06/29/2012 1:30PM

Pleasanton: Positive Response gets another stakes chance in the Alamedan


The Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on May 28 was bittersweet for trainer Billy Morey.

The sweet part was that Positive Response finished first in the race. The bitter part came when Positive Response was disqualified from first to fourth for causing interference.

It’s the sweet part that has Morey looking forward to Sunday’s $50,000-added Alamedan Handicap at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton.

“We feel good that the horse actually won the race,” said Morey. “We wanted to see him win again.”

Last year, Positive Response won the Gold Rush and California Derby for Morey at Golden Gate Fields before running third there in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby. He then went wire to wire to win the $100,000 John Battaglia at Turfway Park and was favored in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes only to fade and finish eighth behind eventual Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

He spent nearly a full year on the sidelines before returning March 1. Though officially winless in five starts this year, he hasn’t missed a check yet, and Morey would like to see him pick up a victory against four rivals in the Alamedan.

“Obviously, the timing is perfect,” said Morey. “He’s worked well.”

The big question mark for Positive Response is whether he will take to dirt.

“He’s never set foot on dirt,” said Morey. “Maybe he’ll run even better.”

Positive Response was assigned the high weight of 120 pounds and drew the rail.

Breaking beside him is Southern California invader Gladding, winner of the Grade 2 San Antonio in wire-to-wire style at Santa Anita last year. He was second after setting the pace in this year’s Santana Mile.

Gladding, who will carry 118 pounds, seems capable of taking the lead from the speedy Positive Response early, but if the two duel, it could set things up for someone else.

Acafella won his maiden in the Angel Island on the turf as a 2-year-old two years ago. Honour the Deputy has a graded stakes placing and has been third in the Santana Mile the past two years.

When We Met, coming off a win in a $62,500 optional claimer, rounds out the field.