12/08/2011 12:27PM

Golden Gate: Morey looking for another strike in Gold Rush


Trainer Billy Morey hopes Saturday’s $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields will prove a launch pad for one of his young horses for the second straight year.

Morey won last year’s edition with Positive Response, who went on to win the California Derby, place third in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby, and then go on the road to win the $100,000 John Battaglia at Turfway Park.

This year, he sends out Lucky Culprit against five rivals in the Gold Rush, a one-mile race on Tapeta for 2-year-olds.

Lucky Culprit has run twice, finishing second at Golden Gate in his debut and winning his second start by 3 1/4 lengths here with a Beyer Speed Figure of 87. Both of Lucky Culprit’s races came sprinting, but Morey thinks Lucky Culprit, a Lucky Pulpit gelding, will run well in his first try around two turns.

“We’ve liked Lucky Culprit all along,” he said. “His second race was super. He finished strong and galloped out well. We’ve always thought he was built like a route horse. He’s always been solid in his works and showed endurance.”

Lucky Culprit dueled on the lead in his debut but sat back in a comfortable stalking position behind fast early fractions in his second start. Russell Baze rode him in both starts and will be aboard on Saturday.

Lucky Culprit’s primary competition could come from Marshal Marini, drawn just outside him in post 6. Marshal Marini has hit the board in all five career starts, running third in a pair of sprint stakes and second to Longview Drive in the 1 1/16-mile Charlie Palmer at the Big Fresno Fair.

Trainer Cliff Delima believes Marshal Marini is better around two turns than sprinting.

Trainer Roger Hansen has the only runner in the Gold Rush field with a victory at a mile in Cahill Chrome, who is 2 for 2 at the distance. Cahill Chrome has won his last three starts after losing his first five. He won a $25,000 maiden claiming race on the dirt at Fresno in October, and then a one-mile starter allowance and a one-mile allowance race on the Tapeta at Golden Gate.

“We always thought he’d get better once he could go long,” Hansen said.

Blacky the Bull won a six-furlong maiden race on the dirt at Santa Anita in October, earning a Beyer Figure of 83, then finished eighth of nine in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill Downs. He will have the services of jockey Kevin Krigger, who has won the past four stakes run here.


Gold Rush Stakes, Post Time: 1:45 PT Saturday

Purse: $75,000; 1 mile





ML Odds


Blacky The Bull

J. Bonde

K. Krigger




J. Hollendorfer

F. Alvarado



Cahill Chrome

R. Hansen

J. Hernandez



Russian Greek

J. Hollendorfer

I. Beato



Lucky Culprit/strong>

W. Morey

R. Baze



Marshal Marini

C. DeLima

A. Cedillo