05/21/2013 1:04PM

Golden Gate: Sherman enjoys pair of satisfying wins


Trainer Steve Sherman had a pair of winners last week – one with a former claimer and the other with a current claimer.

Justalittleloopy, who has five victories and has hit the board in all 10 career starts, scored a nice win in a $62,500 optional claimer on Friday, while Elizabeth A scored her third straight win and fifth in her past six starts on Saturday.
Justalittleloopy began her career in a bottom-level $8,000 maiden claimer.

“She’s definitely an overachiever,” said Sherman. “She tries her butt off every single time.”

Justalittleloopy was the 3-2 favorite when she graduated by 12 lengths in her debut last Aug. 12. Owner-breeder Jay Manoogian had planned to come to Golden Gate Fields and wanted to see the filly run. The $8,000 claimer was the only maiden race offered that day.

Manoogian told Sherman, “Put her in.” Sherman did, and then Manoogian ended up not being able to come up for the race.

Though Justalittleloopy wound up the favorite, Sherman didn’t think she’d be taken. Her works were decent but not necessarily eye-popping. Even Sherman admits: “She’s not the prettiest thing. She’s always the smallest one saddling in the paddock, and she has a little sway back.”

Sherman was glad she wasn’t claimed, but said, “I didn’t think she’d become what she is.”

Although races “take a little more out of her” because of her size and the fact she tries so hard, Sherman says, “they’ve gotta run to beat her.”

Sherman said Justalittleloopy’s 1 3/4-length victory last Friday over Prima Gianna might have been the best race of her career because of the competition.

He said the same about Elizabeth A’s victory, which came in a $5,000 claiming race for fillies and mares.

Elizabeth A was one of three runners in the field coming off two straight wins. Runner-up Xcuse Me Monto and Follow the Crowd, who finished fourth, were also gunning for hat tricks in the race.

“The races before this one were pretty bad fields,” Sherman said. “But the wins might have gotten her heart built up again.”

Elizabeth A was headed in the lane by Xcuse Me Monto but rallied to edge away from her rival.

Sherman claimed Elizabeth A for $4,000 for Dan Prince on the day she started her current streak of successes on Jan. 5.

“It wasn’t me,” Sherman said of the claim. “I did not want to drop on her. I heard she had a significant number of old injuries. Dan gets all the credit.”

Elizabeth A has four wins and a second, all at the $5,000 level, and has earned $24,000 for Prince. Lifetime, she has a record of 11 wins, 5 seconds and 9 thirds in 31 starts, with earnings of $156,688.

“Let’s be honest. We were not expecting a lot,” said Sherman. “He liked her because of her consistency. We thought she could grind out some money.”

Sherman says he hasn’t done anything special. He says that perhaps some of the old injuries have healed but adds groom Faustino Mercado spends a lot of time with her, exercise rider Jesus Arriaga has done a good job with her, and that jockey Frank Alvarado knows her well and has confidence in her.

◗ With the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, Golden Gate Fields is running for five days this week. In addition to seeing the Grade 3 All American on Monday, fans will receive a free lawn chair.