12/06/2011 1:57PM

Golden Gate: Stakes abound for 3-year-olds

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Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Silver Medallion, with Russell Baze riding, wins the 2011 El Camino Real Derby.

It will be good to be a 3-year-old at Golden Gate Fields this winter and spring.

Seven of the 10 stakes offered at the winter-spring meet will be for 3-year-olds, including a pair of new $100,000 turf stakes, the Campanile for fillies on June 2 and the open Silky Sullivan on June 9. Both races are scheduled for one mile on the turf.

The $100,000 California Derby will be run on Jan. 14, with the meeting’s signature race, the Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby. on Feb. 18. The $100,000 California Oaks for 3-year-old fillies will be Jan. 21.

Both stakes for older horses are Grade 3 events, the April 28 $150,000 San Francisco Mile on the turf and the $100,000 Berkeley at 1 1/16 miles on the main track May 28.

Two-year-olds will be highlighted on the closing weekend June 16 with the $50,000-added Lost in the Fog.

The April 7 Golden Poppy and May 12 Alcatraz are 1 1/16-mile turf races worth $75,000 for 3-year-old fillies and 3-year-olds, respectively.

The El Camino Real Derby was originally scheduled for Feb. 11, but was pushed back a week in part because the track did not want its biggest event to be overshadowed by the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Northern California’s most popular golf tournament.

The decision ties in with the philosophy of the track’s general manager, Joe Morris, who said that Golden Gate Fields needed to be aware of the placement of it stakes in relation to other sporting events and similar stakes being offered in Southern California.

Golden Gate’s racing secretary, David Jerkens, said of the El Camino Real, “We hope this will be attractive to Southern California horsemen because it’s placed in the middle of the Robert Lewis [Feb. 4] and San Felipe [March 10],” two prominent races at Santa Anita.

There is one more stakes during the 2011-12 meeting than during the 2010-11 meet. The Campanile replaces the Work the Crowd, a California-bred race for fillies and mares, while the Silky Sullivan replaces the Silveyville, which was also for older runners but was canceled because of a lack of entrants.

For the second straight year, there are no open stakes for fillies and mares and no sprints for 3-year-olds or older during the meet.

“Hopefully, provided the handle is decent, we can add an overnight stakes or two for this meet,” Jerkens said. “We like stakes and would like to return races such as the Golden Gate Handicap. We also hope to offer stakes at our summer meet, which we didn’t last year.”

Five set for Gold Rush

Five runners were listed as definite for Saturday’s one-mile Gold Rush Stakes: Cahill Chrome, who will be seeking his fourth straight victory; Marino Marini, who has placed in three stakes; Lucky Culprit, a recent maiden winner; and Russian Greek and Squid, who both are trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. Hollendorfer ran one-two-three in last Saturday’s Corte Madera with Lady of Fifty, Sweet Nothings, and Hennessy Road.

First-time claimer

Multiple stakes winners Goggles McCoy and Restless Youth as well as the graded-stakes-placed Western Mood are signed up for a $25,000 claimer Friday. The three have combined earnings of nearly $700,000.

Trainer Steve Sherman has entered Goggles McCoy in a claimer for the first time.

“There are not a lot of opportunities for him to run here,” said trainer. “I don’t think he’s a stakes horse any more. He’s peaked, and he’s older now.”

Toy drive

Racing fans at Golden Gate Fields can donate unwrapped children’s gifts in bins around the track for the track’s annual party for grooms and their families on Dec. 15.

The event is sponsored by the Race Track Chaplaincy and California Thoroughbred Trainers.