02/16/2013 12:25PM

Golden Gate: Nations duo sitting on ready for Albany

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Last summer Bailouttheminister won the Sam J. Whiting at Pleasanton (above) and ran fifth in the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs. He has not run since that Aug. 19 race.

Horses returning from layoffs are often intriguing propositions, especially in stakes races.

Trainer Keith Nations, who has enjoyed great success the past two years here, has two comebackers set for Monday’s six-furlong, $50,000 Albany Stakes at Golden Gate Fields: Bailouttheminister and Hexbreaker.

“Both are working fantastic,” Nations said.

The two California-breds, both owned by Edward and Theresa DeNike, have been freshened since late last summer. Bailouttheminister got a break after a better-than-looked fifth in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 19. Hexbreaker’s last start was in a $62,500 optional claimer here on Sept. 2.

Bailouttheminister blossomed last spring when Nations returned him to sprinting. He won two straight on the Tapeta main track here and then ran second in a turf sprint. He next won the Sam J. Whiting at Pleasanton before trying the Longacres Mile.

“I’m expecting him to run very well,” said Nations. “He had a (six-furlong) 1:13 bullet and was well within himself, then had a nice seven-furlong work. He’s galloping great.”

While Nations says he thinks Bailouttheminister is “fit enough to win,” he also knows this is just the start of the 2013 campaign, and there are bigger targets down the road.

The 8-year-old Hexbreaker will be looking for his 10th victory over the Golden Gate Fields Tapeta surface. He matched Bailouttheminister’s 1:13 clocking on Feb. 2 to share a bullet, and earned a bullet outworking his stablemate with a 1:25.40 seven-furlong drill on Feb. 9.

“I originally said I wasn’t going to run Hexbreaker, but he’s been working up a storm, and he does well off fresheners,” said Nations.

While Nations’s two runners will have their share of backers, they have their work cut out for them against seven rivals in a deep race.

Gallant Son, who also got time off after the Longacres Mile, has a 6 1/2-furlong turf sprint at Santa Anita under his belt in preparation for the Albany.

Shrug ran second in the Oakland Stakes here in December despite breaking a step slowly.

Moonshine Bay won his California debut here in allowance company on Jan 27, and Chapman’s Peak won his Golden Gate debut the day before. Moonshine Bay won his first start of 2013 at Aqueduct, while Chapman’s Peak has won three of his past four. Both, though, are making their stakes debut.

Road Ready, who won the Lost in the Fog here in his career debut in 2010, is also entered, as is Soldiers Point, who has five exacta finishes in eight starts here. The stakes winner Northern Causeway rounds out the field.