05/11/2010 12:00AM

Alcatraz corrals some top turf colts


ALBANY, Calif. - Three-year-olds will be in the spotlight Saturday, and not just at the Preakness. They will run at Golden Gate Fields in the $60,000 Alcatraz, a 1 1/16-mile turf test.

The track, which cut several stakes earlier this year, retained the Alcatraz and the Golden Poppy, a turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies, in part because of the depth of the local 3-year-old division.

Definite Alcatraz starters include the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Dream Nettie, winner of the $100,000 La Puente on the turf at Santa Anita in his last start April 10; the Doug O'Neill-trained Forthreeforeuclid; the Billy Morey-trained Hudson Landing, who has won two straight since arriving at Golden Gate; and the Mike Lenzini-trained multiple stakes winner Our Minesweeper.

Forthreeforeuclid has a second in two turf starts. Hudson Landing won an optional claimer on the turf here in his last start. Our Minesweeper ran 10th last out in his turf debut in the Harry Henson, a sprint at Hollywood Park.

Trainers Frances Henderson and Jeff Bonde were considering running Barrel Knot and Cahill Country.

Cahill Country comes off a solid fourth in the Snow Chief on April 24. Bonde wants to run Cahill Country, a son of Cahill Road, in the Alcatraz because the colt has never finished off the board over Golden Gate's turf course. In four starts on the turf, Cahill Country has two wins, a second and a third.

But Bonde is hesitant to commit Cahill Country to the Alcatraz because the colt has already raced five times this year. "He's had a lot races every three weeks of late," said Bonde.

Bonde also is looking ahead to later in the year, when the California-bred Cahill Country will have plenty of opportunities to face statebreds.

Cahill Country came out of the Snow Chief fine, Bonde said, and followed up with a strong half-mile work at Hollywood Park in 47 seconds.

Making do with less

It used to be that Golden Gate Fields would hesitate to card a race with only five horses. Times - and the horse population - have changed, and the track has been trying to accommodate some of the better horses on the grounds with special allowance races.

One of those will be run on Thursday, when five stakes-quality sprinters meet in a six-furlong allowance race.

The field comprises Live Sundays, Jiggly, Paul's Hope, Tribesman, and Prairie City Road.

Live Sundays won a similar race on March 21, wearing down Tribesman late and holding off Paul's Hope by a nose.

Jiggly won on April 16. He caught Tribesman late in the six-furlong race, winning by one length in 1:08.96 while earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 102. Tribesman's 99 Beyer was his best since a 103 in winning the 2008 California Cup Sprint.

The speedy Tribesman will be making his third start of the year and gets his preferred outside post. Prairie City Road, who faded in his last start when he took on Bold Chieftain and Monterey Jazz at one mile, is drawn just inside Tribesman. He has shown plenty of early foot and has hit the board in all seven of his sprint starts. Live Sundays likes to stalk, and he will have to use his speed a bit early from the rail. Jiggly and Paul's Hope will sit back a bit in hopes of making their presence felt in the lane.

Thursday's race could be the final start for most of these before the Sam J. Whiting on July 11 at Pleasanton. Tribesman is the defending Whiting champion.

* There will be advance wagering on the Preakness on Friday and a special 11:45 a.m. post on Saturday. All gates open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The Spring Concert Series Sunday will feature Tito Garcia y Su Orquestra Internacional.