03/12/2013 11:46AM

Golden Gate: San Francisco Mile-bound horses prep in Friday allowance

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Victor Fierros/Vassar Photography
Hudson Landing is using a six-furlong allowance sprint on Friday as a prep for a repeat attempt at the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile.

Gallant Son, Bailouttheminister, Hudson Landing, Control Seeker – what is this, a late edition to the Golden Gate Fields stakes schedule?

In fact, it’s one of Golden Gate Fields’ special conditioned allowance races that give stakes-quality runners a chance to prep for upcoming stakes.

The six-furlong race drew the four aforementioned stakes winners plus Handsome Harvey Jr., who despite being only a maiden and starter allowance winner has had a big impact on the race. He was the crucial fifth horse entered, which allowed the race to go.

Bettors should approach the race with caution, since it is just a prep for most of the participants, even though it carries a $34,000 purse and an additional $10,200 California-breds.

For Hudson Landing and Control Seeker, who finished one-two in last November’s Grade 3 All American here, the race is the first step to the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on April 27.

For Gallant Son, coming off a victory in the Feb. 18 Albany Stakes, it’s a chance to stay sharp and see if he should be considered for the Grade 2 Potrero Grande at 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on April 6.

For Bailouttheminister, a troubled eighth in his comeback in the Albany, it’s a chance to gear up further for upcoming sprint stakes down south.

For Handsome Harvey Jr., who is eligible for the first allowance condition, it’s a chance to test himself with the big boys.

Blaine Wright, Hudson Landing’s trainer, said, “I’ve been entering trying to go in a route, but the races haven’t filled.”

Hudson Landing is not a sprinter. The 6-year-old gelding has 12 wins from 36 starts, including victories in the All American and San Francisco Mile last year, but he’s unplaced in two tries at Friday’s distance.

“My horse isn’t a very good work horse,” Wright said. “He always tries in races, but he’s not a good practice runner. I look forward to getting him out of the barn. He’s been ready for about three weeks. We want to get him race fit.”

The race will be the equivalent of three or four works, Wright said.

It also will be a springboard to a one-mile turf race on April 6 that will serve as the main prep for the San Francisco Mile.

Realistically, Wright believes either Gallant Son or Bailouttheminister will win, but he thinks Hudson Landing has a puncher’s chance if the leaders go too fast early and jockey Frank Alvarado is able to get the horse in gear.

“If they battle to the wire, who knows?” he said. “Sometimes closers do well. Frank said he’ll be running at them in the lane.”

Trainer Keith Nations is sending out both Bailouttheminister and Control Seeker. Bailouttheminister won last summer’s Sam Whiting sprint at Pleasanton, but broke slowly and finished eighth in the Albany last month in his first start since last summer. Control Seeker will make his first start since losing by a nose to Hudson Landing in the All American last November.

Nations said it would take a very big effort for him to run Bailouttheminister in the Potrero Grande. He’s also looking at the 7 1/2-furlong Tiznow for California-breds on April 27 at Betfair Hollywood Park, adding he’d consider running in the one-mile turf race here April 6 to prepare for the Tiznow.

Friday’s race is the first of at least two planned preps for the San Francisco Mile for Control Seeker.

“We didn’t want to go into the San Francisco Mile with just one race,” Nations said.

Although Control Seeker has made the great majority of his starts going two turns, Nations thinks he has a chance Friday, pointing out that he ran second in a sprint stakes as a 2-year-old.

“He’s drawn perfectly with the outside post,” he said.