04/12/2010 11:00PM

Last stakes dance for a division


Three-year-old fillies grab the spotlight Saturday in the $60,000 Golden Poppy at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. It is the final stakes race for 3-year-old fillies on Golden Gate Fields's reduced stakes calendar.

Included among the nominees are the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained City to City, who won the Grade 2 Providencia on the turf at Santa Anita on April 3, and Antares World, eighth in the Providencia in her turf debut and winner of the California Oaks earlier in the year. City to City's status for the race is uncertain, and trainer Steve Specht said he is leaning to running Antares World, who had a difficult trip in the Providencia.

"I'm leaning to run here, because that last race didn't take anything out of her," said Specht. "I have two options, run this weekend or the following weekend at Hollywood Park, but that would mean shipping down and back two times in three weeks, and that takes a lot out of a horse."

City to City, who won the China Doll Stakes on the turf in her start before the Providencia, has won 3 of 4 starts this year since switching to turf, beginning with a nose victory over Jules J in a 1 1/16-mile allowance win at Golden Gate on Jan. 7.

Five fillies were listed as definite for the Golden Poppy early in the week: Bleach Blonde, Brought to Justice, Dark Delores, Jules J, and Kaloula. Saturday's race would be the turf debuts for Brought to Justice and Kaloula.

Bleach Blonde won a maiden claiming race and a starter allowance at Golden Gate last fall in her first two starts on the turf. She was favored in the Scottsdale on the grass at Turf Paradise March 13, finishing fifth. Trainer Lloyd Mason said Bleach Blonde bled in the Scottsdale and in her third-place finish in a Golden Gate allowance in February, but he hopes he has the problem under control for the Golden Poppy.

Trainer Andy Mathis could have the X factor in the race in Kaloula, who ran eighth in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf last fall. A Peace Rules filly, Kaloula then finished fourth in a Santa Anita allowance and ran fifth here in a comeback sprint March 20 after nearly five months on the sidelines. The Golden Poppy will be her first race on turf.

"We've had this race in mind for a while," Mathis said. "It's perfect timing. We got a sprint and now we'll stretch her out. If she takes to the grass, she'll be tough."

The surface won't be the only new thing in the race for Kaloula, who will also don blinkers for the first time. Mathis hopes they "put more energy" into Kaloula.

"Each race, it seems she's showing a little less speed," he said. "She's not having the same interest in racing as when she was closer up. Since we put the blinkers on, she's a lot more willing in the morning and has worked really, really well."

Rematched foursome vs. comebacker

The top four finishers in a Golden Gate allowance race on March 24 plus Southern California comebacker Sixcess will meet in a six-furlong allowance on Friday.

Live Sundays stalked the pace in that allowance and held on by a nose over Paul's Hope. Tribesman set the pace and finished third, beaten three-quarters of a length in his first start of the year. Jiggly fell a nose short of Tribesman in fourth. Sixcess has hit the board in 16 of 17 starts, but has not run since Jan. 17, 2009.

Martinez serving bans

Michael Martinez, second in the jockey standings behind Russell Baze, began serving the first of consecutive five-day riding suspensions last Friday.

Martinez has 69 victories going into Thursday's card, two in front of Frank Alvarado's 67. Baze has virtually clinched yet another riding title with 108 wins.

* Early nominees for the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile on the turf April 24 include Bold Chieftain and Monterey Jazz, who ran one-two in an April 2 prep race, and Gallant Son.