01/02/2013 3:42PM

Golden Gate notes: Pair of prolific winners gave Sherman boost in 2012


Trainer Steve Sherman won 107 races in 2012, ranking him 40th in the nation, and 11 of those victories came from two horses.

The claimer Lord Vronsky won his final five starts of 2012, and Sister Glady Oh La won six races for Sherman.

A 5-year-old Vronsky gelding, Lord Vronsky was sent north to Sherman in July after previously being trained by Mike Mitchell. He had two seconds and a third in his first three starts for Sherman, then didn’t lose again for the rest of the year.

Lord Vronsky’s win streak began Sept. 1 when Sherman dropped him into a $4,000 claimer. He then won for $5,000, for $8,000 twice, and finally last Friday for a $10,000 tag, beating favored Bwana Be Gone by 2 1/4 lengths.

In Southern California, Lord Vronsky won a $40,000 maiden-claiming race and a starter allowance race.

Sherman, the son of trainer Art Sherman, said, “I may have had a horse win five straight when I was with my dad, but I’ve never done it with a horse I’ve trained.”

While Lord Vronsky, like most claimers, “definitely has his issues,” Sherman said, the trainer figured something out after Lord Vronsky went to the lead and tired in his first two Northern California starts. Since then, Lord Vronsky has learned to relax a bit early in his races.

“I think his running style has a lot to do with it,” Sherman said. “It’s not that he ran bad, but now we’ve taken him off the pace a little.”

Sherman said Lord Vronsky needs daily TLC, and he’s learned that he has to keep him fresh and not overtrain him.

Sister Glady Oh La put together two three-race win streaks for Sherman, including one to close out the year. She is entered in search of her fourth straight win in Friday’s $62,500 optional claiming feature, but the race is scheduled to be run on turf and Sister Glady Oh La will run only if it is transferred to the main track.

Cone: Lessons learned

Canadian trainer Rodney Cone came to Golden Gate Fields in 2010 but saw only one of his 40 starters win a race. He also had three seconds and five thirds.

He’s back again, having learned from his previous trip here.

On Sunday, he sent out Hard to Be Humble for a $26.80 win in a $4,000 claimer. He struck twice Monday, with Within Range ($35.60) in a $5,000 claimer and Bobby Handy ($22) in a $12,500 race. Jorge Espitia rode all three winners.

“I had a real struggle when I was here before,” Cone said from Golden Gate Fields. “I was stabled at Pleasanton, and now I’m stabled here. I know you want to have a real fit horse to run here.”

Cone said he learned an important lesson from his first visit to California.

“One thing I noticed when I came here is you better be prepared to drop horses,” he said. “If you’re not prepared to drop, you’re in trouble. If you’re not prepared to spot horses realistically, you don’t have a chance.”

Eclipse winners in jocks’ room

Two winners of the Eclipse Award for champion apprentice jockey, Kyle Frey (2011) and Christian Santiago Reyes (2009), are competing at Golden Gate Fields.

Frey, 20, grew up in Northern California and got his start here. He returned home late last year while still recuperating from a badly broken right leg suffered in a July spill.

Frey had 10 winners from 56 mounts during the fall meet here and has two wins from 20 mounts at the current meet after scoring with Unlimited Spending on New Year’s Day.

“My leg doesn’t hurt, but right now I shouldn’t be riding, according to what doctors originally said,” said Frey, who believes the leg, which needed a rod and four screws inserted during surgery, will be completely healthy next month.

Going into last weekend, Reyes had only one U.S. victory in 2012, but he won twice here Saturday, with Ol’ Steely Blue ($17.40) and Annie Em ($4). He got off to a good start in 2013 by guiding Pairodice Ridge ($34) to victory on New Year’s Day.

“Getting those two wins Saturday was a nice way to kick off the meeting,” he said.

◗ Jockey Juan Sanchez fractured his left collarbone and suffered a neck sprain Saturday when his mount in the sixth race, Crown Over, suffered a fatal injury when he broke his left front leg on the far turn.