03/15/2010 11:00PM

Follow-up wins long in the making


Jockey Francisco Duran's 1,000th career riding victory wasn't the only milestone when Karmalize scored a wire-to-wire maiden victory in a photo over The Hunt Is On and Saravas Wild Again last Friday at Golden Gate Fields.

The win also was the second of trainer Andy Wilson's career and first since Dec. 12, 1978.

The 32-year-old Duran got a late start in racing, beginning his riding career in 2001. In 2002, he was a finalist for the Eclipse Award as the nation's leading apprentice rider.

"I'm excited and I'm proud of myself," said Duran, who kept Karmalize going despite constant pressure from the half-mile pole in the race for 3-year-old maidens.

"It's a tough business, and I'm thankful I've been able to win so many races. Hopefully, I can win another thousand."

The 54-year-old Wilson can attest to how tough the business can be.

"I got my trainer's license when I was 21 and won my first race at Bay Meadows with Murrays Venture," Wilson said. "But I wasn't making a living at it, so I took a job on the starting gate and worked on the gate for 14 years."

Wilson returned to training in 1996 when he was offered a position by Northern California's leading trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer. He was in charge of Hollendorfer's "offtrack" runners, stabled at the racetrack that was not conducting a live meeting.

Wilson returned to training on his own last year.

"I have three horses, and two of them I own with my wife, Laurie," Wilson said. Laurie Wilson owns Karmalize.

Making the victory extra sweet all the way around was that Karmalize held off a runner trained by Wilson's old boss, Hollendorfer.

Although it was Wilson's first winner since his return to racing, his runners have made 10 starts and have recorded 3 seconds and a pair of thirds in addition to Karmalize's victory.

Stakes looks like a go

Golden Gate's stakes coordinator, David Jerkens, said early in the week that Croxie, Rule the Storm, and Shes a Lucky Wager were definite for Saturday's 1 1/16-mile Work the Crowd for California-bred fillies and mares.

Ten runners were nominated to the race, and Jerkens said he was confident that the race would go.

Croxie, who has done her best running on the turf, has a pair of thirds and a pair of seconds since returning to the main track.

Rule the Storm is riding a two-race win streak that began Jan. 21 when she was claimed by Billy Morey and continued Feb. 21 in her first start for him. She has won 3 of her past 4 starts.

Shes a Lucky Wager placed in three stakes last year.

Stakes winners Saucey Evening and Kaweah Princess are among the nominees, along with Catsalot and stakes-winning You Lift Me Up, second and third in last fall's Cal Cup Distaff, as well as Barbara's Love, who lost the 2008 Cal Cup Distaff by a nose. Lady Alex and Not Unusual would be making their stakes debuts if they run.

Stakes prospects in feature

Friday's feature is a one-mile optional claiming race for 3-year-old fillies that includes several runners who likely will be seen in stakes company later this year.

Jules J has already run in three stakes, including the Grade 3 Miesque. Moon Quist Rose, a stablemate of Jules J, and Cruzin Topless have run in Cal-bred stakes.

The field also includes Roman Lady. A half-sister to Bold Chieftain, she will make her first start around two turns.

After winning her debut for owner-breeder-trainer Bill Morey Jr., Roman Lady ran third in her second start behind stablemate Trappers Bounty and Moon Quist Rose, who is trained by Morey's son, Billy.

Trio of triples

Jockeys Russell Baze, Michael Martinez, and Julien Couton each had triples last week.

Baze, the meet's leading rider, got his Thursday. Two of Baze's winners came for Hollendorfer, who started four horses and made four trips to the winner's circle that day.

Martinez, second in the standings, had his triple Saturday. Couton got the first triple of his career Sunday.

Rider disciplined twice

Leslie Mawing, who began a three-day suspension Sunday, got hit with an additional five-day suspension Sunday after being disqualified from second to fourth aboard Michael the Man in Friday's first race.

The first suspension was for his ride aboard Mistical Dream on March 6. Both infractions were issued for causing interference in the stretch.