08/18/2007 11:00PM

Greg's Gold takes Pat O'Brien


DEL MAR, Calif. -- Polytrack may be a bugaboo for a horse like Bordonaro, but for Greg’s Gold, it is manna from heaven.

Greg’s Gold was off the track with a tendon injury to his right front leg from July 2005 until February, but he has been able to race six times so far this year, twice this summer at Del Mar, and on Sunday he scored his most important win since his comeback with a 1 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2, $300,000 Pat O’Brien Handicap.

Greg’s Gold ($6), under Victor Espinoza, stalked the soft pace set by Bordonaro, took over emphatically heading into the stretch, then safely held off favored Surf Cat while completing seven furlongs in 1:23.95. It was another 5 1/2 lengths back to third-place finisher Soul City Slew. Bordonaro, who never appeared comfortable on the surface, faded to finish last in the field of six.

“He loves this track. He just glides over this track,” said David Hofmans, who trains Greg’s Gold for Bill Boswell, who bred and owns Greg’s Gold. “From the moment he got here he loved it. He likes Hollywood Park, and this track, too. He floats over it.”

With the win, Greg’s Gold earned an automatic berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park through the Breeders’ Cup’s “Win and You’re In” program. Greg’s Gold, 6, is a gelding by Lake George. He has now won seven times in 19 starts. His biggest win before going to the sidelines was the 2005 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar.

Greg’s Gold almost won this year’s Bing Crosby, but fell a nose short against In Summation. That race set him up well for the Pat O’Brien, Hofmans said. “For a peak performance you need to have a race over this track,” he said.