06/05/2012 1:14PM

Golden Gate Fields: Southern California trainers targeting Silky Sullivan


Saturday’s $100,000 Silky Sullivan at Golden Gate Fields, a one-mile turf race for California-bred 3-year-olds, is proving too tempting to pass up for the Southern California-based trainers John Sadler and Eric Kruljac.

Sadler is sending up Alcatraz winner Stoney Fleece, while Kruljac is running La Mano Nera, who will be making his first start around two turns after winning a first-level allowance turf sprint at Hollywood Park on May 13.

“It’s a very salty race, but it’s the thing to do,” said Kruljac, who won the $100,000 Campanile for 3-year-old fillies last Saturday here with Best Present Ever.

Also being considered for the Silky Sullivan are A Toast to You, Cahill Chrome, Exotic Slew, Magico, Pepnic, and The Black.

Exotic Slew’s lone victory came in a six-furlong turf sprint at Hollywood Park last December. A Bertrando gelding owned by Curt and Lila Lanning, Exotic Slew was second in the California Breeders’ Championship and comes off a fourth after setting the pace in a main-track allowance race here in his Northern California debut on April 26.

“We’re planning on it,” trainer Ed Moger Jr. said of running Exotic Slew in the Silky Sullivan.

Moger said Exotic Slew finished well in his work on Saturday, going seven furlongs in 1:27.20.

Trainer Roger Hansen was still weighing options for Cahill Chrome last weekend, but unlike Moger, he seemed inclined to pass the race. Owned by Kjell Qvale, Cahill Chrome was second early in the year in the California Derby but then ran last in both the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby and last month’s Alcatraz on the turf.

With Stoney Fleece coming back after winning the Alcatraz and several other Southern California runners also looking north, Hansen said he thought there was an upcoming turf allowance race scheduled June 16 that would be a “better fit” for Cahill Chrome.

Hansen also seems to have found a spot for the 9-year-old stakes winner Restless Youth, entering him in a $25,000 claimer at five furlongs on the turf Thursday.

“It might be a little short, but it’s a spot,” said Hansen of Restless Youth, who won the six-furlong Sam Whiting at Pleasanton in 2010. “We’re jumping him up and down the claiming ranks to find where he fits.

“We’ll retire him when he doesn’t want to race any more, but he still squeals when he goes to the track.”

Moger 2-year-old looks good in debut

Moger unveiled an interesting 2-year-old prospect in Native Treasure, who scored a three-length, wire-to-wire victory in his debut last Friday over favored Saint Prado. He covered 4 1/2 furlongs in 52.59 seconds.

Moger said he will probably skip the June 16 Lost in the Fog with Native Treasure, a Tribal Rule colt, and would probably wait until the July 8 Everett Nevin at Pleasanton.

Oh Molly Brannigan will get vacation

Campanile winner Best Present Ever and runner-up Oh Molly Brannigan both came out of last Saturday’s race in good shape. The one-mile turf race for 3-year-old California-bred fillies was run in 1:36.57. Best Present Ever netted an 88 Beyer Speed Figure.

Best Present Ever, given that name by owner-breeder Nancy Grenier because she was foaled on Grenier’s birthday on Feb. 17, has now won three straight on the turf. Kruljac says he will see how she’s doing the next few weeks before selecting her next race. Trainer Andy Mathis was pleased by Oh Molly Brannigan’s front-running effort in the Campanile, but said that he would give her a freshener until the fall.

“She sure tries hard,” he said. “It’s a hard style she has. She goes hard start to finish. It’s not the style where you can keep a horse going out every three or four weeks. She’s happy, but we want to keep her running for a couple more years.”

Wine festival on Belmont Day

All gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday, Belmont Stakes Day, with the first live race scheduled at 11:45 a.m. Pacific.

Two special promotions are planned, with a wine festival from noon to 4 and a Triple Crown VIP party in the mezzanine section at the clubhouse turn.

Tickets to the wine festival are $38, which includes admission, a souvenir Golden Gate Fields wine glass, 15 samples of wine, and a sampling of domestic cheeses and other food. A jazz band will provide entertainment in the area next to the winner’s circle.

Tickets are $65 to the VIP party, and that includes admission and a program, an open bar, a special dining menu, and two cigars.

◗ Adding to the usual Dollar Day promotion on Sunday, Golden Gate is hosting Fiesta Hispana – Hispanic Heritage Day. The festival includes mariachi bands, clown performances, and a chance to test soccer skills with the San Jose Earthquakes.