12/15/2012 5:25PM

Golden Gate Fields: Gig Harbor proves uncatchable in Oakland

Vassar Photography
Gig Harbour, ridden by Frank Alvarado, scores by 2 1/2 lengths in the Oakland Stakes.

ALBANY, Calif. – Using the same tactics that produced  an allowance prep win in his last start, Gig Harbor scored a wire-to-wire victory in the $53,000 Oakland Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Breaking sharply from the rail, Gig Harbor ($6.60) assumed immediate command of the six-furlong race. He led favored Ain’t No Other by a length down the backstretch, maintaining that advantage to the quarter pole. When jockey Frank Alvarado hit the stretch, Gig Harbor opened on the rest of the field and was 2 1/2 lengths in front of Shrug at the finish. Ain’t No Other was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Gig Harbor set faster fractions than he had in a Nov. 18 prep and finished in 1:09.07. His winning time in the prep was 1:09.26.

Alvarado said trainer Steve Specht “was a little worried about the post, but I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ”

Alvarado’s job may have been made easier by the scratch of pace rival Cardiffbythesea because of illness, but Gig Harbor had controlled the pace against  Cardiffbythesea in the prep race.

“He broke like a bullet,” said Alvarado. “I was surprised there wasn’t more pressure. At the three-eighths pole when I didn’t see anybody, I said, ‘It’s over.’ ”

Specht said Cardiffbythesea “could have made it tougher on my horse, but he would have paid the price trying to go with my horse.”

Specht said the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on the turf would be the primary goal for Gig Harbor, a 4-year-old City Zip colt who won the Alcatraz on the turf here as a 3-year-old.

Gig Harbor earned $30,300 for owner Dan O’Neill, increasing his career earnings to $143,300 with 5 victories in 9 starts. He is 4-for-5 on the Golden Gate Fields main track.