthering (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht)


Below is a list of claims from last week


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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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