Updated on 09/16/2011 8:54AM

Locals try big boys in south


ALBANY, Calif. - Thursday's opening day at Santa Anita will get plenty of attention, and it figures to be a big day for Golden Gate Fields, also.

Three local horses could play prominent roles in the three stakes races at Santa Anita - D's Bertrando in the California Champion Stakes, Aly Bubba in the Sir Beaufort Stakes, and U S S Tinosa in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes.

D's Bertrando figures the strongest of the three.

D's Bertrando won his second start by 13 lengths, earning a 105 Beyer Speed Figure, which was the highest in the nation at that time by a 2-year-old. He has scratched twice since his maiden victory, including from the Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 14 when owner Dennis Narlinger ordered him scratched because of rainy weather and a sloppy track.

According to trainer Jeff Bonde, D's Bertrando left the next day for Santa Anita. He worked six furlongs in 1:13 on a good track there on Dec. 18, just before the rain hit. Bonde caught him in 1:12.80 and had him going the first quarter in 25 seconds and the last quarter in 24.

"We've been schooling him from the gate and in the paddock since," Bonde said.

Bonde said he believes it is important for horses to work over the Santa Anita surface.

"They have a different surface than the northern tracks," Bonde said.

The longer work helped D's Bertrando get better acquainted with the track, but it served other purposes, also.

"We didn't run him [in the Gold Rush], and I wanted to get a long work into him because of the level of competition and different surface," Bonde said.

The California Champion Stakes is a seven-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

Aly Bubba will be a much longer price in the Sir Beaufort at one mile on the turf. In his last two starts he finished second by a neck to Royal Gem in the Bay Meadows Derby and beat Sir Beaufort rival Dream Machine by a neck in a Nov. 20 allowance race at Golden Gate Fields.

U S S Tinosa, a stakes winner at Santa Anita while on the Triple Crown trail last spring, will make his first start since a third-place finish in the Preakness.

"He's ready," trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. "We thought it was a good spot, but I think it's a good spot for a lot of others who are in a similar situation as he is."

At Golden Gate Fields, six older runners will compete in the day's feature race, a $50,000 optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles.