Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, February 2, 2023


For avid California racing followers, the name “Ward ‘n Jerry” rings a bell.

Of course it does. The Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams homebred won the 14-furlong Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano Stakes at Santa Anita in 2020. He also checked in third in the Grade 2 Hollywood Gold Cup one year prior. Ward ‘n Jerry has had a long but successful career, with 8 wins from 31 lifetime starts and career earnings of $486,843.

Following a third-place finish against second level allowance company at Del Mar in August of 2021, Ward ‘n Jerry was given a significant amount of time off. Put back in training at Golden Gate in the fall of 2022 as a 9-year-old, Ward n’ Jerry was moved to the barn of Steve Specht. Specht analyzed the son of Lucky Pulpit and deemed him fast enough to still run competitively against quality horses.

“[The Williams’] tried to retire him on the farm but he wasn’t getting along with the other horses,” said Specht. “Sometimes horses do better at the track. They like training and they like racing. This is his last year-he won’t be able to run again after this year-so he’s getting one more go around.”

In his first start in about 17-months on January 13, Ward ‘n Jerry routed in a $25,000 claiming race going a mile. Ward ‘n Jerry was ready to roll early in the race, set the pace, but eventually tired to fifth. He faced a salty group that day; race winner Black Caspian is an allowance winner who was dropping out of stakes company while runner up finisher Our Silver Oak is a stakes winner who has won multiple second level allowance events in the past. Memo Daddy and Love Candy, the two others who finished ahead of Ward ‘n Jerry, are first level allowance winners.

“There wasn’t a lot of speed in the race. He was about 80% fit last time,” said Specht. “I told [jockey] Frank [Alvarado], ‘Put him on the lead. Hopefully they leave you alone and we can stick around.’ I didn’t want to put him behind a bunch of really fit horses. He stuck around for a while but got pretty tired the final sixteenth.”

Three weeks after the 2023 debut, here we are in present day. Ward ‘n Jerry is entered to run again, this time in a first level allowance at one mile and a quarter on Friday. Specht believes Ward ‘n Jerry will appreciate the added ground. Makes sense. After all, distance was his friend when he was younger.

“The distance will help him,” said Specht. “He got a lot out of his last race, and he’s fit.”

Ward n’ Jerry faces a contentious group of foes in Friday’s seventh race. One of the major players is America Great, who stretches out in distance after a half-length score at this first level allowance condition on January 19. In his only try at a distance longer than eight and a half furlongs, America Great finished as the runner up in a 12-furlong marathon. Also entered in Friday’s seventh race is the barn buddy of America Great, Anitanewmercedes, who is projected to set the pace. Both entrants are trained by Isidro Tamayo.

4-year-old Crosby Beach finished third in the Pasadena Stakes on turf at Santa Anita last year. In his last afternoon appearance on November 4, the Pennsylvania bred placed second at Golden Gate at the same conditions he’ll compete at on Friday. Assael Espinoza was aboard in the November heat and retains the mount for trainer Michael McCarthy.

In his first start off a break of about 7 months, California-bred Secret Club sat off the speed before rallying for third going the one mile and a sixteenth distance. He is eligible to take a step forward in his second start off a layoff for trainer Ed Moger Jr. C’Mon Man put up a better than looked showing the last time he routed, finishing as the runner up behind Crazy Dreams. The aforementioned gelding returned to finish third behind stakes winners Freeport Joe and I’mgonnabesomebody in an open allowance race. C’Mon Man should enjoy getting back to two turns. Gea is a mare facing males and has put up a handful of even finishes at shorter distances as of late.

8 races kick off our racing week this Friday. First post is 12:45 PM.

Race 7 on Friday (First level allowance at one mile and a quarter for 4-year-olds and up on Tapeta)

#1 C’Mon Man (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…trainer Bill McLean…morning line odds of…12-1)

#2 Crosby Beach (Assael Espinoza…Michael McCarthy…2-1)

#3 Ward ‘n Jerry (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht…4-1)

#4 America Great (Irving Orozco…Isidro Tamayo…5-2)

#5 Secret Club (Alejandro Gomez…Ed Moger Jr…8-1)

#6 Anitanewmercedes (Evin Roman…Isidro Tamayo…6-1)

#7 Gea (Adrian Escobedo…Tim McCanna…10-1)


Nominations for the 2023 edition of the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby close Thursday at midnight and will be published for public consumption on Friday afternoon. The one mile and an eighth contest on Tapeta offers a $100,000 purse. For horsemen who wish to nominate their 3-year-old to the El Camino Real Derby, you can contact stakes coordinator Lisa Jones at (626) 388-8062 or by e-mail at

The El Camino Real Derby is one of the most prestigious races in Northern California every year and has Triple Crown implications. The winner of the El Camino Real Derby receives 10 Kentucky Derby points and an all expenses paid, free berth into the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes.


 Horseplayers will be hard pressed to find the winner of Race 8 on Saturday, a first level allowance for sprinters. Contention runs deep, with a majority of the entrants seemingly in with a reasonable chance to win the six-furlong contest.

2-1 morning line favorite Terry’s Boy draws the rail. After a runner up finish behind next out winner Star Racer at this level on December 10, the Washington bred failed to fire in his most recent afternoon appearance on January 14. A repeat of his December effort makes him a major player while a similar run from last time makes him an obviously vulnerable morning line favorite.

Disko Tribute was a game winner in a better than average starter allowance race and returned to finish as the runner up behind Star Racer at 24-1 on January 14. He earned a career high Beyer speed figure (84) that day and looks to rebound off a three-week turnaround for trainer Reid France.

California-bred Playing Hardball is eligible to win at this condition once more after a decisive win at the level on August 28. Since then, the son of Hard Spun has placed third in a pair of races against similar company. The same rule applies for Lmlooknformischief, who won at this level on December 26. Bred in the Golden State, the Faith Taylor trainee checked in fifth behind Star Racer and Disko Tribute after breaking slowly from the gate last time out.

I’m A Lucky Man is the least experienced entrant in the field with just two starts to his name. Yet, the Jamey Thomas trainee has shown ability in both races and appears as one to keep a close eye on. The bay sprinter won at first asking against a tough group of maiden special weight foes on November 20 and followed up with a rallying third place finish after breaking slowly from the gate against an allowance group last month. I’m Dr O also makes his third start in the current form cycle for Ed Moger Jr. The son of Clubhouse Ride freshens up 5 weeks after a runner up finish to Lmlooknformischief on December 26.

Likely longshot Bandera Azteca makes his 2023 debut. Last year, the Victor Trujillo trainee failed to be competitive in five first level allowance races which were restricted to 3-year-olds. Bandera Azteca makes his 4-year-old debut on Saturday. Conundrum completes the field. He cuts back from a route to a sprint but will need to improve off recent form.

First post is 12:45 PM on a 9-race card this Saturday.

Race 8 on Saturday (First level allowance at six furlongs for 4-year-olds and up on Tapeta)

#1 Terry’s Boy (Jockey Armando Ayuso…trainer Tim McCanna…morning line odds of…2-1)

#2 Conundrum (Alexander Chavez…Mike Lenzini…15-1)

#3 Lmlooknformischief (Irving Orozco…Faith Taylor…9-2)

#4 I’m a Lucky Man (Brayan Pena…Jamey Thomas…10-1)

#5 I’m Dr O (Alejandro Gomez…Ed Moger Jr…6-1)

#6 Bandera Azteca (Santos Rivera…Victor Trujillo…20-1)

#7 Disko Tribute (Assael Espinoza…Reid France…8-1)

#8 Playing Hardball (William Antongeorgi III…Andy Mathis…10-1)

#9 Should Be Illegal (Evin Roman…Steve Sherman…5-1)


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 6: Exclusive Speaker (New trainer Jack Steiner…new owner Michael Radovich)

Race 6: My Sunshine (Owner/Trainer Guillermo Preciado)

Race 8: Bronze Warrior (Gary Greiner…Renee Greiner)

Race 8: Walking Boss (Aggie Ordonez…McLean Racing Stables)


Race 1: Count Asher (Sammy Calvario…Bits N Bubbles Racing)

Race 2: Roaring Tiger (D. Wayne Baker…Rollercoaster Racing Stable LLC and Baker)

Race 2: Roister (Jamey Thomas…Lamonte Isom)

Race 4: Beachgrass (Owner/Trainer Reid France)

Race 5: Saxon Saga (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott and Steiner)

Race 7: Daniella Bella (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables and Clay Sides)


Race 1: Loki of Asgard (Aggie Ordonez…McLean Racing Stables)

Race 6: Bettor Trip Nick (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott and Steiner) 

FINISH LINES: The Ed Moger Jr. trained Stilleto Boy went to the front, relinquished the lead in upper stretch, but held third in an admirable effort in the $3,000,000 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park last Saturday. Stilleto Boy earned $280,000 for his third-place finish and has made just over $1.1 million since being purchased by owner Steve Moger for $420,000 in July of 2021…On Friday, 8-year-old gelding Honeymoonz Over seeks his 19th lifetime victory in Race 1, a $32,000 claimer…oHH Saturday’s third race, a maiden special weight for 3-year-olds, features a handful of high-priced youngsters. Acero is a firster by Gun Runner trained by Peter Miller and owned by Peter Redekop who was purchased for $475,000. Jam Session is conditioned by Michael McCarthy and was bought for $280,000. El Bromista is a second time starter from the Blaine Wright barn who dropped the hammer at $160,000…Stakes winner Royal ‘n Rando faces Southern California shipper Mr. Impossible and the Manny Badilla trained pair of Black Caspian and Dulas in Race 4, a second level allowance at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta this Sunday…$6,575 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager on Friday.