Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, September 23, 2022


In the second half of every year, trainers pay close attention to their 2-year-olds in hopes of finding a future star (or two or three) in the bunch. In Race 3 this Friday at Golden Gate, 2-year-old fillies who have already shown ability and the will to win are entered in a first level allowance. A victory in a race like this will likely lead to a try against stakes company later in the fall.

Among those signed up for the third race on Friday is Juana Gallo, the only two-time winner in the field. By late California-stallion Coach Bob, Juana Gallo kicked off her career with back-to-back runaway victories. Both races were run over dirt on the Northern California fair circuit. She makes her first ever start over the main track Tapeta, though trainer Felix Rondan does not believe the surface swap will be an issue.

“She’s ready,” said Rondan. “She’s doing good. We have always liked her. She is training good [on the Tapeta].”

Juana Gallo faces her toughest task to date. A player who figures to make things interesting is Honorable Gal, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Honor Code who broke her maiden at first asking on September 3 against numerous well-regarded fillies. That afternoon, Honorable Gal set the pace and never looked back, beating the runner up finisher by a length. Jonathan Wong trains the Tommy Town Thoroughbreds homebred.

“She showed us a lot more in her first race than she did in the mornings,” said Wong. “She showed more speed in that race than she did in the mornings. Felix’s filly is pretty fast. We’ll play it by the break this time. She can go to the lead but if she sits right off the pace, that would be fine too.”

Trainer Steve Specht entered two competitors in the third race on Friday: A Rousing Babe and Rousing Jewel. A Rousing Babe is a maiden, having just run fourth about a month ago in her career debut. Rousing Jewel was a dominant winner of a maiden special weight in May, was well beaten in her second lifetime start against stakes company at Santa Anita, and makes her third start on Friday while returning off a three-month break. One workout-a September 11th 59 seconds-flat drill on the Tapeta going five panels-screams off the page.

Majestic Oops completes the field. Trained by Ed Moger Jr., she finished as the runner up in her first two starts before breaking her maiden at Sacramento in her most recent afternoon appearance on July 29. She freshens up and draws the inside post position in the Friday feature.

This week, Golden Gate has three live race days-Friday, Saturday, and Sunday-with first post each day slated for 1:45 PM PT.

Race 3 on Friday (First level allowance for 3-year-old fillies at five and one-half furlongs

#1 Majestic Oops (Jockey Cristobal Herrera…Trainer Ed Moger Jr…morning line odds 7-2)

#2 Juana Gallo (Santos Rivera…Felix Rondan…2-1)

#3 A Rousing Babe (Catalino Martinez…Steve Specht…8-1)

#4 Honorable Gal (Assael Espinoza…Jonathan Wong…4-1)

#5 Rousing Jewel (Frank Alvarado…Steve Specht…8-5)


Last Saturday, 4-year-old filly Natural Colour picked up her second consecutive stakes trophy in the $50,000 Golden Gate Field Turf Distaff. Sent off as the 4-5 post time favorite, the European-bred daughter of Exceed and Excel stalked the pace before taking the lead in midstretch and fending off a late challenge from runner up finisher Charges Dropped. Natural Colour earned an 88 Beyer speed figure for the effort.

On Wednesday morning, trained Manny Badilla reported that Natural Colour came out of her race in excellent shape.

“She’s bobbing her head around. As happy as can be,” said Badilla. “She came out of the race great. She has a lot of energy.”

Badilla noted that the $80,000 Swingtime Stakes at Santa Anita is next on the docket. The race is on Sunday, October 9 and restricted to fillies and mares who have not won a first-place purse of $60,000 or more at a mile or farther in 2022.

Natural Colour is 4 for 5 since being purchased overseas in February for $24,233 by owners Ron Charles and Samuel Gordon. She has accrued earnings of $115,250 from those five U.S. starts. Earlier in the summer, Natural Colour won the Luther Burbank Handicap at Santa Rosa, and was a multiple allowance winner at the Golden Gate Winter/Spring meet. Her only loss came at Santa Anita in the Possibly Perfect Stakes, a race in which she suffered a far from ideal trip in the first part of the race.


By budding stallion Straight Fire out of stakes winner American Lady, 3-year-old filly Vasco sported a pedigree that handicappers and race fans were attracted to right away. On the racetrack, she showed promise too. Two of her first three lifetime starts-all on the Golden Gate Tapeta main track-were respectable efforts that resulted in narrow defeats.

But when trainer O.J. Jauregui tried Vasco over turf at Del Mar on August 6, the improvement was a “night and day” difference. She went to the lead, set solid fractions, and easily defeated a full field of California-bred allowance foes by over 2 lengths.

Three weeks later, Jauregui tried Vasco going five furlongs on the turf again-this time against California-bred allowance-caliber fillies and mares. She dueled on the lead with speedball and highly regarded filly Opening Buzz before tiring in the late stages. Finishing fourth in a field of 11 may be seen as an average effort at first glance, but given how much energy she had to use to keep up with Opening Buzz, she ran a fine race. In fact, she earned a career high Beyer speed figure for the fourth-place finish.

“She obviously liked the grass,” said Jauregui. “I think the distance really helped her, though. I believe that was the key.”

With that, Jauregui is following the old phrase, “Don’t try to fix what’s not broken.” In Race 7 this Friday at Golden Gate, going five furlongs on grass, Vasco runs against open company in a first level allowance.

In all five lifetime starts. Vasco has been on the lead. There is other speed signed on, which means an extremely hot pace is likely. Lotsa Pepper, who has shown the ability to run the first quarter mile in 20 seconds and change, drew the rail and is expected to gun it from the inside post position.

“Well, we’re not going to take back and make a run,” said Jauregui. “She’s a speedy filly, so she’s going to be close to the pace. If she were to lay second [off of Lotsa Pepper], I wouldn’t mind that. She will be showing her speed though.”

Jockey Julien Couton rode her in a race on April 30 at Golden Gate and has the call on Friday.

“Julien got to know this filly the last time he rode her,” said Jauregui. “He’ll be the one calling the shots during the race. Hopefully she breaks well, and he rides a smart race.”

Race 7 on Friday (First level allowance for fillies and mares at five furlongs on turf)

#1 Lotsa Pepper (Jockey Santos Rivera…Manny Badilla …morning line odds 7-2)

#2 Vasco (Julien Couton…O.J. Jauregui…7-2)

#3 La Aguililla (Armando Ayuso…Jesus Ramos…10-1)

#4 The Great Haynes (Assael Espinoza…Andy Mathis…4-1)

#5 Canam Gal (Pedro Terrero…Bill McLean…6-1)

#6 The Fun Begins (Francisco Monroy…Jesus Ramos…15-1)

#7 Miss Carousel (William Antongeorgi III…Edward Freeman…3-1)

#8 My Legal Bet (Evin Roman…Jamey Thomas…6-1)


Opening week of the 2022 Summer Meet saw rapidly improving A Man’s Man score a runaway first level allowance win. The official margin of victory was a half-dozen lengths. He was geared down late in the game by jockey Assael Espinoza.

In Race 7 on Saturday, A Man’s Man will attempt to make his fifth consecutive trip to the winner’s circle while taking the next logical bump up in class to the second level allowance condition. A Man’s Man also switches to turf, a surface in which he broke his maiden over in Southern California but has not competed on since December of 2021.

Five others line up to try to snap the win streak of A Man’s Man. One of them is Midnight Mammoth, who faces older foes after a half-length defeat against 3-year-old stakes company in the Robert Dupret Derby at Santa Rosa. In July at Pleasanton, Midnight Mammoth competed against older rivals at this level on dirt and finished a length behind I’mgonnabesomebody. The aforementioned gelding returned to win the Sam Spear Memorial Handicap earlier this month.

Black Caspian exits the Sam Spear Memorial when fifth best on the day. Over the summer at Santa Rosa, Black Caspian won a first level allowance race, and only finished three-quarters of a length behind A Man’s Man three races ago in a dirt route at Sacramento. Stablemate to last week’s stakes winner Natural Colour, Black Caspian looks to continue the positive momentum for trainer Manny Badilla and owners Ron Charles and Samuel Gordon.

Memo Daddy finished third behind Black Caspian at Santa Rosa. He will need to turn the tables on that rival while facing other tough shooters in this spot. He received a confidence booster just three weeks ago when defeating high level claiming company. One of the horses he beat that day was Irish-bred Mohawk King, likely to set the pace in Saturday’s feature race. Two races ago, he beat stakes winner American Farmer and hard-knocker Harmon in an open allowance race at Sacramento. He was not able to make the lead in the September 5 race and failed to fire.

C’Mon Man rounds out the field. Most recently, he was beaten by Midnight Mammoth in the Robert Dupret Derby and freshens up six weeks for trainer Bill McLean. The son of Tourist draws the inside post position and will be attempting to win from off the pace.

Race 7 on Saturday (Second level allowance for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on turf)

#1 C’Mon Man (Jockey Evin Roman…Trainer Bill McLean…morning line odds of 9-2)

#2 Memo Daddy (Irving Orozco…Tim Bellasis…4-1)

#3 Mohawk King (Santos Rivera…Mike Lenzini…5-1)

#4 A Man’s Man (Assael Espinoza…Jack Steiner….5-2)

#5 Black Caspian (Pedro Terrero…Manny Badilla…3-1)

#6 Midnight Mammoth (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman…7-2)


Below is a list of claims from last week.


Race 2: Redstwirlingdancer (New trainer Reid France…new owners RKJ Stable) 


Race 1: Half Hoping (Victor Trujillo…Lester Hunsucker)

Race 4: Kitty’s Candy (Tim Bellasis…Bellasis, Kevin O’Gorman, Cheryl O’Gorman and Cassandra Tschanz)


Race 1: Big Game (Reid France…France and Francis Lagattuta)

Race 3: Cecile’s Chapter (Owner/Trainer Victor Trujillo)

FINISH LINES: With two more weeks to go at the 2022 Summer Meet, Assael Espinoza leads Evin Roman in the jockey standings with a 19-17-win advantage…In a tight race for leading trainer, Jonathan Wong (9 wins) is one victory ahead of Jack Steiner (8 wins)…Apprentice Adrian Escobedo picked up his first career Golden Gate Fields win on Sunday atop Midnight Metal in Race 3. Escobedo is a 7-pound “bug” and represented by agent Jay Robinson…The feature race this Sunday goes as Race 4: a first level allowance for 3-year-old fillies. Miss Union and Dulce Emma have taken turns beating one another and square off once again. They figure to get support in the wagering…Jockey Kevin Radke rides two horses on Sunday for trainer Blaine Wright and has officially shipped his tack to Northern California. At the recently concluded Emerald Downs meet in Auburn, Washington, Radke finished second in the standings with 77 wins…Happy birthday to stall manager Carrie Fawcett, who celebrates a birthday next Tuesday…$6,411 is carried over into the Golden Pick Six jackpot wager heading into Friday’s race card.