05/15/2012 1:19PM

Golden Gate notes: Krigger gets mount’s nose on the line in time


Jockey Kevin Krigger is a man of his word, as trainer John Sadler found out Saturday when Krigger put Stoney Fleece’s nose on the finish line just before pacesetting favorite Chips All In’s nose hit the wire in the $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Although Stoney Fleece, a 3-year-old son of Decarchy, won the Grade 3 Generous on the turf last year, he had lost two straight Southern California turf stakes to Chips All In.

“My horse has been chasing Chips All In down there, and I told John, ‘I’m going to make the difference.’ I’m glad I was able to keep my word,” said Krigger, who rode Stoney Fleece for the first time.

The finish was so close Krigger didn’t know if he’d won, but, as they galloped out, Chips All In’s rider, Aaron Gryder, told Krigger he’d be posing for pictures.

Gryder says he’s not practicing to be a photo-finish judge.

“Sometimes I’ve mistaken it,” said Gryder. “But after nearly 27,000 races, you know. My horse didn’t have his head down. It was down one step before and one step after the wire. Right at the wire was the only time in the whole race when he wasn’t in front.”

Gryder, who has two wins, including the $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity, and two photo-finish losses aboard Chips All In, said, “He ran great. He’s such an easy horse to ride. He’s very relaxed. If you need to go 46 he will or if you want to go 48 like Saturday, he will.

“Kevin rode a good race. Instead of sitting back like they’d been doing down there, he sat close because he knew I had the horse to beat.”

Krigger went south when the 2012 racing season began. Despite a slow start, he wound up tied for seventh in the Santa Anita standings with Victor Espinoza, another former Nocal rider, with 27 wins. Nocal expatriates Joel Rosario and Martin Garcia finished first and fifth.

Krigger has enjoyed success with Sadler. They have teamed for 9 wins, 9 seconds and 4 thirds in 40 starts.

“He’s a very nice young man, and he rode a really nice race,” said Sadler. “He rides well, and you look for someone willing to go out of town for you.”

Sadler claimed Stoney Fleece for $40,000 out of his first race for owners Gary and Cecil Barber. “I knew his mother, and she was terrific,” said Sadler of the dam, Gold Fleece.

Sadler said the California-bred Stoney Fleece would return for the $100,000 Silky Sullivan, a one-mile turf stakes for Cal-breds on June 9.

Business as usual

Golden Gate Fields interim general manager Joe Morris got off to an early start on his birthday Monday as he joined electricians in trying to find the broken fuses that plagued operations at the track last week after a power spike hit on Wednesday night.

In less than two hours, the crew had found one of the troubled junction boxes that was covered by four inches of asphalt in the north parking lot, which gave Morris time to get to a charity golf tournament where he was teeing off with Russell Baze.

“The track opened in 1941, and there was some pretty old wiring around here, a lot of it underground,” said Morris.

What pleased Morris was that despite a lot of scrambling by staff, patrons, by and large, were unaware of any problems.

Morris brought in a number of generators to keep operations as normal as possible, particularly in the kitchen area to keep food and beverage service going, as well as in the barn area. He even brought in an additional generator on Sunday for the concert stage.

About the worst things that happened were one fan was stuck in an elevator a half-hour early Thursday and a freight elevator to the kitchen had to be used as a handicap-accessible elevator for fans.

After the initial shock, Morris said the staff pitched in, coming up with creative ways to still make the racing day good for fans.

A special menu was created for Sunday’s sold-out Mother’s Day in the Turf Club, with a special omelet station that created more than 600 omelets

Morris said when he was touring the kitchen early Sunday morning, he spied three candles glowing in a corner and discovered some of the crew working by candlelight, wrapping and placing hot dogs in chafing dishes heated by sterno in preparation for $1 hot dog sales.

Millionaire runs Thursday

The millionaire Delightful Kiss makes his second start of the year Thursday in a one-mile $25,000 optional claiming race that may have been written for him.

An 8-year-old Kissin Kris gelding, Delightful Kiss has earned $1,094,463 with 7 wins in 35 starts, but he doesn’t have to run for a claiming price because he qualifies under the clause that lets runners who have not won a race since Jan. 4, 2009, to run under the allowance condition.

Delightful Kiss, who won the Grade 3 All American here in 2008 before finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, scored his last victory in the one-mile Grade 3 Hal’s Hope at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 3, 2009.

Trained by Aggie Ordonez, Delightful Kiss has made one start this year, running last the whole way behind Live Sundays in a March 18 allowance race.

He picks up the services of leading rider Russell Baze in the race that seemingly could be a prep for the May 28 Grade 3 Berkeley at 1 1/16 miles.

Early opening Saturday

Gates open early at 9 a.m. for the Preakness on Saturday. The first simulcast race from Pimlico will be race 4 with a 9:37 a.m. Pacific post. Golden Gate’s first live race will go off at 11:45 a.m.