12/08/2012 6:06PM

Golden Gate Fields: Zeewat makes sharp move to take Gold Rush Stakes

Vassar Photography
Zeewat pulls away in the Gold Rush under Russell Baze. Zeewat added blinkers for the race.

ALBANY, Calif. – Zeewat the only stakes winner in the field of six 3-year-olds in Saturday’s $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields, was pushed to the lead down the backstretch and pulled clear in the lane, scoring a decisive 3 1/4-length victory.

Coming off a third-place finish in the Golden Nugget and adding blinkers for his first start around two turns, Zeewat was just one-half length behind dueling leaders Londinium and Royal Barrister as the field reached the backstretch after a pedestrian 25.07 opening quarter in the one-mile race.

Sensing the slow pace, jockey Russell Baze moved between the two front-runners to take the lead after a opening half 49.85 in seconds. The trio was still closely bunched at the quarter pole when Baze asked Zeewat for his move and quickly opened up on 11-to-10 favorite Royal Barrister as Londinium faltered.

Zeewat pulled clear and held off Condiment and My Best Bet, who had finished second and third behind him in the Cavonnier at Santa Rosa this summer. He won in 1:38.13, running his final quarter in 23.79 seconds, the fastest quarter of the race.

Condiment was one length in front of My Best Bet, who defeated stablemate fourth-place finisher Rush In by a neck.

“He’s a different horse with blinkers on. It really woke this colt up,” said Baze, who has been aboard for all three of Zeewat’s victories.

“We were on the lead, but we were going very slow. He was up on the bit and wanting to run the whole way. When I set him down, he extended his stride, and away he went.”

The victory, worth $45,000, improved Zeewat’s record to three wins and a third in five starts and boosted his earnings to $117,700. The Harlan’s Holiday colt, owned by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and Dr. George Todaro, was a $50,000 Keeneland purchase last September. He paid $6 to win.

The victory gave Hollendorfer three straight wins with horses he owns in the first three races on the card. He also won with Macho ($11.80) in the first and Welcome Home Ryan ($12.40) in the second.