11/10/2011 1:03PM

Golden Gate Fields: Debut stamps Coach Sickie dangerous in Golden Nugget


Although five of the nine entrants in Saturday’s $50,000 Golden Nugget at Golden Gate Fields have raced only once, the field has come up unusually strong.

The six-furlong stakes on Tapeta for 2-year-olds is the first of a series of races leading to next spring’s Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby. The field includes two Southern California maiden special weight debut winners, a stakes winner, and two stakes-placed runners.

The race includes several Southern California challengers, including a tough pair from trainer Jeff Mullins and one from Dan Hendricks. Mullins will send up Coach Sickie, who had a very impressive debut victory at Santa Anita on Oct. 1, and Chips All In, who won his debut here in June and captured the Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe in his last start on Aug. 21.

Coach Sickie settled into a good stalking position in his debut and pulled 5 1/4 lengths clear to win at 5 1/2 furlongs, with a Beyer Speed Figure of 85. A son of Henny Hughes, Coach Sickie seems to have all the makings of a top-flight sprinter.

Chips All In won a $32,000 maiden claimer in his debut and is 3 for 3 lifetime. He was trained by Adam Kitchingham for his first three starts and makes his first start for Mullins on Saturday. Mullins said he thinks the future for Chips All In could be on the grass.

Hendricks has sent up Sheer Talent, who has made two starts, winning his debut at Del Mar and finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. He was beaten 3 1/4 lengths in the Futurity by the winner, Drill.

Cliff Delima sends out what could be the top hope among local horses in Marshal Marini, who ran third at this distance in the Cavonnier Juvenile at Santa Rosa and was second going 1 1/16 miles in the Charlie Palmer Futurity at Fresno on Oct. 16. He won for a $25,000 tag at Pleasanton in his debut.

“We had him in a maiden allowance race at Pleasanton, that’s what we thought of him,” said Delima. “He dropped the rider in the post parade, and there wasn’t another race for him, so we ran him in a claimer.”

A 2-year-old Marino Marini gelding bred and owned by Delima’s wife, Barbara, Marshal Marini could use his stalking speed and outside draw to good advantage.

Delima said he is using Saturday’s race as a stepping-stone to the Dec. 10 Gold Rush for Marshal Marini.

Jerry Hollendorfer will be represented by three runners in the Golden Nugget: Johnny Be Mine, who drew the rail off a first-out victory at Santa Anita; Squid, who ran second in the Brian Barenscheer Juvenile at Canterbury and makes his first start for Hollendorfer; and Russian Greek, who won his debut at Santa Rosa.

Rounding out the field are Blue Collar Boy and Passing Game.