05/04/2009 12:00AM

Leading trainer at Turf Paradise ready for action


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Keith Bennett said he will be bringing a stable to Golden Gate Fields and the summer fairs this year, and that's good news for the racing office and bettors.

Bennett is the kind of trainer who likes to run. He tied with Mike Chambers for the training lead at the just-concluded Turf Paradise race meeting with 72 victories, and has won with 51 of his 117 starters this year for an extraordinary 44 percent win rate.

Bennett ran horses in Northern California in 2007, but did not bring horses here last summer, instead going to Canterbury Park in Minnesota. He said he has 20 to 25 horses geared to run in Northern California this summer.

The reason Bennett is back is simple and explains why he opted not to come last year.

"We finally have a few that might compete successfully there," he said. "I think they'll do all right."

He said his horses are here "mostly for the fairs, but the ones I think can compete will run at Golden Gate Fields."

Bennett's biggest concern coming here, he said, is how his horses will adjust from the dirt track at Turf Paradise to the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields.

On Wednesday, the Bennett-trained Shesourkindagal returns to the track where she began her career. She ran well at Turf Paradise over the winter, with a win and a second at the $12,500 claiming level.

On Thursday, Good Times Tweenus, a 5 1/2-length winner in her debut on April 7 at Turf Paradise, runs in a $40,000 starter allowance race.

Three definite for Raise Your Skirts

Eleven fillies and mares have been nominated to Saturday's $75,000 Raise Your Skirts Stakes at six furlongs.

Confirmed to start are Irish-bred Elletelle, a stakes winner who making her second U.S. start; the multiple stakes winner High Resolve; and the improving Judy Patootie, who has won her last two starts. Five of the nominees - Ashley's Kitty, Coco Belle, Foxy Danseur, Golden Doc A, and She's Cheeky - were also entered in a Thursday allowance race at Hollywood Park.

Longtime Specht client dies

Trainer Steve Specht reports that his longtime friend and owner Bob Cox died Friday at age 82 in Missouri. The stakes winner Our Mango was Cox's best horse.

"He's the guy who was the key to me being where I am today," said Specht, a perennial top 10 trainer at Golden Gate.

Cox raced under the name of Para Dice Acres, an appropriate name, said Specht.

"He liked three things: selling cars, horse racing, and shooting craps," Specht said. "In fact, a couple weeks before he died he went to one of the riverboats in St. Louis and took them for about $2,500."

* Jockey Roberto Gonzalez, who broke the C2 vertebrae in his neck and his left ankle in a spill last Wednesday, has been transferred to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley after originally being taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland.

* Jockey Leslie Mawing, who sustained a compound fracture of his left tibia and fibula on April 1, has returned to Idaho for the recovery process.

* For the second time in three weeks, Russell Baze rode four winners on Sunday. Over the past four Sundays, Baze has ridden 13 winners.

* Golden Gate begins its spring concert series on Sunday with Pride & Joy. Other concerts, all scheduled for a Sunday, are Tainted Love (May 17), California Cowboys (May 24), Journey Unauthorized (May 31), Tito Garcia y Su Orquestra International (June 7), and The Cheeseballs (June 14).

* A few tables are still available for Sunday's Mother's Day brunch. Call (510) 559-7390 for reservations.