07/04/2013 11:09AM

Pleasanton: Frisco Fog brings speed, promise to Juan Gonzalez Memorial

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Frisco Fog was scintillating in her debut in the first 2-year-old race of the year in Northern California. She won a two-furlong race at Golden Gate Fields by 2 1/4 lengths in 21.39 seconds. The question is whether she can duplicate that performance Saturday in Northern California’s first stakes for 2-year-old fillies while coming off of a layoff.

Frisco Fog meets seven rivals in the $50,000 Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif. She will be making her first start since the April 11 maiden win and stretches out to 5 1/2 furlongs.

“She’s fit enough,” said trainer O.J. Jauregui. “She’s ready. She should handle the distance fine.”

Jauregui had planned to run Frisco Fog against males in the Lost in the Fog Stakes last month at Golden Gate Fields, but she got sick and had to pass the race.

“Everything was good until she got sick, but that’s normal for young horses,” he said. “She wasn’t ready to run.”

Although she has only one listed work in the past month, Frisco Fog has been galloping well and finishing strongly, said Jauregui. She worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 on June 27.

“I think she really worked well,” Jauregui said. “We tried to go easy early and finish well.”

Speed, though, is her biggest asset, and Jauregui says he will tell rider Juan Hernandez, “We don’t want to take away that weapon.”

Surprisingly, for an early 2-year-old stakes, there is not a lot of early speed in the Juan Gonzalez.

The main pace factor appears to be Side Letter, who won her 4 1/2-furlong debut while racing on the front end. She has drawn the rail.

“She is pretty quick, and she ran really well in her debut,” said trainer Steve Sherman. “We knew she had speed, but she was pulling clear at the end.”

Sherman will have leading rider Russell Baze aboard and is confident Side Letter can stalk the pace if need be.

“[Frisco Fog] is quick, but you wonder about her being sick and having only one work in a month,” Sherman said.

“Side Letter actually beat an older horse in a work and has a couple nice five-furlong works. We’ve taken her back off horses, and I think she’ll come off the pace if there’s a big speed duel. You just don’t want to be too far back here.”

The stalkers in the field would appreciate a speed duel, including locally based Purims Faith, who earned the highest Beyer in the field with a 69 in her May 16 maiden victory. Look Quickly came from fifth early in winning her June 7 debut and has a bullet work coming into the Gonzalez.

Completing the field are Southern California winner Sensational Nikki and the maidens Daylight’s Coming, Come On Alannah, and Melanie Rose.