Updated on 09/17/2011 12:59PM

Back in sprint, The Herc cruises

Vassar Photography
The Herc, turning back and going turf-to-dirt, is all alone at the wire in the $65,000 Golden Bear Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Sunday.

ALBANY, Calif. - The Herc took the lead out of the gate, extended it on the turn and cruised to victory in the $65,600 Golden Bear Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Sunday.

A $50,000 claim at the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita, The Herc won the Sunny Slope Stakes in his first start for trainer Gary Stute. He faded badly in the Pinjara at one mile on the turf but returned to a sprint Sunday and was never challenged.

He took a one-length lead over Razen Hazen down the backstretch, extended the margin to four by the quarter pole and wound up 2 1/4 lengths in front of Badgett's Mandate. He covered six furlongs in 1:09.21.

"Everything went like they told me," winning jockey Russell Baze said. "They said to get him out and try to get clear. I was able to give him a breather on the turn, and he responded when I asked him in the stretch. He was running out of gas the last part of it, but he never quit."

Stute agreed the race went as expected.

"I thought he was the quickest, but there were some others with good natural speed," he was said. "I was glad to see him get clear.

"There are no sprints down south so I might come back here and try him in a mile (in the $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 13). He's worked seven furlongs well, and you can't judge by what he did on the turf."

The Herc earned $33,650 with his third victory in six starts to lift his career earnings to $103,435.

Market Report, who won the Bay Meadows Juvenile, broke down in the lane and had to be euthanized.