03/20/2012 12:50PM

Golden Gate: Live Sundays proves uncatchable


Sunday’s one-mile allowance race at Golden Gate Fields reaffirmed an old racetrack axiom: pace makes the race.

Live Sundays went to an uncontested lead on the Tapeta main track, relaxed nicely, and was never seriously challenged while scoring a 1 1/2-length victory in 1:38.10 while earning a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.

Trainer Victor Trujillo said he and owners Fran and Stan Hodge would take their time deciding what to do next with the 6-year-old High Brite gelding who was second to Shudacudawudya in the six-furlong Albany on Jan. 12. Live Sundays has a win and two seconds from four turf races, and he could go in the Grade 3, $150,000 San Francisco Mile on the turf April 28, although the tougher company makes that an ambitious spot.

“The San Francisco Mile is a tough race,” Trujillo said. “It seems a little tough for him. It might be too much.

“We’ll see how the horse came out of the race and wait until he’s had a work. He cooled out nice and ate all his dinner and ate everything Monday morning.”

Trujillo was worried that favored Shudacudawudya would put pressure on Live Sundays early on Sunday, but Shudacudawudya finished an even fourth and never got near the lead. Shudacudawudya bled, trainer Lloyd Mason said. Shudacudawudya has had bleeding problems before, and Mason said he will take some time before bringing him back.

Without pressure from Shudacudawudya, Russell Baze was able to sit pretty aboard Live Sundays, who always had an open lead while running evenly.

Positive Response, making his second start after an 11-month layoff, finished nicely for second behind Live Sundays.

“He ran great, and I hope he runs even better next time,” trainer Billy Morey said. “We know that he can run with these.”

Morey did not rule out running Positive Response back in the San Francisco Mile, although he is eyeing a one-mile allowance on the turf scheduled for April 7. Positive Response has never run on turf. All 10 career starts have come on synthetic surfaces, including three wins over Golden Gate Fields’s Tapeta, which has frequently proven kind to turf runners.

“Some horses, you know they have no chance on the turf, but he might, even though he’s run exclusively on synthetics,” Morey said.

Distinctive Yolie gets test in dash

Morey’s undefeated 3-year-old filly Distinctive Yolie will get her toughest test in Thursday’s feature, an open allowance sprint at six furlongs.

Distinctive Yolie stalked the pace early and pulled clear in the lane to win her Jan. 21 debut. She showed improvement with a wire-to-wire win under Russell Baze in an optional claimer in start No. 2 on Feb. 25.

“It’s a tough test for her to try,” Morey said of Thursday’s race. “She’s 2 for 2 and has some speed. She likes this track, and Russell stays with her. Those are all good signs.”

Providing the competition are British-bred Dijarvo, a stakes winner in France who was sixth in her U.S. debut in the Sweet Life down the hill at Santa Anita; Rowdy Gal, who was fifth in the Sweet Life after running fourth in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez; Lady Hokulea, a stakes entrant down south who won her debut here Feb. 5; and I’m Tops, who brings a three-race win streak into the race.

Morey bought Distinctive Yolie for $45,000 at Barretts last May.

“We turned her out to let her mature, and when she was ready for her first race, we didn’t know what to expect but thought she’d run well,” he said. “Then she ran even better in her second start.”

Morey also is high on another 3-year-old filly. Bellamine, making her first start for Morey after being purchased privately, won a one-mile maiden race Friday by four lengths.

7-race cards on Thursday, Friday

Golden Gate will go with seven races Thursday and Friday because of low horse inventory.

“Right now, we are in the midst of our most difficult time,” racing secretary David Jerkens said. “We’re trying to preserve our weekend cards.

“This is the time we hit a rough patch before our turf course opens, before 2-year-olds are ready to run, when trainers are heading back to Washington for the start of Emerald Downs.”

Jerkens said some recent rainy weather also may have contributed to the problem of trying to fill eight races.

The problem is not limited to Northern California. Santa Anita could card only eight races Sunday.