04/02/2013 1:23PM

Golden Gate notes: Golden Poppy coming up strong

Shigeki Kikkawa
Yellow Ribbon Handicap winner Halo Dolly is expected to head the Golden Poppy on Saturday.

With the return to turf racing this week, entries are up at Golden Gate Fields.

And Sunday’s first turf stakes race of the year, the $50,000-added Golden Poppy, should have a good-sized field. The 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares attracted 23 nominees.

Among those expected to run are the turf-loving multiple stakes winner Halo Dolly and her Jerry Hollendorfer-trained stablemate Lady Aspen, who has won two straight over the turf here.

Central Heat and Koby Jo also are considered probable for the race.

Listed as possible early in the week by the racing office were Cathy’s Crunches, Ms Pianist, Plaza de Indias, and Sweetly Peppered.

Good ones go Friday

Friday’s Golden Gate Fields card includes one of the special allowance races that give some of the better horses on the grounds a chance to run.

Females are the beneficiaries Friday, with a 5 1/2-furlong race that includes Distinctive Yolie, who was second in the March 9 Camila Urso, and Justalittleloopy, who has never finished off the board in seven starts. Rounding out the field are Platinum Rules, who set the pace before fading against males last time, Chukchi Surprise, and Southern California invader Folk Dancer.

If it fills, there will be an even better race over the weekend to serve as a prep for the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on April 27. Mile possibilities Hudson Landing and Control Seeker could run, and Bailouttheminister also is a candidate.

◗ Dice Flavor and Nina’s Dragon finished one-two in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby, and both made their first start since then Saturday. Dice Flavor went to Dubai and finished eighth in the $2 million UAE Derby. Nina’s Dragon finished 12th from post 14 in the $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.