12/01/2008 12:00AM

Forty Niner yields pair for Malibu


ALBANY, Calif. - Three-year-olds Dakota Phone and Gallon dominated last Friday's Forty Niner Stakes against older horses at Golden Gate Fields and may wind up seeing each other again later this month when the Strub Series begins at Santa Anita with the Grade 1 Malibu at seven furlongs on Dec. 26.

"I'm very confident this horse will move right up the ladder if he remains sound," said Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Dakota Phone and co-owns him with Halo Farms.

Dakota Phone made his first Northern California start in the Forty Niner. He has won 4 of his past 6 starts after finally winning his maiden on July 13 on the turf at Hollywood Park in his seventh start.

"We've always thought this horse had a lot of potential, and he finally came around," said Hollendorfer of Dakota Phone, a $67,000 May 2007 Barretts purchase. "I think a lot of times it takes time for things to come together. He's a big, lanky colt."

Dakota Phone did not get away well, as his head was turned as the gate opened. He was last in the field of four but always got a stalking trip, as he was never more than 2 1/2 lengths behind the pacesetting Gallon. He seemed to have Gallon measured at the eighth pole and won the 1 1/16-mile race by a half-length.

Gallon's trainer, Kay Cooper, who had run the gelding in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby in his previous start, said before the race that the Strub series was definitely on her radar, and Gallon did nothing to indicate he doesn't deserve a shot.

With the scratches of Monterey Jazz and Running Rich, Gallon inherited the role of front-runner, and he proved too tough for recent maiden winner Holy Thunder up front. He set a comfortable pace and responded nicely when challenged by odds-on Pass the Heat, a multiple stakes winner.

Pass the Heat moved up inside next to Gallon into the stretch, but Gallon quickly opened up again and wound up three lengths in front of Pass the Heat at the wire.

Pacific Heights cast looks intriguing

Saturday's $75,000 Pacific Heights could prove to be interesting. The 1 1/16-mile stakes is for California-bred fillies and mares.

Trainer Steve Specht will enter Lady Railroader and Shes a Lucky Wager, both 3-year-olds.

"I'm going to enter them both, and we'll probably dead-heat again," he said, laughing.

The two fillies finished in a dead heat for first in a Nov. 9 allowance race here at the distance.

Bai and Bai, the $3,200 bargain yearling who has become a multiple stakes winner with multiple placings in graded races, could return to her roots in the Pacific Heights. Now based in Southern California with trainer Craig Dollase after beginning her career here under Bill Delia's care, Bai and Bai has earned $677,758 with 10 wins in 26 starts.

You Lift Me Up, owned and trained by Hollendorfer, is also nominated. She has won a pair of turf stakes, including the Last Dance, the final race in Bay Meadows history, in her past three starts.

Also nominated are Bartok's Bling, who has already won a pair of starts here this meet; stakes winners Spenditallbaby and Tutta Bella; Film Editor; Star Voyager; and Warren's Appeal.

Big week for Gonzalez

Veteran jockey Roberto Gonzalez, the dean of Northern California riders, is coming off a big week, with three wins on Thanksgiving and four on Saturday. He also had two other winners and is third in the jockey standings, behind Russell Baze and Frank Alvarado, with 45 wins.

Hollendorfer, the training leader with 44 wins, saddled four winners, two ridden by Gonzalez, on Thanksgiving.

Run It a Gold Rush candidate

The talented 2-year-old Run It, a Cherokee Run colt trained by Dennis Patterson, scored a two-length victory in a mile race on Sunday that could serve as a prep for the $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes at one mile on Dec. 20.

Run It has two wins and two seconds in five career starts.

* The track will host the annual grooms' holiday party on Dec. 18. Patrons can donate gifts for the families of backstretch workers or make a tax-deductible contribution to the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, which sponsors the event.

* Golden Gate will give away long-sleeved T-shirts as a promotion Saturday.