04/05/2011 12:07PM

Golden Gate: San Francisco Mile candidates tune up in allowance


Last weekend’s allowance race that came up as tough as a stakes turned out to be an almost perfect prep for the April 30 Grade 3 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields. The one-mile turf race had eight entrants – four locals and four from Southern California.

Hudson Landing won the race over the stakes winner Posse Power, with graded winner Awesome Gem in third.

“We’re surprised the race came up so tough,” said stakes coordinator David Jerkins. “It was a very competitive field.”

Unfortunately, graded stakes winner Meteore broke down going into the first turn. He suffered a badly fractured right front foreleg and had to be euthanized.

Locally based Hudson Landing made it 3 for 3 over the turf here with his victory, and trainer Billy Morey said he’s planning to run the 4-year-old Maria’s Mon gelding in the San Francisco Mile.

Posse Power, making his turf debut for trainer Frank Lucarelli, finished one length behind Hudson Landing.

“We would hope to get the top two to come back,” Jerkins said. “We’ll have some local interest because Bold Chieftain is also going to run. I think we’ll have a strong field because it’s a race that’s on people’s radar in Southern California.”

Hudson Landing usually stalks the pace, but he went wire to wire under Frank Alvarado on Saturday, which Morey said was the plan.

“I told Frank to go,” he said. “There wasn’t much pace, and he’d just shown speed in a sprint at Santa Anita.”

Alvarado and Hudson Landing cruised through even splits of 23.73 seconds, 24.73, 24.44, and 24.24 as Hudson Landing rated perfectly. When Posse Power pulled within a half-length at the eighth pole, Hudson Landing responded nicely and was never seriously challenged the rest of the way.

“Obviously, a lot of us were looking at this race as a prep,” said Morey. “We won the prep so we’ll run in the San Francisco Mile. It’s nice for us because he loves this course.”

Hudson Landing won an optional claimer and then the Alcatraz on the turf here last year.

“Trying him on turf was a normal progression because he’d run well on Tapeta,” said Morey, who saw Hudson Landing win his maiden in his first start with him after beginning his career back east. “At the time, we had targeted the Alcatraz and wanted to see if he would be good enough to enter.”

Hudson Landing’s biggest local challenge in the San Francisco Mile could come from Bold Chieftain, who scored his first graded stakes win in the Mile last year and is trained by Morey’s father, Bill Morey Jr.

Bold Chieftain was second in a May 13 sprint comeback, chasing Goggles McCoy. He has had two works since, an easy 50.40 half-mile drill on March 27 and a 1:01.80 five-furlong drill Sunday.

Awesome Gem, making his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Marathon last Nov. 5, ran third on Saturday. The race served as a perfect prep for him, too, according to trainer Craig Dollase, although he won’t be running in the San Francisco Mile.

“He came back good, and we’re happy with the race,” Dollase said from Southern California. “It wasn’t too taxing on him, and he was the only one who rallied in the race. Now it’s on to West Virginia for him.”

Awesome Gem is scheduled to run in the $1 million Grade 3 Charles Town Classic at 1 1/8 miles on April 16. He was second in last year’s race.

Stakes winner drops in for $16,000 tag

Moudez, who won last summer’s Joseph Grace in his first start in more than three years, is slated to run Friday in a $16,000 claimer for trainer Steve Miyadi.

The 7-year-old Moudez followed his Grace victory with a sixth in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile and was second after leading much of the way in a turf allowance race here. He has run twice in claiming races at Santa Anita this year.

Friday’s one-mile turf race is deeper and more competitive than most races run for the $16,000 tag.

Tight race for leading trainer

Jerry Hollendorfer and Steve Sherman have a two-man race going in the trainer standings with Hollendorfer holding a 48-45 lead. Hollendorfer has saddled 200 runners and Sherman, who is winning at a 30 percent clip, 151.

Although he has saddled only 36 runners, Jedd Josephson is hitting the board at a .750 clip with 8 winners, 11 seconds, and 8 thirds.

There is a hot jockey race – for second.

Russell Baze is well in front with 91 victories, but Francisco Duran leads Julien Couton for second by only one victory, 44-43. Alvarado is fourth with 36. Leslie Mawing and Juan Hernandez are tied for fifth with 35.

◗ Saturday’s first post has been moved up to 12:15 p.m. because of Santa Anita’s earlier starting time on Santa Anita Derby Day. Golden Gate Fields will host its annual Wiener Nationals with 30-yard races for dachshunds taking place between races. Winners of preliminary heats win $30, with $300, $200, and $100 given to the top three finishers in the championship heat.

DRF MORNING LINE: Get out of the gate fast every day - sign up for DRF's free newsletter