Golden Gate Fields News and Notes: Thursday, September 29, 2022


25 days after a first career stakes win, 4-year-old gelding I’mgonnabesomebody returns to the races against open allowance company in the fourth race on Friday. The feature event of the day drew a strong field of entrants that includes Grade 3 winner Freeport Joe.

Trained by Bill McLean, I’mgonnabesomebody was last seen scoring a gate-to-wire victory in the Sam Spear Memorial, a one-mile and a sixteenth turf race. Though the distance for Race 4 on Friday is the same, the son of Will Take Charge moves to the Tapeta, a surface in which he is 0 for 3 over.

McLean could have waited to run I’mgonnabesomebody in the Bulldog Stakes at Fresno next month. Fresno has a dirt track, a surface in which I’mgonnabesomebody has thrived on in the past. Ultimately, I’mgonnabesomebody’s kryptonite-quirkiness-is what led McLean to enter him in the Friday feature instead.

“Sometimes he doesn’t want to train. He’ll jog and gallop fine. When we want him to give us a workout, we have to break him out of the gate because if we don’t, he’ll refuse to work,” said McLean. “In the barn, he’s a cool dude. Nice and relaxed. You can pet him and feed him treats. On the track he’s got a mind of his own.

The other morning, he broke out of the gate and just sort of galloped around there,” continued McLean. “So, he didn’t record a published workout. If we waited for the Fresno race, we would have to get a couple works into him. He’s still fit right now. I didn’t want to take the chance that he wouldn’t work and we’d lose fitness going into the stake. So, we’re running on Friday.”

In Friday’s fourth race, recent wire-to-wire winner Mucho Machismo figures to show front running speed. McLean says if that happens, his gelding is versatile enough to sit just off the pace.

“We don’t need the lead,” said McLean. “I figure [Mucho Machismo] is going to be gunning it [out of the gate]. We can sit second and that would be fine.”

I’mgonnabesomebody will need to run his very best race to win. His main challenger is Freeport Joe, whose 6 of 7 lifetime wins have come over the Golden Gate Tapeta. Earlier this year, Freeport Joe won the All-American Stakes and two additional open allowance races. His most significant win to date came in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap last November. Regular rider Assael Espinoza has the call on Friday for trainer Gloria Haley.

Harmon finished fourth in the Sam Spear Memorial and will need to make up three lengths on I’mgonnabesomebody. Although he has been effective in turf races, Harmon thrives on the Tapeta. From eight lifetime wins, six of them have come on the Golden Gate main track. Monty Meier conditions and employs William Antongeorgi III to ride.

American Farmer defeated Freeport Joe and Harmon at this level in a two-turn event on February 26. Since then, the son of Bluegrass Cat has lost six consecutive races including a pair of runs in which he finished behind I’mgonnabesomebody. Regular pilot Pedro Terrero retains the mount for trainer Steve Sherman.

Our Silver Oak, making his second start off a lengthy layoff for trainer Blaine Wright, could improve with a race under his belt. He was no match for I’mgonnabesomebody in the Sam Spear Memorial on September 3 but, before the long vacation, won a pair of second level allowance races on the Tapeta. Irving Orozco was aboard for both wins and will be back atop the son of Unusual Heat on Friday.

Mucho Machismo broke his maiden three weeks ago and makes his first start versus winners against a salty bunch. Trainer Dan Franko and apprentice Adrian Escobedo team up.

Race 4 on Friday (Open allowance at one mile and a sixteenth on Tapeta)

#1 Harmon (Jockey William Antongeorgi III…Trainer Monty Meier…morning line odds of 6-1)

#2 Freeport Joe (Assael Espinoza…Gloria Haley…2-1)

#3 American Farmer (Pedro Terrero…Steve Sherman…9-2)

#4 Our Silver Oak (Irving Orozco…Blaine Wright…9-2)

#5 I’mgonnabesomebody (Santos Rivera…Bill McLean…9-5)

#6 Mucho Machismo (Adrian Escobedo…Dan Franko…12-1)


If horses could talk, you can imagine that 4-year-old California-bred gelding Kings River Knight would tell you that he loves being close to the beach. Over the summer, the son of Acclamation broke his maiden at Del Mar against California-bred ‘special weight company before, about a month later, defeating state-bred allowance foes in his first start against winners.

Since moving back home with the rest of Bay Area conditioner Andy Mathis’s Del Mar string, Kings River Knight may have noticed that the Northern California beaches are a good distance away from Golden Gate Fields. With Golden Gate’s proximity to the bay, however, Kings River Knight still resides close to the water.

Hopefully that keeps him happy.

Kings River Knight faces seven other rivals in the co-featured ninth race on a strong 10-race card at Golden Gate this Saturday. The one-mile turf affair drew plenty of speed, with front runners U. S. Danger and Anitanewmercedes both entered. Even though Kings River Knight led at every pole when he broke his maiden, he sat in midfield and pounced on the front runners in his most recent win. A perfect two for two routing on turf, Kings River Knight has the tactical ability and raw talent to receive a good trip and remain undefeated on the lawn.

“We’ll just take it race by race with him,” said Mathis. “I always thought he had ability. He’s an Acclamation, so I figured he would like going two turns on the turf. This isn’t a do or die race. If he wins, we’ll try to win the condition a second time [being a California-bred]. If he loses, we’ll go back in the condition next time too. We’re going to see how good he can be.”

Kings River Knight will still need to run his very best to win Saturday’s ninth race. U. S. Danger was the runner up finisher behind Black Caspian in his most recent afternoon appearance at this level on August 14 at Santa Rosa. The aforementioned foe has since come back to finish third in a second level allowance. U. S. Danger has never lost when competing on the Golden Gate grass course, with 3 wins from 3 lifetime starts over the surface. Leading trainer Jonathan Wong conditions the 5-year-old gelding.

Anitanewmercedes makes his first start off a fourth month layoff for trainer Isidro Tamayo and can be competitive if he shows up with his best effort. The last time we saw him race, he went off favored at this level and finished in midfield. Earlier this year, he finished third in a California-bred allowance race at Santa Anita. The two finishers who placed ahead of him that day both came back to win their next starts.

The Bill McLean trained pair of Table for Ten and Shot of a Lifetime return from Del Mar and appear well spotted for a competitive run. Big Flame ran a better than looked fourth in his first start off a Del Mar claim by trainer Victor Trujillo and returns at the same condition three weeks later. Buenisimo failed to fire at this level on the Tapeta when finishing well behind next out second level allowance winner A Man’s Man and seeks to rebound while switching to the turf. Recent claiming winner Walking Boss faces tougher this time and rounds out the field of eight. 

Race 9 on Saturday (First level allowance at one mile on turf)

#1 Big Flame (Jockey Santos Rivera…Trainer Victor Trujillo…morning line odds of 8-1)

#2 Kings River Knight (Frank Alvarado…Andy Mathis…8-5)

#3 Buenisimo (William Antongeorgi III…Steve Sherman…8-1)

#4 U. S. Danger (Assael Espinoza…Jonathan Wong…5-2)

#5 Anitanewmercedes (Brayan Pena…Isidro Tamayo…10-1)

#6 Table for Ten (Pedro Terrero…Bill McLean…8-1)

#7 Shot of a Lifetime (Kevin Radke…Bill McLean…6-1)

#8 Walking Boss (Armando Ayuso…Tim Bellasis…15-1)


Sunday afternoon is Closing Day of the Summer Meet at Golden Gate Fields. On that note, mandatory payouts will be in play for the Golden Pick Six, Rolling Super High Five, and both Pick 5 wagers. First post on an enticing 11-race card is 12:45 PM.

Heading into Friday’s program, the Golden Pick Six jackpot pool has a carryover amount of $17,761. If there fails to be a single ticket winner on Friday or Saturday, the carryover amount by Sunday will have increased. A six-figure new-money pool is projected. The Pick Six sequence features the last six races of the day (Races 6-11) and is a 20-cent minimum bet.

The Early Pick 5 is particularly intriguing for horse players with its low 14% takeout. The Early Pick 5 sequence involves the first five races on the card while the Late Pick 5 consists of the last five races. Both Pick 5’s are a 50-cent minimum wager.

The last race in which the $1 minimum Rolling Super High Five wager is offered is the final mandatory payout bet of the day. For a race to offer Super High Five wagering, that race must have seven or more starters. Unless there are two or more scratches in the nightcap, Race 11 will be the mandatory payout leg for the Super High Five.


7-year-old sprinter Papapifas returns to the races on Sunday in Race 5 after a decisive victory one month ago against high level claimers. Papapifas had not visited the winners circle since July of 2020 at Pleasanton but put up several sneaky good races against salty allowance company over the last couple of years for trainer Guillermo Preciado. Papifas is entered in a first level allowance race this weekend.

Earlier in his career, Papifas was a horse who showed front running speed out of the gate and generally needed the lead to win. In his most recent start on September 2, Papifas stalked the pace and rallied down the lane to defeat a field that included next out winner Honeymoonz Over. The Beyer speed figure he earned that day (80) indicates his best race is fast enough to be competitive against this field. Jockey Alejandro Gomez guided Papifas to victory in September and is back aboard on Sunday.

Among the main contenders facing Papapifas is Gerlach’s, who drops in class from second level allowance competition after a 3-length loss at the level. Race winner Cool Mountain Lad is a stakes winner. Gerlach’s should appreciate the class relief and figures to get play in the betting pools for D. Wayne Baker, who trained Gerlach’s to a “last to first” win at this first level allowance condition two starts ago on dirt at Pleasanton. Baker also saddles Chief Jackson, coming off a third-place effort against restricted claimers.

Irish bred 3-year-old Almanera draws the rail in his Northern California debut. After breaking his maiden in a 7-furlong sprint over a synthetic surface in Europe, he was purchased out of the race by owners Little Red Feather Racing. His first three North American starts-two at Santa Anita and one at Del Mar-all resulted in off-the-board-finishes. Now trained by Andy Mathis, Almanera sports two fast works over the local strip leading up to this race.

Bobby’s Alibi was a winner at this level just two weeks ago and wheels back quickly for trainer Faith Taylor. Last time out, he sat off a blazing fast pace and rallied down the lane to beat Southern California shipper Cees Get Degrees and allowance winner Playing Hardball for a length and a quarter score.

Completing the field of a half dozen is Murphy’s Tiger. He won at this condition in April but has failed to visit the winners circle in four starts since then. For this race, trainer Tim McCanna opts to try blinkers on the son of Smiling Tiger.

The fifth race on Sunday is one of three allowance races spread throughout a terrific Closing Day card. A friendly second reminder: first post is 12:45 PM.

Race 5 on Sunday (First level allowance at six furlongs on Tapeta)

#1 Almanera (Jockey Assael Espinoza…Trainer Andy Mathis)

#2 Gerlach’s (William Antongeorgi III…D. Wayne Baker)

#3 Papapifas (Alejandro Gomez…Guillermo Preciado)

#4 Bobby’s Alibi (Pedro Terrero…Faith Taylor)

#5 Murphys Tiger (Armando Ayuso…Tim McCanna)

#6 Chief Jackson (Kevin Radke…D. Wayne Baker)


Below is a list of claims from last week:


Race 4: Texas Lonhro (New trainer Isidro Tamayo…New owner(s) Thomas Lenberg and Michael Wickman)

Race 4: Tiz Vicious (Jonathan Wong…TAK Racing)

Race 5: Rowangoeshollywood (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables)


Race 4: Big Rosie (D. Wayne Baker…Richard Barton)

Race 8: Ethan’s Animal (Jonathan Wong…MJVET Stables and Clay Sides)


Race 1: Mr. Mason (Leobardo Rivera…Manuela Franco Sosa)

Race 5: Mizzdyna (Owner/Trainer Dan Franko)

FINISH LINES: With Santa Anita beginning their race meet on Friday, The Golden Hour wagers will be back in play on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday…Race 10 on Saturday, the last leg of the Golden Hour Late Pick 4 and Double bets, is a first level allowance at one mile and a half (12 furlongs) on the Tapeta…Also on Saturday, 3-year-old filles journey a mile on grass in Race 6, a first level allowance…Along with Race 5 on Sunday (article above), the two other co-features are Race 6, a first level allowance at on mile on turf for fillies and mares, and Race 11, a first level allowance for filly and mare sprinters at 6 furlongs on Tapeta…Also over the weekend, full fields have been assembled for a pair of 2-year-old maiden special weight races. Race 7 on Saturday is a five and one-half furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies while Race 7 on Sunday is at the same conditions for 2-year-olds…Update: Golden Gate Fields Turf Distaff winner Natural Colour is bound for the $80,000 Swingtime Stakes next Sunday at Santa Anita for trainer Manny Badilla…Good luck to all horsemen and horsewomen, handicappers, bettors and fans at The Big Fresno Fair. We’ll see you back at GGF on Friday, October 21 for Opening Day of the Fall Meet!