04/12/2011 1:22PM

Golden Gate trainers represent with graded stakes wins

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Lilacs and Lace joined 2000 winner Rings a Chime as Northern California fillies who won the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland.

Saturday was a pretty satisfying day for trainer Duane Offield when Lilacs and Lace scored a $99.40 upset in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.

She was the second filly with Northern California roots to win the race. Rings a Chime won the race in 2000 before running second in the Kentucky Oaks.

Just as Rings a Chime was sold before venturing east – she was originally trained by Lloyd Mason, then by another Northern California-based trainer, Lonnie Arterburn – Lilacs and Lace was sold after her victory at Golden Gate Fields in the California Oaks. James Covello purchased controlling interest in Lilacs and Lace from breeders Judy Hicks and Kathryn Nikkel, who retained a part ownership.

“We started her out, and I’m happy she went on and did something,” said Offield, who said he did not bet on her in the Ashland.

Hicks and Nikkel called Offield after the victory.

“They were really happy,” Offield said. “They were on cloud nine. I thought it was great. I’m happy for them.”

Offield wasn’t the only local trainer celebrating a graded stakes victory on Saturday.

Jeff Bonde saddled Cambina, who unleashed a strong closing kick to win the Grade 2 Providencia on the turf at Santa Anita. The Hawk Wing filly was the 11-10 favorite in the race.

Bonde has been on a roll, and he hopes it continues this week when he has three runners entered in stakes at Oaklawn.

His crack sprinter Smiling Tiger runs in Thursday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Count Fleet at six furlongs. Smiling Tiger, who won the Grade 1 Bing Crosby and the Ancient Title before finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last year, won the Grade 2 San Carlos at Santa Anita in his last start on Feb. 19.

On Friday, Bonde sends out Road Ready in the $75,000 Bachelor at six furlongs. Road Ready won his debut in the Lost in the Fog Stakes at Golden Gate Fields last June.

On Saturday, Sway Away, who won his racing debut at Bonde’s hometown track in Pleasanton last summer, will run in the $1 million Arkansas Derby. With a strong effort he could join stablemate Twice the Appeal at next month’s Kentucky Derby.

Twice the Appeal had an easy work for Bonde on Sunday and will likely head back to Churchill Downs next week.

Golden Poppy comes up strong

Stakes racing returns to Golden Gate Fields on Saturday when 3-year-old fillies compete in the $75,000 Golden Poppy at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Jerry Hollendorfer will send out a pair of multiple stakes winners, Alec’s Moon, who won the Portland Meadows Oaks and then the Portland Meadows Derby against males, and Cathy’s Crunches, who won the Golden Gate Debutante, Golden Nugget against males and Corte Madera before running second to Lilacs and Lace in the California Oaks.

Justenufappeal, runner-up in the Debutante and third in the Santa Paula at Santa Anita in her last start, and Our Curious Kitten, making her stakes debut, were also expected to enter the race, which was to be drawn Wednesday.

Cathy’s Crunches is the only one of the four with turf experience, with a second-place finish in the China Doll at Santa Anita in her last start.

◗ Thursday marks the first 2-year-old race of the season when five fillies and three colts run two furlongs in the third race. The field includes Soft and Trickey, who is the first runner by her sire Trickey Trevor to come to the races.