12/10/2011 5:59PM

Golden Gate Fields: Russian Greek strongest in stretch of Gold Rush

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Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Russian Greek outfinishes Marshal Marini (6) by a neck in the Gold Rush Stakes.

Russian Greek made a bold rally along the rail through the lane to catch Marshal Marini in the final strides to win the $75,260 Gold Rush Stakes by a neck at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Russian Greek ($16.80), last down the backstretch when favored Lucky Culprit was pulled up after being bumped hard by Cahill Chrome on the first turn, was five lengths behind Marshal Marini, who opened up on the field in the stretch.

Inoel Beato kept Russian Greek on the rail, and the Giant’s Causeway colt responded to vigorous right-handed whipping to surge past Marshal Marini near the wire.

Russian Greek finished fifth in the six-furlong Golden Nugget on Nov. 12 in his second start, but Beato said he was confident before Saturday’s race.

“He finished well, and I thought the longer distance would be better for him,” Beato said.

“He stumbled after leaving the gate, and I was farther behind than I thought I’d be. I didn’t want to take a chance going outside so I stayed on the rail. I rode Marshal Marini at Fresno and know he likes to drift out.”

Russian Greek won the one-mile race for 2-year-olds in 1:39.18.

Pacesetting Blacky the Bull ran third, finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind Marshal Marini.

The victory, worth $45,000, was the second in three starts for Russian Greek, a $100,000 Keeneland November 2010 purchase trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. He has now earned $$61,700 for Olympia Star Inc.