05/22/2012 11:56AM

Golden Gate: Uh Oh Bango gets top weight for Berkeley

Email

After assessing the 18 horses nominated for Monday’s $100,000 Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields, the track’s racing secretary, David Jerkens, assigned defending champion Uh Oh Bango the high weight of 122 pounds, two more than Awesome Gem and Kettle Corn.

“He’s won on our track, and he’s been going in good form,” said Jerkens, explaining the 122-pound assignment.

Uh Oh Bango won the Grade 2 San Pasqual, ran second in the Grade 2 San Antonio and third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap at Santa Anita this year. He was fifth in the million-dollar Grade 2 Charles Town Classic in his last start.

Trainer Kory Owens had yet to announce a decision for Uh Oh Bango early this week.

Among the likely runners is multi-millionaire Awesome Gem (120 pounds), who won his 2012 debut here off a six-month layoff and then disappointed as the favorite in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park when he was moved up from eighth to seventh because of a disqualification.

Also expected to run are Hudson Landing (119), who won two straight on the main track as well as the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on the turf after being claimed here on Feb. 25, and Dynamic Host (118), winner of the 1 1/2-mile Grade 3 Tokyo City at Santa Anita after being claimed last summer at Del Mar.

Others listed as likely by the racing office are Acaffella and Bonfire Knight, both at 112.

Kettle Corn (120), Balladry (117), and Anthony’s Cross (115) are listed as possible.

Dynamic Host ran in the Round Table at Hollywood Park on May 13.

“It’s coming back a little quick for this horse,” said trainer Art Sherman, while hinting strongly he planned to come to his old Northern California stomping grounds. “He likes the track, and he’s run well there.”

Sherman also said that there wasn’t much available for Dynamic Host at Hollywood Park until the end of that meeting in July, so he could get plenty of time to freshen him after coming back in two weeks.

The El Camino Real Derby and San Francisco Mile, the track’s two signature events, were exciting races with big fields, and Jerkens said he hoped the Berkeley could match those two. The Berkeley is the first handicap at Golden Gate in five years, he said.

Twilight racing starts

Golden Gate Fields will offer twilight racing with first post at 3:15 p.m. for the final four Fridays of the meeting beginning this Friday. There will be half-price admission, parking, well drinks, and draft beer. The Clubhouse gate will open at 10 a.m. for simulcast wagering. Grandstand gates open at 1 p.m. and the Turf Club at 2 p.m.

Holiday weekend festivities

Monday’s Memorial Day holiday card highlights a busy weekend. Post time is the normal 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

On Saturday, the popular “Weiner Nationals” dog races will be held between the scheduled horse races.

Sunday is the usual Dollar Day and will feature the band Mustache Harbor.

Fans coming out on Memorial Day will receive free Golden Gates sports bags. Tom Quigley of Horseplayer Magazine and track announcer Michael Wrona will go over the day’s card at a free handicapping seminar at 11 a.m. at the Paddock Pub. Monday is also a Family Day with children’s activities, including pony rides, bounce houses, and face painting, available from noon to 4 p.m.