11/17/2008 12:00AM

Artiste Royal returns in turf allowance


ALBANY, Calif. - Stakes racing returns to Golden Gate Fields on Saturday with the $75,000 Sausalito, the first stakes at the track in a month. But it won't be the best race of the week here.

Friday's card includes two stakes-caliber allowances. One is an open 1 1/16-mile race on turf and the other a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

The open race has attracted Artiste Royal, who has not run since winning the Grade 1 Charlie Whittingham at Hollywood Park on June 7. The 7-year-old Artiste Royal also won the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch in 2007.

Trainer Neil Drysdale has a pair of seven-furlong turf works in Artiste Royal and also sends up Vega's Lord, who lost by a nose here to Chinese Dragon in the 2007 Grade 2 San Francisco Mile.

Lined up against the Drysdale duo will be Matto Mondo, a multiple Grade 1 winner in his native Chile who is looking for his first U.S. victory. He was involved in a head-and-head duel through sizzling fractions before fading to eighth, beaten 3 3/4 lengths, in the one-mile Lure on Oct. 12 at Santa Anita.

Saratoga's Magic, a winner of two dirt stakes this summer; the stakes-placed Cover Magic; Yacht Spotter, winner of two straight over the turf here; and Starcast are the locally based horses in the field.

Trainer Greg Gilchrist should have an odds-on entry in the filly and mare race with Wild Promises, who has won four straight turf stakes and returns from a two-month break, and the multiple stakes winner Victorina, who captured the last stakes to be run here, the Oct. 26 Marina, after finishing a fast-closing third in the Grade 3 Ken Maddy at Santa Anita in her turf debut.

The field also includes the stakes winners She's Sensational, Gadget Queen, and Firetrail.

In the six-furlong Sausalito, for 3-year-olds and up, Gilchrist plans to run one of his two outstanding 3-year-old fillies, High Resolve or Indyanne, against males.

Also expected to run are Bahama Breeze, undefeated in four career starts; A Cat Named Snip, who is 3 for 4; and the stakes winners Siren Lure, a Grade 1 winner who has not won since 2006, and Bound to Be MVP.

Two stakes options for Frumious

The Jeff Bonde-trained Frumious made it 3 for 4 in his career with a two-length victory in a mile allowance race for 2-year-olds last Thursday. It was the first time around two turns for Frumious, a California-bred son of Grindstone bought for $17,000 by owners George and Mary Schmitt.

Bonde considered running Frumious in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue at seven furlongs next Sunday, but opted instead for the one-mile race.

"We've always planned to go longer," Bonde said. "We passed on the seven-eighths because we don't want him to be speed-crazy."

Frumious won in wire-to-wire fashion, and Bonde said he would work to get the colt to relax a little more.

"He went quick early, but then he rated," Bonde said. "He wasn't tired, and I think he has more to give."

Next on the agenda could be the Grade 1, $750,000 CashCall Futurity, a 1 1/16-mile race at Hollywood Park on Dec. 20, or the $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes at one mile here on the same day.

"He's one of the things we have to look forward to," Bonde said.

Autism Awareness flashes speed

Autism Awareness returned to the races last Saturday for the first time since pulling a $126 upset in the El Camino Real Derby in March and undergoing a knee operation a week later. He set the early pace under Chris Landeros and finished last of six in a one-mile optional claimer.

Trainer Genaro Vallejo on Sunday said Autism Awareness had come out of the race in good shape.

"I wasn't happy with the way the kid rode him," Vallejo said. "I didn't expect him to be on the lead, but he was fresh.

"To run and see how he came back was the important part. I'm happy with the way he ran. He didn't run that bad."

Running Rich won the race, his third straight victory.

* The Glen Ellen Vocational Academy's major fundraiser, its stallion auction, was scheduled to begin Tuesday and continue through Dec. 2. The academy is Northern California's only nonprofit Thoroughbred rescue program. Information on the auction is available at its website, www.glenellenfarms.com/geva.

* A memorial service for trainer Jim Hilling, who died Nov. 11 at 66, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Top of the Stretch room here.