05/08/2012 12:32PM

Golden Gate Fields: Alcatraz Stakes coming up as strong race

Benoit & Associates
Chips All In is being considered for Saturday's Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Golden Gate Fields wound up with a good stakes race Sunday when Stormy Lucy scored an impressive victory in her turf debut in the 1 1/16-mile Golden Poppy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. It could hit the jackpot again Saturday with the $75,000 Alcatraz, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds.

The Alcatraz has more star power heading into the race than the Golden Poppy did.

Longview Drive, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, will be making his turf debut in the Alcatraz. Longview Drive arguably was Northern California’s top 2-year-old last year with victories in the Cavonnier at Santa Rosa and Charlie Palmer at Fresno and a third in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot at Delta Downs. This year, he has finished third in the Grade 3 Sham, sixth as the favorite in the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park, and ninth and last in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

Trainer Jeff Mullins said Monday he might enter Chips All In, who would likely be a heavy favorite coming off a wire-to-wire victory in the Pasadena Stakes on March 23 at Santa Anita. He also won the $75,000 Eddie Logan there Dec. 31. Both stakes victories came on the turf.

Chips All In won his debut at Golden Gate Fields when trained by Adam Kitchingman. He then ran second in the Golden Nugget here when running for Mullins.

Stakes-placed Cahill Chrome and recent winner He’s Cagey will be making their turf debuts in the Alcataraz. Also expected to run are McAllister Boys, who won his turf debut in a $40,000 starter allowance race, and The Roan Ranger, who defeated McAllister Boys and Cahill Chrome in an allowance prep for the Alcatraz that was transferred to the main track.

Trainer Alex Paszkeicz said he is considering entering the maiden Pepnic, who lost by a neck to The Roan Ranger in a maiden race.

Surgery boosts Stormy Lucy

Trainer Frank Lucarelli will be studying Southern California condition books after Stormy Lucy’s victory in the Golden Poppy.

Lucarelli said the filly had been bothered by an entrapped epiglottis that hindered her breathing and she underwent surgery in January.

Before the surgery, she had made five starts, four of them in Southern California, and had only a maiden claiming victory to show for them. Since undergoing the surgery, she has won three straight, all at Golden Gate Fields.

Lucarelli watched her score two visually impressive sprint victories before stretching her out for the first time in the Golden Poppy.

“I was confident in her turf breeding and stretching out,” Lucarelli said.

Although her dam, Here Comes Lucinda, was 0 for 9 in her career, Stormy Lucy’s sire, Stormy Atlantic, has strong numbers with horses making their turf debuts.

“The way she ran on the turf, we’ll have to look at some turf options,” Lucarelli said.

Possible spots for Stormy Lucy include the Grade 2 Honeymoon on June 5 at Hollywood Park and the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks there June 23.

Andy Mathis, who trains Golden Poppy runner-up Oh Molly Brannigan, was so impressed by Stormy Lucy that he thinks she could end up a graded stakes winner.

“I was happy to run second, because I had only the second-best horse,” he said.

Mathis was pleased with Oh Molly Brannigan’s effort, and he’s looking ahead to the $100,000 Campanile over the Golden Gate turf on June 2. The race is for California-bred 3-year-old fillies, so Stormy Lucy and third-place Golden Poppy finisher Sweet Nothings, both Kentucky-breds, won’t be running.

Gutierrez’s Northern California connection

Mario Gutierrez deservedly won plaudits for his Kentucky Derby-winning ride aboard I’ll Have Another, and his time as a leading rider at Hastings in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been well documented.

But Golden Gate Fields fans remember that he enjoyed success here, too, winning 10 races from 61 mounts in the 2009-10 winter/spring meet before going to Hastings for the summer. When he returned to Golden Gate for the 2010 fall meet, and he won nine races from 60 mounts.