04/05/2009 11:00PM

Cecil hoping to repeat success as an invader


Southern California-based trainer Ben Cecil had such a good time with his invasion of Golden Gate Fields last weekend that he is already planning to return. Cecil captured an allowance race on Friday with Ferneley, who is now being pointed to the Grade 2, $300,000 San Francisco Mile on April 25. Saturday, Cecil won the $75,000 Yerba Buena Stakes with Restless Soul.

Ferneley, a Group 3 winner in his native Ireland, rallied from last to win the one-mile turf race by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:35.96. Yacht Spotter was second, with favored Bold Chieftain third.

Ferneley was second in the Grade 2 San Gabriel and third in the Grade 2 San Marcos during the current Santa Anita meeting, and he hadn't raced for two months before Friday.

"I think it will do him a lot of good," said Cecil. "I think he ran a good race, and it will help his confidence. He's going into a race where the competition will be much tougher than the field he beat."

Bold Chieftain will be considered for the San Francisco Mile or a stakes for California-breds the same day, the $150,000 Khaled at Hollywood Park on Gold Rush Day, trainer Bill Morey Jr. said.

The allowance was Bold Chieftain's second race since he ran eighth in the Breeders' Cup Mile last October. He ran fourth in the Feb. 28 Crystal Water at Santa Anita.

"He came back so relaxed," said Morey. "He hasn't been really a live wire yet. I haven't seen him ring the bell.

"We kinda felt he'd need a couple races. This is our plan, and we're sticking to it - two races and peak for the third."

Restless Soul shows off late kick

Restless Soul came from five lengths back of pacesetting You Lift Me Up to win the Yerba Buena, a 1 3/8-mile turf race. After You Lift Me Up ran the first six furlongs in 1:19, Cecil and jockey Chad Schvaneveldt may have been the only ones who liked Restless Soul's chances.

"She has a nice kind of kick at the end, and I thought she might be able to catch her," Cecil said.

Said Schvaneveldt: "I was loaded with horse the whole way, and when I pushed the button she gave me everything. She came with a really strong run the last quarter of a mile. That's what turf racing is all about - who sprints home the fastest."

Cecil said he may point Restless Soul to the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 25.

Maidens Justice in return

Maidens Justice, whose first win came in last year's Lost in the Fog Stakes, will make his first start in nearly 10 months Thursday in a six-furlong starter allowance race for 3-year-olds.

"Fortunately, we're able to get him into the starter because we ran him for $32,000 in his debut," trainer Gil Matos said.

Maidens Justice ran second in his debut and second again in straight maiden company, and he overcame trouble to win the Lost in the Fog. He suffered a puncture wound during the race that didn't seem serious but was found to have affected a tendon.

Maidens Justice has worked five times for Thursday's race, including five-furlong drills in 59.80 seconds and 1:00.40.

"What we've been doing is trying to get solid works into him," Matos said. "He knows what he's doing, and I think he's fitter than I suspect."

Biggest crowd since '95

Sunday's crowd of 11,462 was the largest at Golden Gate Fields since Feb. 20, 1995, when 11,087 attended a Presidents Day program.

In addition to the usual $1 specials, fans saw the first annual Dachshund Derby, which attracted 96 dogs who competed in nine 30-yard heats.

Downtown Beans, made the morning-line favorite to win the championship by the track's publicity director, Tom Ferrall, blew away the competition in the final.

* Jockey William Antongeorgi III rode three winners on the Sunday Thoroughbred card.