04/30/2011 9:46PM

Golden Gate Fields: No one can catch Our Nautique in San Francisco Mile

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Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Kevin Krigger, aboard Our Nautique, leads the 6-year-old gelding to a wire-to-wire win in the San Francisco Mile.

ALBANY, Calif. – Most race observers expected Our Nautique to be on the lead early in the Grade 3, $100,000 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

The few who expected the 6-year-old Our Nautique ($40.40) to be leading at the finish line were richly rewarded as he pulled clear in the stretch to score a  1 1/4-length upset over fellow longshot Gallant Son in Northern California’s most prestigious turf race.

Running evenly under Kevin Krigger, Our Nautique had plenty left when challenged at the quarter pole by Blue Chagall and kicked on to win in 1:35.70. There was no suspense in the stretch as he dug in and pulled clear, cruising home strongly.

“That was a spectacular race this horse ran today,” said Krigger, who teamed with leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer for their second straight stakes victory after having won the Work the Crowd with U R All That I Am on Golden Gate’s turf one week earlier.

“I had a lot of horse under me, and we had a perfect trip being the lone speed on the lead. It worked out perfectly. Turning for home, I wound him up, and he gave me all he had. He ran huge, pulling away at the end. What more can you say?”

Our Nautique led Hudson Landing by one length through early fractions of 24.20 and 48.48 seconds.

Blue Chagall and Hudson Landing were within one-half length of the winner at the quarter pole through six furlongs in 1:11.8, before Krigger asked his mount for some run.

Our Nautique open a 1 1/2-length advantage by the eighth pole as Gallant Son loomed into second but could gain little ground on the winner.

The favored Sebastian Flyte was third, another three-quarters of a length back with defending champion Bold Chieftain fourth another 1 1/4 lengths back.

Hollendorfer, who watched the race from Kentucky, said that he and Krigger had gone over strategy Friday and that the race went according to plan.

The New Zealand-bred, who is missing his right eye, was sent to the United States last year by breeder Rob Tunnicliffe, who offered Hollendorfer a half-interest in the horse.

He ran last in a five-furlong sprint in his U.S. debut, which also marked his first main-track start. He has hit the board in his 10 starts since, including a third in last fall’s Grade 3 All American here and a second in a March 26 prep race in the March Madness at Santa Anita.

“He’d been off a while and probably needed his last race a little bit,” said Hollendorfer, who scored his second San Francisco Mile victory after winning with Ninebanks in 2003. “He couldn’t quite hold on last time, although I thought he ran a good race.”

The victory, worth $60,000, was Our Nautique’s first stakes victory and lifted his career earnings to $191,340.

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela said 11-10 favorite Sebastian Flyte “couldn’t grab hold of the turf. He was spinning his wheels on the turf.”