Updated on 09/15/2011 2:37PM

Hail, hail the gang's all here


ALBANY, Calif. - Bill Patterson, trainer Chuck Jenda's assistant, likes to joke that Sea to See, Hoovergetthekeys, and Sir Alfred get together for lunch every week.

They know each other well enough. When they meet in Sunday's feature at Golden Gate Fields, it will be the fifth time all three have run in the same race.

Their previous meeting was in the Nov. 4 Bay Meadows Derby when Sir Alfred ran second, Sea to See third, and Hoovergetthekeys sixth.

Before that, Hoovergetthekeys won an $80,000 optional claimer at Bay Meadows on Sept. 10 with Sea to See second and Sir Alfred third. Sir Alfred won the Ascot Handicap at Bay Meadows on June 10 with Hoovergetthekeys second and Sea to See third. They also met in the La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 11 with Sea to See fourth, Sir Alfred fifth, and Hoovergetthekeys seventh.

"You have three northern California horses and three outfits who prefer to stay in northern California," Patterson said, explaining why the three have met so often.

"It's wonderful," said Bill Delia, the trainer of Sea to See, of the rivalry. "It's kind of exciting. They're nice horses, all pretty evenly matched. Whoever gets the right trip gets the money."

Sea to See may be best on the turf, but as Delia said, "He's a hard horse to handle in races. The horse is his own worst enemy."

Hoovergetthekeys won both the Golden Gate and El Camino Real derbies earlier this year but has been troubled all year by a quarter crack.

Sir Alfred is consistent. "Basically, he's kind of just a steady horse," Patterson said. "He puts himself in position, and he's game."

The trio has six rivals in the 1 1/16-mile allowance race on the turf.

Also entered in the race are Takin It Deep, winner of this year's California Derby run April 14 at Bay Meadows, and Sirpa, who was third in that race.

Kat Dancer, Poker Brad, Silent Regent and Friendly Nation round out the field.

Brian Koriner will not be saddling Hoovergetthekeys for the race, as he was suspended indefinitely by Golden Gate stewards Thursday and had his case referred to the California Horse Racing Board. The referral stems from charges Koriner faced in November dealing with violation of four CHRB rules on medication.

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