04/28/2012 9:54PM

Golden Gate Fields: Former claimer Hudson Landing upsets San Francisco Mile

Victor Fierros/ Vassar Photography
Hudson Landing, under Juan Hernandez, gives trainer Blaine Wright the biggest victory of his career in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile.

ALBANY, Calif. -- Hudson Landing  lived up to his owner's wildest expectations and exceeded those of his trainer as he held off odds-on Jeranimo to win the Grade 3, $150,000  San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Hudson Landing ($19.60), who finished fifth in the race last year and has been claimed five times since then, raced in the clear while three wide in midpack. He avoided any trouble and clearly had Gallant Son measured when he took the lead in the lane. Hudson Landing pulled past Gallant Son, but Jeranimo, who dropped back to ninth in the early going, was flying after swinging extremely wide for room into the lane.

Though he finished fastest, Jeranimo was one-half length behind Hudson Landing at the wire with Gallant Son another three-quarters of a length back. The winning time for the one-mile turf race was 1:37.29 after honest fractions of 23.87 seconds, 48.29, 1:12.57, and 1:24.43.

"This is by far the biggest win of my career," said winning trainer Blaine Wright, who recorded his first graded stakes victory. "This is something I never imagined doing."

Owner Jared Chappel, who claimed Hudson Landing for $50,000 on Feb. 25 after twice losing shakes for $32,000 and $40,000, said, "He had to win a couple of times to try this race, and he did that."

Hudson Landing won his first two starts for Chappel in optional $62,500 claimers on the main track. He is now 3 for 3 for Chappel while earning $129,000.

"He loves this track and this grass," said Chappel after Hudson Landing's fourth victory in five starts over Golden Gate’s turf course. "To be able to take a shot like this and have it pay off is certainly gratifying."

Juan Hernandez had a dream trip, sitting fifth in the field of 10. Though a bit wide, he was in the clear all the way.

"He relaxed and did everything perfect," said Hernandez.

"When we were coming to the quarter pole, I moved him outside and hit him, and he took off. He ran strong down the stretch."

Mike Smith said he tried to get Jeranimo relaxed but said, "He relaxed a little bit too much.

"I got caught behind a bunch of horses that were stopping, and I had to take the overland trip and ended up going too wide. I think he was the best horse, but you have to give the winner credit."

Hudson Landing earned $90,000 for his first graded stakes victory. The victory was his 10th in 29 starts and improved his career earnings to $365,688.

Wright said that he would consider the Grade 3 Berkeley on the main track on Memorial Day for Hudson Landing.