09/14/2009 11:00PM

Our Minesweeper follows the plan


Trainer Michael Lenzini didn't get too excited during the running of the Bart Heller Stakes at Saturday Golden Gates Fields. Why should he? He'd run the race in his mind dozens of times, and the actual running was no different than the scenarios he had imagined.

The Lenzini-trained Our Minesweeper stalked odds-on favorite Court Mischief before edging away to win the one-mile Tapeta stakes for 2-year-olds by three-quarters of a length in 1:38.51. The pair ran one-two all the way.

It was undefeated Our Minesweeper's third straight victory and second stakes win after capturing the six-furlong Cavonnier at Santa Rosa. Not bad for an Idaho-bred son of Cause Ur Mine, who stands for $750 in Idaho. The horse he beat, Court Mischief, is a son of Empire Maker, who stands for 100 times the stud fee of Cause Ur Mine.

Our Minesweeper won his first two starts in wire-to-wire style. He was eager to go early under jockey William Antongeorgi III on Saturday, but he relaxed nicely once he turned onto the backstretch, which encouraged Lenzini.

"We're going to try to keep him going long," said Lenzini, who added he doesn't have another race picked out yet. "We want to give him time to relax. He's a big, strapping horse. Once he's back in training, we'll look at our options."

The race was originally scheduled for the turf, but a rainstorm forced it to the main track. Lenzini said he didn't think the surface mattered to Our Minesweeper as much as the distance.

"If they'd run on the turf, I think the same thing would have happened," he said.

Lenzini spent the six weeks between the Cavonnier and the Bart Heller teaching Our Minesweeper to relax. He had Antongeorgi work the gelding as much to build the rider's confidence in the colt as to get the colt comfortable running behind horses.

Baze, as usual, on top

Russell Baze ended the first week of this Golden Gate fair meet with five wins on Sunday. He had three on opening day Wednesday.

Three of Baze's Sunday winners were on horses trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Northern California's all-time leading trainer. The other two wins came on horses trained by Billy Morey, who leads the trainer standings with four wins.

The three wins were Hollendorfer's first of the meet. As of Tuesday he stood fourth in the national standings with 176 wins this year.

Baze had 11 victories during the four-day week and leads the jockey standings by eight over Antongeorgi and Francisco Duran. Baze ended the week 10 winners ahead of Ramon Dominguez, 305-295, in the national standings.

Trainer Steve Specht opened the meet with a natural hat trick last Wednesday, scoring with Griffinstown, Ms. Lively and Chars Problem in the second through fourth races after finishing second with Cousin Bruno in the first race of the meeting. Specht ended the week with 994 victories.

Fewer days, bigger fields

Golden Gate had one of its biggest weekends on the track in some time, with 200 horses entered in the 18 races held Saturday and Sunday, including also-eligibles.

Saturday's card saw 111 horses signed up for the day's nine races, with superfecta wagering in every race. Sunday's nine races drew 89 entrants.

Golden Gate Fields officials credited racing four days a week rather than five days for the big numbers.