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


Go to Europe, find a horse with decent form, send them to Golden Gate, and win.

That is the unique strategy that owners Ron Charles and Sam Gordon have applied when picking out winning racehorses for their stable at Golden Gate Fields.

Charles and Gordon may have another good one with 5-year-old gelding Dulas, who makes his second start for the ownership duo and trainer Manny Badilla in the seventh race on Friday, a second level allowance. Dulas is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line.

A son of Raven’s Pass, Dulas was purchased for $50,586 at Newmarket’s Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-training sale last October. In the first start for his North American connections on December 31, Dulas stalked the pace and ran third in a large field of 11, defeated only by stakes winner American Farmer and multiple stakes placed Tesoro.

“I thought he ran huge the other day,” said Badilla. “He lost to some real runners. It was his first start going over seven furlongs. Ron [Charles] couldn’t figure out why he never tried routing in Europe. Ron thought this horse would love routing and he sure looked good doing it the other day.”

Santos Rivera guided Dulas to a third-place finish in December and retains the mount. Badilla expects Rivera to put Dumas into the race out of the gate.

“He’ll be close to the pace,” said Badilla. “He went the mile just fine. We’ll see how he goes the mile and an eighth. I like my horse, but this is a good race. Jungle Cry is the one [to beat]. He’s a good horse.”

There is no doubt that Jungle Cry is the class of the field. Set as the 8-5 morning line favorite, Jungle Cry makes his second start of the year after a third-place finish behind Grade 3 Berkley Handicap winner Freeport Joe and All-American Stakes victor Navy Armed Guard in an allowance race on January 2. Last year, Jungle Cry won the Robert Dupret Derby and subsequently ran second to multiple stakes winner Camino Del Paraiso in his next start.

Another notable entrant in Friday’s feature is Santa Anita stakes winner Jimmy Blue Jeans, who took home the gold medal in the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes last spring. In his most recent afternoon appearance, the California-bred by James Street finished off the board in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on September 4. Jimmy Blue Jeans sports a half-dozen workouts leading up to his 2022 debut for trainer Andy Mathis, including a bullet-six-furlong drill on January 7.

Eight races are on the docket for Friday, with first post set at the traditional time of 12:45 PM.

Race 7 on Saturday (Second level allowance for 4-year-olds at one mile on Tapeta)

#1 Governor’s Party (Jockey Irving Orozco…trainer Dan Franco…morning line odds of 12-1)

#2 Dulas (Santos Rivera…Manny Badilla…2-1)

#3 Jimmy Blue Jeans (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis…8-1)

#4 Ready Say Go (Evin Roman…Sherrie Monroe…8-1)

#5 Descartes (Ruben Fuentes…Sammy Calvario…10-1)

#6 Wine and Whisky (Cristobal Herrera…Felix Rondan…5-1)

#7 Jungle Cry (Armando Ayuso…Steve Specht…8-5)


Saturday’s seventh race, a first level allowance for fillies and mares at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta, attracts a diverse mix of talent. In what appears as a wide-open race, there is little margin for error.

The top two finishers in a December 10 allowance race, Sherilinda and Buyback, are set for a rematch in the Saturday feature. Both will be supported at the betting windows. Sherilinda, who won December’s stretch battle by a neck, makes her fourth start off the claim for trainer Andy Mathis. Since being claimed by Mathis for $12,500 in August, two of her three starts have resulted in trips to the winner’s circle.

“She broke her maiden on the Tapeta a few years ago and ran really well that day,” said Mathis. “After that, she never got back on [the Tapeta] again. I wanted to put her back on it to see how she’d do.”

Mathis says he will let Frank Alvarado, aboard Saturday after steering Sherilinda to victory on December 10, make the calls during the race.

“I’m going to stay out of the way,” quipped Mathis. “They did well last time so I’m going to let them do their thing. The only thing I’m concerned about is we’re giving up some weight [5 to 7 pounds to the other competitors]. There isn’t a lot separating these horses in this race and I think the 7 pounds could make a difference. But sometimes you overthink these things. She’s doing really well and she’s in good form, so we’re going to give it a go and see what happens.”

Buyback, up close to a moderate pace before getting run down late by Sherilinda, put up a respectable showing in the December appearance. In one other prior race at the first level allowance condition on Tapeta, Buyback finished a nose behind the winner. Trainer Blaine Wright is hoping Buyback can finally break through with a win.

“In a couple of her races, we took her back a little bit and she just didn’t finish as strong as we would’ve liked,” said Wright. “I told [jockey] Pedro [Terrero] last time, ‘Just let her run and see what happens.’ And she ran a really good race. What we’ve learned about her is she doesn’t want to be taken a hold of too much. When we just let her run, she runs her best. So, that’s what we’re going to let her do.

After her last race, we gave her a few weeks off at Premier [Thoroughbreds Farm]. She went swimming in the pool there and freshened up. She had a really nice work the other morning [on January 15].”

Trainer Steve Sherman saddles 33% of the field, with 2 of the 6 entrants in the race coming from his shedrow. The first of the pair, Assignation, was a 4-length maiden special weight winner on turf in December. Her only other Northern California start resulted in a runner up finish to Ghostly Gal, who returned to run second at the same condition Assignation runs in on Saturday.

“When you go from maidens to a first level allowance, it’s a big step up,” said Sherman. “She’s never raced over the synthetic before. You never really know how they’ll run over it until they try it, but she’s been working steady over the track. She’ll probably be pretty close to the pace.”

Sherman’s Miss Ever Ready is set to tackle tougher company after a starter allowance victory in November. That day, she ran past Sky On Ice, who wheeled back to win her next start about a month later. Sherman noted that Miss Ever Ready has been a work in progress.

“She can be a little bit tricky to ride,” said Sherman. “She used to run with her head out and didn’t run straight at times, but we’ve worked with her on that, and she’s gotten a lot better. She’s a grinder. She’ll be sitting off and making one run. Going a mile and a sixteenth, I really believe that will help her. I actually think it will help both my fillies. They’ll like a little more ground.”

Southern California based Brittle and Yoo ships North and gets back to routing after a fifth-place finish sprinting in December for trainer Ron Ellis. Her last route race, in a specialized optional claiming/starter allowance condition on October 22 at Santa Anita, ended in an easy victory. Jockey Ruben Fuentes picks up the assignment

Rounding out the field is Back On the Street, who routed for the first time in her last start and finished two lengths behind race-winner Scherzo. The aforementioned rival returned in the Grade 3 Astra Stakes last Sunday at Santa Anita and placed third.

First post on Saturday’s 9-race program is 12:45 PM.

Race 8 on Saturday (First level allowance for fillies and mares 4-year-olds at one mile on Tapeta)

#1 Sherilinda (Jockey Frank Alvarado…trainer Andy Mathis…morning line odds of 5-2)

#2 Buyback (Pedro Terrero…Blaine Wright…2-1)

#3 Brittle and Yoo (Ruben Fuentes…Ron Ellis…3-1)

#4 Back On the Street (Armando Ayuso…Jonathan Wong…10-1)

#5 Miss Ever Ready (Irving Orozco…Steve Sherman…8-1

#6 Assignation (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman..9-2)


Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap winner Freeport Joe and 2020 All American Stakes winner Navy Armed Guard dead heated on January 2. Three weeks later, they are set for a rematch in Sunday’s seventh race, an open allowance race for 4-year-olds and upward at one mile.

Since the dead heat on January 2, Freeport Joe breezed a “nice and easy” 3 furlongs for trainer Gloria Haley on January 14. Assael Espinoza, who rode Freeport Joe to victory in the Berkeley, retains the mount. Navy Armed Guard worked a half mile on January 16, breezing four furlongs in 49.40 seconds under the watchful eye of trainer Quinn Howey.Regular rider Frank Alvarado is back aboard for Sunday’s race.

Set to face the two “heavyweights” is American Farmer, who won a second level allowance race last month and takes a bump up in class. In Our A, a classy sprinter who tried routing for the first time on January 2 and ran fourth behind Freeport Joe and Navy Armed Guard, seeks to improve in his second career race at two turns. Front runner Descartes and synthetic specialist Harmon complete the field of six.

Live racing on Sunday begins at 12:45 PM PT. Nine races made the overnight.

Race 7 on Sunday (Allowance for 4-year-olds and upward at one mile on Tapeta)

#1 Harmon (Jockey Julien Couton…trainer Monty Meier)

#2 Navy Armed Guard (Frank Alvarado…Quinn Howey)

#3 American Farmer (Pedro Terrero…Steve Sherman)

#4 Descartes (Ruben Fuentes…Sammy Calvario)

#5 Freeport Joe (Assael Espinoza…Gloria Haley)

#6 In Our A (Cristobal Herrera…Ellen Jackson)


Below is a list of claims from last week


Race 2: Awesome Dude (New trainer Marcelino Trujillo…new owners Nancy Salas-Ibarra and Floriberta Trujillo)

Race 6: Big City Bane (Jonathan Wong…owners Johnny Taboada and Marcel Taboada)


Race 1: Bernalinho (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott)

Race 2: Continental Union (Isidro Tamayo…Timothy Francis O’Leary and Tamayo)

Race 7: Autism Blue (Reid France…Albert and Kathleen Mattivi LLC)


Race 1: Hayden’s Angel (Monty Meier…Brown Cattle Co.)


Race 2: Excessive Cat (Reid France…Hat Trick Racing)

Race 2: Luck Is Golden (Monty Meier…Brown Cattle Co. and William Branch)

Race 4: Seaside Dancer (Tim Bellasis…Dino Bongi and Bellasis)

Race 6: Bigfoot City (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott and Steiner)

Race 6: Prince de Prince (Victor Trujillo…Lester Hunsucker)

FINISH LINES: Irving Orozco leads the jockey colony in wins at the current meeting with 14. Pedro Terrero (13 wins) sits right on his tail, followed by Frank Alvarado (11) and Armando Ayuso (10)…Not much change in the trainer standings since last week, with Jonathan Wong (12 wins), Isidro Tamayo (7) and Steve Specht (6) compiling the top three spots…Fun pedigree facts for our readers in the next few lines! Vasco makes her first career start in Friday’s nightcap, a maiden special weight, for trainer O.J. Jauregui. Vasco is by leading California freshman sire Straight Fire and out of stakes winner and Grade 2 placed sprinter American Lady…The morning line favorite in the Friday nightcap is Autism Innocence, out of 342k earner and Grade 2 placed turf router Kathleen RoseWell done to 9-year-old pro Camino Del Paraiso, who finished second in the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic at one mile and an eighth last Saturday. He earned $38,000 for the runner up finish, raising his career earnings past the $600,000 mark…$20,598 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager heading into Friday’s card…Leg E (the last leg) of the Stronach 5 wager goes as the third race on FridayHappy birthday to jockey Brayan Pena, who celebrates his birthday this week.