Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, September 15


6-year-old gelding Give Me the Lute Is proving to be a home-run claim for trainer Andy Mathis and owners Rod and Wendy Hogan. Since being claimed for the hefty price of $80,000 in 2019, the son of Boisterous has racked up $196,388 in earnings, won the Albany Stakes twice, and placed second in the Grade 3 Green Flash Handicap behind Lieutenant Dan, who returned to finish as the runner up in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint.

“He’s been good to us,” said Mathis.

This Friday, Give Me the Lute competes in the featured third race on Friday, an open allowance for 3-year-olds and upward at five furlongs on the turf. The last time we saw him race, Give Me the Lute finished fourth in a third-level allowance at Del Mar. In June, he won the Albany Stakes for the second consecutive year. This Friday’s afternoon appearance will be his third start of 2022.

Give Me the Lute has won five times, with one second and one third place finish, from seven lifetime starts over the Golden Gate turf. Mathis feels that Give Me the Lute thrives at Golden Gate.

“He really likes this course,” said Mathis. “He chased some really nice horses last time [at Del Mar]. We entered him in a race at Del Mar towards the end of the meet, but he got on the also-eligible list and didn’t get into the race. We rerouted to this spot. We’ve had to be patient, so he’s ready.”

Irving Orozco, who rode Give Me the Lute to both career stakes wins, retains the mount on Friday.

“[Give Me the Lute] is built pretty long,” said Mathis. “Every time Irving has ridden him, he’s done a really good job of just letting him get into that big, long stride. I have a lot of confidence in Irving. I don’t tell him too much in the paddock. He’ll call the shots and he knows this horse as well as anyone. But there aren’t any secrets of how this horse is going to run.”

Give Me the Lute, who breaks from the rail post position on Sunday, has been on the lead in nine of his last 10 races.

Among the main competitors facing Give Me the Lute on Friday is Carolina Mia, who put up her A+ effort when second-beaten just a neck-to Give Me the Lute in the June 11 Albany Stakes. The Sammy Calvario trained pair of Ultimate Bango and Psycho Dar also appear as formidable foes. Ultimate Bango won the Lost in the Fog Stakes on Tapeta in April while Psycho Dar finished third in the Albany Stakes. Stakes winner Dr. Pescado makes his first start since an off-the-board finish in the El Camino Real Derby over the winter.

“This is a good field of horses, and [Give Me the Lute] didn’t beat them by much in June,” said Mathis. “He is not a lock. He needs to run his race to win.”

Mathis is back home in the Bay Area after a fantastic summer meet at Del Mar. At the seaside oval, Mathis won with 12 of his 41 starters. That equates to a 29%-win rate.

“I thought we had some good horses that would run well, but not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined we could have the meet we did [at Del Mar],” reflected Mathis. “It hasn’t even sunk in yet. That meet is probably not something I can duplicate again. Things have to work out, and you need to get lucky. There are so many factors that go into winning races, especially at a place like Del Mar. I have a ton of respect for the trainers who compete down there. It’s a competitive meet and a hard meet to win races.”

To put things in perspective, Mathis claimed 3 horses at Golden Gate and won with all of them at Del Mar. Mathis’s 12 winners came with 10 different horses. Among them: multiple California-bred turf winner Kings River Knight, undefeated Tiger Spice, maiden special weight winner To Speight Her, and stakes placed router Tom’s Surprise.

Race 3 on Friday (Open allowance at five furlongs on turf for 3-year-olds and up)

#1 Give Me the Lute (Jockey Irving Orozco…trainer Andy Mathis…morning line odds of 7-5)

#2 Ultimate Bango (Catalino Martinez …Sammy Calvario …5-2)

#3 Psycho Dar (Armando Ayuso…Sammy Calvario …7-2)

#4 Carolina Mia (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…3-1)

#5 Dr Pescado (Catalino Martinez…Felix Rondan…8-1)


The Great Britain bred Natural Colour wowed race watchers with an emphatic four and three-quarter length victory in her last start, the Luther Burbank Stakes at Santa Rosa. A month and a half later, she freshens up and posts a 59 flat bullet workout leading up to the marquee race of the weekend at Golden Gate, the $50,000 Golden Gate Turf Distaff.

Since being purchased from overseas by owners Ron Charles and Sam Gordon, Natural Colour is three for four in the United States. Her lone loss came when finishing fifth behind multiple Grade 3 winner Niege Blanche at Santa Anita. Pedro Terrero, aboard for all three stateside victories, is back aboard the 4-year-old filly by Exceed and Excel.

Two Southern California shippers are part of the field of nine. Both invaders are projected to get wagering support. The 5-2 morning line favorite is Charges Dropped, who adds blinkers for trainer Michael McCarthy and local jockey Assael Espinoza. As of late, Charges Dropped has been battling for minor awards in second level allowance races at Santa Anita and Del Mar. She looks to pick up “black type” for her connections.

The last time Sassyserb visited the winners circle, she won at Golden Gate on Gold Rush Weekend. That day, she defeated a salty group of second level allowance foes. Trained by Southern California conditioner George Papaprodromou, the California-bred exits a pair of off-the-board finishes against stakes company at Del Mar and faces a lighter group in the Golden Gate Turf Distaff. Armando Ayuso is scheduled to ride.

For white-hot trainer Jack Steiner, Tiz an Edventure has won four in a row-three of those efforts for the Steiner barn-and seeks to stretch out her win streak to five. The daughter of Tiznow won a second level allowance at Golden Gate on August 26 and wheels back in three weeks for her stakes debut while sporting career best form.

Trainer Steve Specht campaigns a duo of entrants in Tam’s Little Angel and Ellamira. Both are 3-year-old fillies facing older foes. Tam’s Little Angel is a versatile stakes winner; she has won on turf, dirt and synthetic. Over the summer, the Larry and Marianne Williams homebred went gate to wire against older companions in the She’s a Tiger Stakes at Pleasanton on dirt. Stablemate Ellamira won the Campanile Stakes for California-breds in May and enters this race off a three-and-a-half-month vacation.

Multiple stakes winner Northwest Factor figures to set the pace. The grey/roan mare finished third behind barn buddy Natural Colour in the Luther Burbank and was four lengths slower than Tam’s Little Angel in the She’s a Tiger Stakes earlier in the summer. Strike At Dawn and Misty Cat complete the field of nine.

The Golden Gate Turf Distaff goes as Race 8 on a 9-race program at Golden Gate. First post on Saturday is 1:45 PM PT. 

Race 8 on Saturday (Golden Gate Turf Distaff on turf for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up)

#1 Charges Dropped (Jockey Assael Espinoza…trainer Michael McCarthy…morning line odds 5-2)

#2 Misty Cat (Santos Rivera…Dan Franko …20-1)

#3 Tam’s Little Angel (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht …8-1)

#4 Natural Colour (Pedro Terrero…Manny Badilla…3-1)

#5 Northwest Factor (Irving Orozco…Many Badilla …8-1)

#6 Strike At Dawn (Silvio Amador…Blaine Wright …10-1)

#7 Ellamira (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht…10-1)

#8 Tiz an Edventure (Evin Roman…Jack Steiner…5-1)

#9 Sassyserb (Armando Ayuso…George Papaprodromou…9-2)


Jockey Armando Ayuso is back in the Bay Area and set to resume riding at Golden Gate Fields for the foreseeable future. Ayuso rode at Los Alamitos Racecourse in June and early July and competed at the recently concluded Del Mar summer meet.

Ayuso finished third in the jockey standings at the Golden Gate Winter/Spring meet with 72 wins from 367 mounts (20%-win rate). Among his top mounts this year: Camilla Urso Stakes winner Sadie Bluegrass, multiple stakes placed sprinter Psycho Dar, and flashy gelding Tom’s Surprise. Ayuso is represented by agent Tom “Bomber” Doutrich.

In other jockey news, apprentice rider Adrian Escobedo has shipped his tack from Southern California and begins riding at Golden Gate this weekend. He has one mount for trainer Gary Greiner on Saturday and another for Jamey Thomas on Sunday. Escobedo, who rides with a 7-pound weight allowance, has won 12 races from 113 lifetime mounts. He will be represented by agent Jay Robinson.


Below is a list of claims from last week.


Race 2: Aplombado (New trainer Isidro Tamayo…new owner Leon Scott)

Race 4: Bandeena (Ed Moger Jr…Steve Moger)

Race 4: Starship Endeavor (Blaine Wright…Tracy and Paula Henline)

Race 5: Bold Daughter (Blaine Wright…Blaine D. Wright Racing Stable LLC, Michael Dermody, and Eric Kenneally)


Race 1: Betito (Jonathan Wong…Batlte Born Racing Stable)

Race 1: Our Expectation (Isidro Tamayo..Leon Scott)

Race 1: That’s Bind Babe (Gary Greiner…Desiree and Renee Greiner)


Race 1: Amadmadworld (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)

FINISH LINES: With two more weeks to go at the summer meet, jockey Evin Roman has a 14-13-win lead over Assael Espinoza in the jockey standings. Pedro Terrero is right behind them win 10 victories…Trainer Jonathan Wong has a 7-6 lead in the trainer standings over Jack Steiner. Victor Trujillo and Steve Sherman both have 5 wins apiece and are tied for third…The nightcap on Friday (Race 8) is “The Spirit of Sliveyville,” named after the Bruce Headley trained million-dollar earner who raced in the early and mid 1980’s. A 14-time stakes winner and a five time graded stakes winner, he won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 1981, was victorious in the San Francisco Mile the following year, and finished first in the Rolling Green Stakes in 1983. The Spirit of Silveyville on Friday is a starter allowance condition for 3-year-olds and upward, run at one mile and a half on Tapeta…Another starter allowance on Sunday, named “The Spirit of Brown Bess,” is named after the Chuck Jenda trained mare who won 12 stakes, including three grade ones. The race is for fillies and mares at one mile and an eighth on Tapeta…Two divisions of a first level allowance field are co-featured events on the Sunday card. The first division (Race 6) features Del Mar winner Cees Get Degrees and the well-bred Murphy’s Tiger…The second division (Race 9) includes the Steve Miyadi trained Johnny Podres and Lmlooknformischief…Classy sprinter Rebalation is back on the worktab after taking a spring and summer hiatus. She drilled 3 furlongs on Thursday morning for trainer Tim McCanna…The Golden Pick Jackpot carryover has climbed to $27,510 heading into Friday’s program.