03/19/2013 2:17PM

Golden Gate: Bailouttheminister digs deep to win strong allowance


A six-furlong allowance race last Friday featuring four stakes winners may end up being the Golden Gate Fields race of the meet.

Bailouttheminster won the race by a head after being passed by Gallant Son, who was coming off a victory in the Albany Stakes, in the lane. It was a gutty, gritty performance.

The race wasn’t a good betting race. Bailouttheminister and Gallant Son are proven sprinters. Comebackers Hudson Landing and Control Seeker are routers preparing for the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on April 27.

It seemed a two-horse race as far as the win and exacta went, and it turned out that way.

Hudson Landing was third, beaten four lengths, in his first start of the year. The overmatched Handsome Harvey Jr, whose presence allowed the race to go, was fourth, with Control Seeker last in his first start since losing by a nose to Hudson Landing in last November’s Grade 3 All American.

“I thought he’d get beat by five, but he only got beat four,” said Blaine Wright, Hudson Landing’s trainer.

The important thing was that the 6-year-old gelding – the defending champion in the San Francisco Mile – came out of the race fine.

“He cooled out in 20 minutes,” said Wright, who added that by Sunday, Hudson Landing was “tearing the barn down again.”

Trainer Keith Nations had two concerns coming into the race – how would Bailouttheminister bounce back from his troubled comeback race in the Albany and how would Control Seeker run after 15 weeks on the sidelines as he prepared for the San Francisco Mile?

“That was pretty awesome,” Nations said of Bailouttheminister’s victory. “I was watching, and when Gallant Son rolled up so easily on him, I thought the race was over.

“I’m very relieved he’s back to his old self. It’s still in the back of your mind that you never know how they’ll come back.”

Nations called the race “weird” because Bailouttheminister ended up on the lead. His fractions, under Russell Baze, were easy enough that he did have something left after being passed.

“Russell’s a difference maker,” Nations said.

Nations doesn’t know what to make of Control Seeker’s performance.

“I think it confused him. It’s been so long since he’s sprinted,” he said. “I would have liked to see him finish a little better.”

There is a one-mile allowance race on the turf April 6 that Hudson Landing and Control Seeker, who won the Joseph Grace on turf at Santa Rosa last summer, plan to run in as a final prep for the San Francisco Mile. Bailouttheminister will likely run in it as well as a prep for the 7 1/2-furlong Tiznow at Betfair Hollywood Park on April 27.

Cost of Freedom nears $1 million

When Cost of Freedom ran down Diamond of Blue to win a $12,500 claimer Saturday, he earned $9,000 to lift his career earnings to $990,217.

“That would be awesome,” trainer Ed Moger Jr. said of the chance for the 10-year-old gelding to become a millionaire.

“I wish he’d done it all for us,” he joked.

Cost of Freedom won the Grade 1 Ancient Title in 2008 and also has won two Grade 3 races. He was third, beaten only a neck in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He has run 40 times and has 13 wins, including five stakes.

Bred at Harris Farms, he is by Cee’s Tizzy out of Freedom Dance. His half-brother by Unusual Heat sold for $400,000 as a yearling at Keeneland last September.

Moger claimed Cost of Freedom for $32,000 at Del Mar on Sept. 2, 2011, for his brother Steve.

“He was an old class horse who’d been off a while when we claimed him,” Moger said.

Cost of Freedom has run 15 times for Moger and has won twice. He also has finished second eight times and third twice. He’s proven to be a good claim, earning $87,004 for Moger. Saturday’s win was his first in 11 Golden Gate starts.

“He’s a racehorse,” Moger said. “He still likes to train and run. We just try to keep him happy. We’ve taken care of him.”

Moger said he would likely try Cost of Freedom for a $16,000 tag next time, which, with a win, would enable him to push his earnings past $1 million. He ran second twice at $16,000 prior to his victory.

Urban Hunter sets track record

Urban Hunter scored a wire-to-wire victory in Sunday’s ninth race, a $25,000 claimer, and set a Golden Gate track record in the process, winning the 5 1/2-furlong race in 1:02.81. The time eclipsed Dave’s Pacemaker’s record of 1:02.87 set on Jan. 13, 2012. Dave’s Pacemaker set the record when winning a $5,000 claimer.

Urban Hunter, a 6-year-old gelding, extended his advantage at each call under leading rider Baze. The Cal-bred son of Tribal Rule is owned by Lamonte Ison and trained by Blake Heap.

Luck of the Irish for Harty

Eoin Harty, a native of Dublin, Ireland, sent out Regulus to score a front-running victory in an interesting St. Patrick’s Day feature on Sunday.

Regulus, a 4-year-old Distorted Humor gelding, is 2 for 2 at Golden Gate after winning a $62,500 optional claimer here Feb. 24.

He won Sunday’s allowance race, defeating the multiple stakes-winning mare Halo Dolly who went off as the 7-5 favorite. Leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer also entered the sharp mare Lady Aspen to run against males.

◗ Golden Gate will offer a unique promotion for the San Francisco Mile on April 27. Fans attending races the previous Saturday, April 20, will receive a free San Francisco Mile T-shirt with paid admission. If they wear the T-shirt to Golden Gate Fields on San Francisco Mile Day, they will receive free admission.