01/26/2012 2:26PM

Golden Gate: Rivalry to be renewed in Albany

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It may not be Affirmed and Alydar, but Sourdough Sam and Shudacudawudya have a nice rivalry going, and they renew it Saturday in the $50,000 Albany Stakes over the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields.

The two 5-year-olds have met three times and have run one-two in each race, including in the Oakland Stakes last October.

They first hooked up at age 2, splitting a pair of decisions. Sourdough Sam won the first meeting, beating Shudacudawudya by three-quarters of a length in an allowance race. Shudacudawudya avenged that defeat, beating Sourdough Sam by the same margin in the Golden Nugget Stakes.

They went their separate ways after the Golden Nugget and didn’t face each other again until the Oakland Stakes, like the Albany a six-furlong sprint. Sourdough Sam rallied to win the Oakland by 1 1/4 lengths after Shudacudawudya had claimed the lead in the stretch.

Sourdough Sam recorded a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

“It’s going to be a good race,” said Sourdough Sam’s trainer, Dean Pederson, who moved his barn from Northern California to Southern California last spring. “Shudacudwudya is a very good horse. You can’t take anything for granted running against him, but I look forward to coming up.”

Since their last meeting, Shudacudawudya matched his career-best 100 Beyer Firure in a dominating allowance victory. Sourdough Sam will be making his first start since the Oakland, having suffering a minor injury in his stall in early November.

Shudacudawudya’s trainer, Lloyd Mason, is hopeful his star can reverse the defeat in the Oakland.

“He’s doing pretty good,” said Mason.

Mason also sends out Soldiers Point in his stakes debut. Soldiers Point was last as the favorite in an allowance race on Jan. 16, when his stablemate Dunmore East defeated Bold Chieftain.

That race was Soldiers Point’s first at two turns, and Mason prefers to look at the 4-year-old Soldiers Point’s two straight sprint wins before then.

Mason puts the blame for the poor performance on himself.

“He was put in solely to make the race go,” he said. “He wasn’t 100-percent perfectly trained for that race.”

Saturday’s race marks the return of Gig Harbor, who won the Alcatraz Stakes and finished third in the Harry Henson at Hollywood Park last year. Gig Harbor won two sprints at Golden Gate last year, but he hasn’t raced since May.

“This is a spot to get started,” said trainer Steve Specht.

Live Sundays and Reagan Republican round out the field.