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Golden Gate: All American likely to come down to trip, tactics
By Chuck Dybdal
Jockey tactics and the usual smattering of racing luck will likely determine the outcome of Friday’s Grade 3 All American at Golden Gate Fields.
All seven runners entered in the 1 1/16-mile race on the Tapeta main track have earned black type. Four, including 7-5 morning-line favorite Gladding, are multiple stakes winners. Gladding and Hudson Landing are graded stakes winners and Positive Response also would be had he not been disqualified from his win in last spring’s Grade 3 Berkeley. Control Seeker has won two stakes during his current three-race winning streak.
Duke of Doom, Fast Track, and Slim Pickins are all stakes placed. Slim Pickins will be scratched if an allowance race fills for him Saturday.
Gladding drew the rail and is the likely speed of the race. In his last start, Gladding went wire to wire in the Alamedan at Pleasanton, winning by 6 1/2 lengths under Juan Hernandez, who rides him back Friday. But that race came on July 1, and trainer John Sadler said Gladding got sick the following month and needed time to recover.
Sadler said he won’t be surprised to see the 5-year-old gelding on the lead, but he doesn’t want Hernandez to get involved in suicide fractions.
“From the 1, you just want to get good position,” he said.
There is other speed in the race in Control Seeker, who drew the outside post. Control Seeker comes off a front-running victory in the Bull Dog at Fresno and has been within a length of the early lead in his last few starts.
“Drawing the outside post is perfect for us,” said Control Seeker’s trainer, Keith Nations. “Gladding will go, and I think Positive Response could be close up along with Hudson Landing. I see us as stalking. We should be in a spot without any excuses, and we should get first jump on everybody.
“I think it comes down to how ready Gladding is.”
If Gladding and Control Seeker mix it up early, then the stalkers Hudson Landing and Positive Response could benefit.
Hudson Landing ran third to Positive Response in an allowance race on the Golden Gate turf last month, but he’s run some of his best races on the main track. He won the Mt. Rainier Handicap on the dirt at Emerald Downs in July and, as trainer Blaine Wright points out, he has four wins on the Golden Gate main track.
Wright expects Control Seeker to put pressure on Gladding while Frank Alvarado and Hudson Landing sit behind them near Positive Response.
“I like the position I’m in,” he said.
Trainer Billy Morey is confident that Positive Response will fire in his attempt at a second straight win. Previously a horse who ran on or near the pace, Positive Response came from 11 lengths back to win an Oct. 28 allowance on the turf here.
“It gives you confidence to know he can do that,” said Morey, who added that he expects the 4-year-old gelding to sit closer to the front on Friday.
Positive Response also is proven on synthetics, having won won last year’s Battaglia Memorial at Turfway on Polytrack and three races on the Golden Gate Tapeta.
Morey also sends out Duke of Doom, who usually is content to sit off the pace. Fast Track is a confirmed closer, and Slim Pickins would also come from off the pace if he runs.
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