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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Below is a list of claims from last week: 


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

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

Race 5: Stateforest (Jack Steiner…Lamonte Isom)

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


Race 2: Coolcross (Jonathan Wong…Madden Racing)


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

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