05/15/2011 10:43AM

Golden Gate Fields: Gig Harbor carries his speed far enough to capture Alcatraz

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Gig Harbor, racing beyond six furlongs for the first time, handles the 1 1/16 miles of turf in the Alcatraz Stakes.

ALBANY, Calif. – Trainer Steve Specht expected Gig Harbor to take the lead in the $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday, and he felt confident the 3-year-old son of City Zip could carry his speed 1 1/16 miles in his first try around two turns.

Gig Harbor ($6.20), who went off favored in the field of eight 3-year-olds, lived up to Specht’s expectations, scoring a front-running, one-half length victory in the turf race. Second choice Duke of Doom rallied for second with longshot Cody Peak getting up for third.

“He’s got speed to sprint, and he’s got stamina to hang around for 1 1/16 miles,” said Specht. “He impressed me today because the other horses had all been a distance before.”

Gig Harbor cruised through a 49.21-second opening half. Northern Causeway pulled within a head of the lead approaching the quarter pole, but Gig Harbor responded nicely, pulling clear in the stretch and holding off Duke of Doom’s late charge to win in 1:44.17.

“When I read the Daily Racing Form, I thought I might be on the lead by myself, and it worked out that way,” said winning rider Frank Alvarado. “”He took the lead nice and easy. I kept waiting and waiting before I asked him. It was his first time going 1 1/16 miles so you have to be patient. He felt strong the whole way.”

Gig Harbor has won 3 of 4 starts for owner Dan O’Neill and ran third in the Harry Henson in his other start. He earned $45,000 to lift his career earnings to $90,300.