10/25/2010 11:31AM

Our Minesweeper exceeds Lenzini's expectation in Oakland

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Our Minesweeper, ridden by Inoel Beato, wins the Oakland while making his first start since May 15.

Perhaps trainer Michael Lenzini shouldn’t have been so surprised by Our Minesweeper’s $40.20 upset in Saturday’s Oakland Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

By Lenzini’s own admission, Our Minesweeper had done a lot of growing up since his last start, when he bolted on the first turn of the Alcatraz on May 15.

“I thought maybe he’d run third or fourth and get something out of it,” said Lenzini of the Oakland.

Our Minesweeper did better than that, scoring by one length over Restless Youth while covering six furlongs in 1:08.84.

“I was totally amazed,” Lenzini said.

A 3-year-old gelding, Our Minesweeper had won two stakes as a 2-year-old last year, but had not scored since taking the Bart Heller in September 2009. Before going to the sidelines in the spring, Our Minesweeper was a bit headstrong, and he wouldn’t run near the rail inside horses, Lenzini said.

Lenzini thought Our Minesweeper might be a work short going into the Oakland, despite three bullet works among his seven going into the race, including a best-of-72 45.80-second half-mile on Oct. 16.

But the times didn’t please Lenzini as much as the way Our Minesweeper accomplished the works. Every time Our Minesweeper worked or galloped, Lenzini had another runner going with him, sitting outside him, forcing him to run on the rail. He would even ask the other exercise riders to bump Our Minesweeper on occasion.

Lenzini was also looking for a rider who would take a long hold on Our Minesweeper and let him settle on his own rather than choke him down. Inoel Beato, who rode the stakes winner Sourdough Sam last year, was given the opportunity after spending the summer at Emerald Downs.

“He did a fantastic job,” said Lenzini.

Beato got Our Minesweeper to relax in the Oakland. They stayed on the rail and rallied outside Restless Youth in the lane.

“The time off really matured him,” Lenzini said of Our Minesweeper, the first winning son of the unraced Giant’s Causeway stallion Cause Ur Mine. “He stood in the paddock perfect, and I was happy to see him not panic.”

Our Minesweeper came out of the race well, and Lenzini said he hasn’t really looked for another spot.

Trainer Roger Hansen said he thought Restless Youth would likely finish second in the Oakland, but behind Silver Stetson Man or Jeranimo, who both came from Southern California. Neither of the shippers was a factor in the race, although they were favored over their Northern California rivals.

“I was saying going in I’d be happy to be second, and I guess I am, even though a longshot beat me,” he said. “He came back fine. I think he was more tired after his last work.”

Hansen said he hoped to find an allowance race at Golden Gate for Restless Youth, but also would consider a race at Hollywood Park.

“I don’t want to run him more than a mile,” Hansen said. “He’s easy to train, so we can get him ready either to sprint or run a mile with the same type of works.”

Summer Excess had a four-race win streak stopped in the Oakland, his stakes debut. He dueled on the lead with Restless Youth to the quarter pole before tiring and wound up last.

“I knew it was a tough spot, but he didn’t run his race,” said trainer Bud Klokstad.

Klokstad had Summer Excess scoped after the race but found no signs of bleeding. He thought Summer Excess might have had a breathing problem caused by an entrapped epiglottis, and said he would be keeping an eye on him.

Klokstad said the victory by Our Minesweeper surprised him.

“The one horse I thought he could beat was the one that won the race,” he said. “That’s why they run races.”

◗ Our Minesweeper wasn’t only comebacker winning over the weekend. Trainer Lloyd Mason saddled the 3-year-old filly Kaili for her second start Sunday. She won her debut on Aug. 15, 2009, and made it 2 for 2 with a 1 1/4-length allowance victory, under Kayla Stra, by defeating Pearloftheorient.

◗ Trainer Steve Specht will have two runners in Sunday’s Cal Cup at Hollywood Park. Lady Railrider will be bidding for a repeat in the 1 1/16-mile Matron. Dream of Summer is the only repeat winner of that race. Specht will also send out Luckarack in the Juvenile, and Steve Miyadi will run Bluegrass Reward in the same race. Steve Sherman will run Goggles McCoy in the Sprint.

◗ Sourdough Sam, who was nominated to three races, is on the sidelines after sustaining a splint injury while running at Fairplex last month.