04/04/2008 11:00PM

Greg's Gold evens the score


ARCADIA, Calif. - Greg's Gold looked his best for Saturday's $200,000 Potrero Grande Handicap at Santa Anita, before the race and during the running of the Grade 2 sprint.

Sporting a leaner look deemed necessary by trainer David Hofmans, Greg's Gold ($8) outfinished arch-rival Surf Cat to win the Potrero Grande by 1 3/4 lengths, finishing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.62.

"I stripped a little weight off him," Hofmans said.

Surf Cat, the 6-5 favorite, finished a length in front of third-place El Roblar in the field of six.

Greg's Gold, ridden by Victor Espinoza, benefited from a quick pace of 21.37 and 43.56 seconds set by Johnny Eves and Sailors Sunset. Fifth on the backstretch, Greg's Gold rallied widest on the turn, with Surf Cat to his inside. Greg's Gold led by a head with a furlong remaining, and slowly pulled clear.

"They were really running fast," Hofmans said of the early pace.

Owned by breeder Bill Boswell, Greg's Gold won his fifth stakes in the Potrero Grande. A 7-year-old gelding by Lake George, Greg's Gold has won 9 of 25 starts and $1,067,923.

The Potrero Grande was the fourth meeting between Surf Cat and Greg's Gold, a series that is even with two wins each. In each race, they have finished first and second. Surf Cat won an allowance race at Hollywood Park in May 2005, Greg's Gold won the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Handicap last summer at Del Mar, and Surf Cat won the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap here in February.

"He and Surf Cat like beating each other," Hofmans said.

Arcadia Cap: Daytona right at home

Daytona returned to firm turf and a course he adores for Saturday's $150,000 Arcadia Handicap. Those factors contributed to the gelding's fifth stakes win in the last seven months.

Ridden by Alex Solis, Daytona set an honest pace of 22.78 and 46.30 seconds, and was fully extended through the final furlong to hold off Hyperbaric. Daytona ($3.80) ran a mile on turf in 1:33.13. He led by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining and won by a neck.

Golden Balls, making his first start since June, finished third in the field of six. Storm Military, who would have been a top contender, was scratched.

Daytona was making his first start since finishing third in the Mervin Muniz Jr. Handicap at Fair Grounds on a yielding turf course last month. He had won four consecutive stakes before that, including the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last November.

Trained by Dan Hendricks, Daytona, a 4-year-old gelding by Indian Ridge, has won 7 of 14 starts and $781,390. He won the Oak Tree Derby and San Gabriel Handicap on this course last fall and winter.

Hendricks said earlier in the week that he would like to run Daytona in the major one-mile stakes this year, with an eye on the Breeders' Cup Mile here in October.

Missit wins U.S. debut

Missit, group stakes-placed in England last year, won her U.S. debut in Saturday's $150,000 Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita, but had to fight through the final furlong to prevail.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Missit ($7.60) wore down Sweeter Still to win the Grade 2 race for 3-year-old fillies by a nose. Miss it ran a mile on turf in 1:34.91.

Bel Air Sizzle finished third in the field of nine.

Missit, the 5-2 favorite, was third for the first seven furlongs, stalking early pacesetter Briecat. She rallied wide through the stretch to catch Sweeter Still, who took the lead turning for home.

Owned by Three Chimneys Racing, Missit has been based in California with trainer Ben Cecil since December. An Irish-bred by Orpen, Missit has won 2 of 6 starts and $148,925. She was second in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket, England, last October.