03/15/2009 11:00PM

Lady Railrider headed for a Gold Rush event


ALBANY, Calif. - Lady Railrider's victory in Saturday's Work the Crowd Stakes only served to reaffirm that she is arguably the best older female California-bred running on the main track.

She was second to Florida-bred Leah's Secret in the Sunshine Millions Distaff and has won two straight Cal-bred stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Trainer Steve Specht will point her to either the seven-furlong B. Thoughtful Stakes or the 1 1/16-mile Fran's Valentine during Hollywood Park's Gold Rush Day on April 25.

"She can do either one," said Specht. "She can go seven-eighths or a mile and a sixteenth."

Specht said he will make his decision based on field size and who is entered in each of the $150,000 races.

He also said he wouldn't look beyond the next race. Timing-wise, Hollywood Park's Grade 2 Milady at 1 1/16 miles on May 23 would seem a logical spot, and either of the Cal-bred races on April 25 could serve as a good prep.

Lady Railrider didn't necessarily do anything different in winning the Work the Crowd, although her jockey, Frank Alvarado, said they deliberately sat fairly close to pacesetting You Lift Me Up to prevent her from stealing the race.

"She's very versatile," Specht said. "Pace should never be a factor with her. She can back off the pace, and if you need her close to the pace, she can do that. She's not like a closer that you have to force to sit close to the pace."

Specht said a quarter crack that sidelined Lady Railrider, a homebred raced by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams, from February to October last year was the only problem the 4-year-old filly has had and that he keeps a close eye on that foot.

Siren Lure near the million mark

Two runners carrying two-race win streaks here are slated to run in Saturday's $75,000 Golden Gate Fields Sprint.

Siren Lure, who has a bankroll of $937,244, and Mutak Gold are the first two confirmed runners in the six-furlong race for older runners.

Mutak Gold, claimed for $40,000 by Jerry Hollendorfer and George Todaro, has won two allowance races since the Dec. 21 claim.

He has recency on the 8-year-old Siren Lure, who snapped a 12-race losing streak when he won the Sausalito here on Nov. 22 and followed up with a Dec. 21 allowance victory.

Other nominees are A Cat Named Snipe, third in the Sausalito; Big Bad Leroybrown; Dodgen Bullets; Its In God's Hands; Mi Rey; the Australian-bred Red Arrow, coming off two straight wins at Santa Anita; and Scottish Diamond.

The Sausalito was Siren Lure's first victory since the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Stakes on Aug. 20, 2006. Before that he won the Grade 1 Triple Bend and Grade 3 Los Angeles. Not bad for a $50,000 claim at Bay Meadows an May 2005. He won his next start in a $50,000 optional claimer at Golden Gate Fields, then headed south, where he won the Robert Kerlan at Hollywood Park.

He changed the life of trainer Art Sherman, who set up residence in Southern California because there were no real spots to run Siren Lure in the north. The horse was sent back here last fall to Sherman's son, Steve.

Siren Lure has earned $836,809 for Stuart Kesselman and Tony and Marilyn Melkonian since the claim. A victory Saturday would probably have him one win shy of earning $1 million.

He would be the first millionaire for Art Sherman, who guided Lykatill Hil to $893,270 in earnings in the 1990s.

"I'll be so thrilled if he becomes a millionaire this year," said Sherman, who will be at Golden Gate on Saturday to watch the 8-year-old run.

"He might have lost a stride or two to compete with the best down south. On the whole, the type he was running with is not around anymore. I think it's easier to keep an 8-year-old going if he's not running against the nuts any more."

Sherman is "really fond" of Siren Lure. "Everything he does is with so much class. He's one that dropped through the cracks, and we were lucky enough to get him."

Art Sherman leaves the training of Siren Lure to his son - although they talk every day, and Siren Lure is frequently mentioned.

"He's there with him every day, and the horse is training well with him, but I always ask about him because he's one of my favorite horses," Art Sherman said.

If Siren Lure does win, he'll probably try to become a millionaire in the Sam Whiting at Pleasanton.

Baze's triples add up

Since returning from a one-day sabbatical at Santa Anita on March 7, leading jockey Russell Baze has been on a tear, recording triples on five of the six racing days since to lift his 2009 total to 91 and put him on pace for another 400-win season.

The only day Baze did not record a triple was Saturday, when he had only one winner, but he also had three seconds and three thirds.

* A Mass is to be held Thursday for Bob McGrath, the former trainer and track official who died March 8. The Mass will be at 6 p.m. at St. Leander Church, 550 W. Estudillo Ave., in San Leandro.