11/20/2012 1:21PM

Golden Gate: Gig Harbor impressive in prep for Oakland Stakes

Shigeki Kikkawa
Gig Harbor earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98 for his Sunday allowance victory, and will return Dec. 15 for the Oakland Stakes.

Five sprinters ran Sunday at Golden Gate Fields in an open allowance race as a prep for the $50,000-added Oakland on Dec. 15.

The result was a bit of a surprise with the talented but troubled Gig Harbor knocking off Northern California’s No. 1 sprinter Shudacudawudya with ease. Perhaps an even bigger surprise was the fact he did it in wire-to-wire style, outracing Shudacudawudya’s speedy stablemate Cardiffbythesea to take command early.

“He’s very fast but also very ratable,” said winning trainer Steve Specht of Gig Harbor, a 4-year-old City Zip colt.

Breaking from the outside under Frank Alvarado, Gig Harbor got the jump on Cardiffbythesea and had a clear lead early in the six-furlong race. He set moderate fractions and pulled away from the late-running Shudacudawudya to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:09.26, good for a Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

Gig Harbor chipped an ankle running down the hill at Santa Anita on March 4 and had surgery. He returned Oct. 28 in a mile turf race when he and Cardiffbythesea cooked each other up front early.

“People may wonder about coming back in a mile and then running in a sprint,” said Specht. “He’d been gone a long time, and I was just trying to run him. I kept entering him in sprints, but they didn’t fill so we went in the mile just to run.”

Gig Harbor also went to the sidelines for eight months with foot problems in the spring of 2011 after winning the 1 1/16-mile Alcatraz on the turf here.

Specht plans to run Gig Harbor in the Oakland and will keep his eye on Southern California condition books, although he will avoid running the colt down the hill on the turf course at Santa Anita.

“They do write these open allowance races so that could keep him running regularly,” said Specht.

Thanksgiving Day card

Gates open at 9:30 a.m. for Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day card, with the first race scheduled for 11:15 a.m.

Fans can shoot at a $3,681 pick six carryover at Golden Gate Fields. Betfair Hollywood Park has a carryover of $560,133.

The Thanksgiving feature is an interesting $62,500 optional claimer for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. Handfull bring a five-race winning streak into the race, with the past three coming on turf. Sister Glady Oh La, who won twice at the level in the spring, has won her past two starts. The stakes winners Coup de Coeur and Lady Aspen are also entered.