PLENTY OF STORY LINES TO FOLLOW IN 5-FURLONG ALBANY STAKES ON SATURDAY
A full field of 10, which includes a pair of supplemental entrants, is signed on to compete in the final stakes race of the Winter/Spring meet: the $50,000 Albany Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward at five furlongs on turf this Saturday.
We start with the defending champion Give Me the Lute, who won off a 7-month layoff in last year’s Albany. That day, he went to the lead, set fast fractions, and rolled home to a three-quarter length victory over 4-time stakes winner Brandothebartender. Give Me the Lute sports six workouts leading up 6-year-old debut, including a pair of fast drills in the past two weeks.
Give Me the Lute drew the outside post in the field of 10. The race has attracted some very quick front runners, like himself. Trainer Andy Mathis says, at this point, the only thing he hopes is that Give Me the Lute runs his best.
“His last workout [4 furlongs in 47.60 seconds] was exceptional,” said Mathis. “I’m not going to overthink and instruct [jockey Irving] Orozco too much. He knows this horse. In racing, you never know how things are going go. Sometimes you have a Plan A, you break bad, and you need to go to Plan B. This is a very fast horse. He’s gone 20 and 43 and change before and kept going. If he runs his best race, I’ll be happy.”
Mathis also saddles Perfectionistic, who was well beaten in his last start routing on turf. Mathis remains optimistic he can perform much better cutting back in distance.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted in his last start, but if you watch the race, you’ll see he has a really nice way of going over the turf,” said Mathis. “I just really liked the way he was traveling over the turf that day. He’ll be coming from off the pace. If the pace is really fast, then it wouldn’t surprise me if he came with a big run especially if the front runners start to get a little tired late in the game.”
Mathis may know the Albany Stakes trophy like the back of his hand. Mathis has won the last three runnings, scoring wins in 2019 and 2020 with Mikes Tiznow. In the 2020 edition, Mikes Tiznow was coming off a year layoff, having last been seen winning the 2019 Albany.
“We’re going for four,” said Mathis. “I’m pleased with how both my horses are doing.”
Then we have trainer Sammy Calvario, eagerly awaiting to run two stable stars back on turf. The first is Ultimate Bango, who was claimed by owner Mary Tucker and Calvario on April 1 for $32,000 at Santa Anita. He wheeled back almost a month later in the Lost in the Fog Stakes and won the race at odds of 22-1.
“When I claimed him, I really liked that he had run two really good races on the Tapeta in the past,” said Calvario. “He had run well at Golden Gate before. I was 75% sure he could win [the Lost in the Fog] and he ran great. He came out of the race good and he’s been doing well. I like him a lot in this race. I like him even a little more in this race than the last one, actually.”
Calvario also starts Psycho Dar, another acquisition by Tucker and Calvario out of a $25,000 claiming race in December at Santa Anita. After the claim, Psycho Dar won a pair of first level allowance races at Golden Gate decisively, came up a length short in the El Dorado Shooter Stakes, and failed to fire in a specialized starter allowance at Santa Anita in his most recent start on March 11. He freshens up two months and gets back to turf, a surface he was won over three times over.
“He has done really well for us,” said Calvario. “We claimed him for the same reason we claimed Ultimate Bango. He had run well up here before for another trainer. In his last start at Santa Anita, he came out of the race with a foot abscess. We had to give him a little time. He’s doing well now. He will be close to the pace.”
A mare defeating the boys? There are two possibilities where that could happen. The likely lower-odds racer of the two is the Felix Rondan trained Carolina Mia. Carolina Mia exits an open allowance race sprinting five furlongs on grass in which she defeated Day Plan, a next-out winner last Sunday against open allowance rivals on Tapeta. Carolina Mia’s lone loss in four races at the five-furlong distance on turf came in the Camilla Urso Stakes, a race in which she finished behind the three fastest filly and mare sprinters in Northern California: Sadie Bluegrass, Rebalation, and Dynasty of Her Own.
5-year-old mare Away From the Sun makes her 5-year-old debut for owner/trainer Blaine Wright. She was not nominated to the race originally and has been supplemented by Wright for $100. Away From the Sun won three consecutive races to kick off her career before running third as a heavy favorite in her first career loss in May of last year. She hasn’t been seen in 13 months but posts a quintet of five-furlong drills for this race.
Another supplemental entrant is War Games, trained by 90-year-old veteran Cliff DeLima. DeLima. War Games has been an admirable racer in the Bay Area, with hard-trying efforts time and time again. Two weeks ago, he was dueled into submission in the one mile All American Stakes after setting wicked fast fractions of 22.35 and 45.60. He cuts back from a route to a sprint and makes his first career start on turf. Six of seven lifetime wins by War Games have come at one turn.
10 Golden Gate races on Saturday kick off at 1:15 PM. Fans on track can watch and wager on other racetracks across the country like Belmont Park, which has 9 stakes races on Saturday including the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade I Belmont Stakes at one mile and a half. Gates open at 9 AM on Saturday for simulcast wagering.
Race 8: $50,000 Albany Stakes (for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf)
#1 I’mgonnabesomebody (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…Trainer Bill McLean…morning line 20-1)
#2 War Games (Francisco Duran…Cliff DeLima…5-1)
#3 Big Duke (Alejandro Gomez…Sergio Ledezma…30-1)
#4 Ultimate Bango (Pedro Terrero…Sammy Calvario…7-2)
#5 Carolina Mia (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…8-1)
#6 Hey Mate (Evin Roman…Bill McLean…12-1)
#7 Perfectionistic (Frank Alvarado…Andy Mathis…10-1)
#8 Away From the Sun (Daniel Vergara…Blaine Wright…15-1)
#9 Psycho Dar (Armando Ayuso…Sammy Calvario…6-1)
#10 Give Me the Lute (Irving Orozco…Andy Mathis…2-1)
MANDATORY PAYOUTS THIS CLOSING DAY SUNDAY
The 75-day Winter/Spring meet at Golden Gate concludes this Sunday, June 12. With that, mandatory payouts will be in play throughout the afternoon.
Races 5-10 comprise the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager, a 20-cent minimum bet. Friday’s carryover amount in the Pick 6 jackpot pool sits a $19,560. If there fails to be a Pick Six jackpot winner on Friday and Saturday, the carryover amount will be larger by mandatory payout Sunday. Track officials expect a half-million-dollar pool in the Pick Six.
Both Pick 5 wagers are mandatory payout bets. The Early Pick 5 is a popular wager with its low 14% takeout. The sequence is Races 1-5. The Late Pick 5 consists of the last five races on the card. Both wagers are 50-cent minimum wagers.
The Rolling Super High Five bet will have a mandatory payout in the last race of the day. The bet involves correctly tabbing the first five finishers in a race in which the wager is offered.
The first race on our 10-race Closing Day card kicks off at 1:15 PM PT.
JOCKEY RACE HEATS UP WITH THREE MORE RACING DAYS TO GO
The battle for top jockey at the current Winter/Spring meet comes down to two riders with one week left to go.
24-year-old Evin Roman leads the way with 79 trips to the winners circle so far this meet. A native of Puerto Rico, Roman won the Eclipse Award for Top Apprentice Jockey of 2019 and has already won jockey titles at multiple California tracks including Golden Gate and Santa Anita.
Mexico native Pedro Terrero is two wins behind Roman with 77. At age 37, Terrero has been a mainstay rider in the Bay Area for over a decade and won his first riding title at the 2021 Fall Meet. Terrero has ridden the most horses out of any jockey at the meet with 451 mounts.
In the trainer standings, Jonathan Wong has a 68-48-win lead over runner up Isidro Tamayo in the trainer standings. Tommy Town Thoroughbreds has the most victories out of any owner so far with 16. Larry and Marianne Williams (14 wins) and Johnny Taboada (12) are right behind.
Below is a list of claims from last week
Race 2: Counting Cards (New trainer Victor Trujillo…new owners Kenneth Seastrom and Trujillo)
Race 3: Circle of Royalty (Owner/Trainer Reid France)
Race 4: Kiss Ride Goodbye (Owner/Trainer Jim Gilmour)
Race 4: Stand in Your Love (Jose Puentes…Maria Valenzuela and Puentes)
Race 6: Holy Ghost (Jack Steiner…Randy Marriott and Steiner)
Race 6: Lookin for Revenge (Ruby Thomas…Donald Jacklin and Dave Wood)
Race 3: Hypersonic (D. Wayne Baker…Bart Wood and Baker)
Race 5: Loud Fusaichi (Owner/Trainer Victor Trujillo)
Race 5: Tura Lura (Isidro Tamayo…Raymond Brogliatti and Michael and Dorothy Fried)
Race 6: J T’s Creditcard (Reid France…Albert and Kathleen Mattivi LLC)
Race 6: Lemon Zinger (Gary Greiner…Renee Greiner)
Race 2: Tiz Vicious (Jamey Thomas…Troy Thomas)
Race 7: Grigoro (Isidro Tamayo…Alvaro Gonzalez and Johnny Taboada)
Race 7: Stateforest (Jamey Thomas…Troy Thomas)
Race 8: She’s So Shiny (Tim McCanna…Gary L. Jackson)
Race 9: Holiday Arousal (Jonathan Wong…Clay Sides and Gary Winters)
Race 9: Safe Combination (Owner/Trainer Reid France)
FINISH LINES: The first race on Saturday for 2-year-old fillies features the debut of 7-5 morning line favorite Electric Lettuce, an LNJ Foxwoods homebred by Straight Fire whose second dam is 2009 Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) winner She Be Wild…A high quality card has been assembled for Saturday. Three maiden allowance races, three allowance races, and the Albany are seven of the ten races on the program…The featured sixth race on Sunday, a second level allowance at one mile on turf, features Southern California shipper Crew Dragon, who ran second in the Oceanside Stakes last year at Del Mar for trainer John Sadler. Also entered: stakes winner Jungle Cry, stakes placed allowance winner Seattle Bold, the speedy Mohawk King, classy Tom’s Surprise, and consistent Long Lance…7-length Golden Gate maiden winner Lexington Humor makes her debut against winners for trainer Jonathan Wong in the sixth race on Saturday at Santa Anita: an allowance race for 3-year-old fillies at about six and one-half furlongs on the downhill turf course…Speaking of Jonathan Wong, he is two wins shy of career victory 1,000 as a trainer…Trainer Steve Specht is six wins away from career win 1,500…Happy belated birthday to trainer Steve Miyadi, who celebrated his birthday on Wednesday…Happy birthday to trainer Greg James, who celebrates his birthday this week…Thank you to our horsemen and our frontside staff for their hard work, and our fans and horseplayers for their commitment to Golden Gate Fields. We hope you have a fruitful couple months and look forward to seeing you back for the summer meet in August!