07/05/2011 11:42AM

Pleasanton: Speed dominant at Alameda County Fair


PLEASANTON, Calif. – There was only one place to be at the Alameda County Fair last week – on the lead.

All three stakes were won in wire-to-wire style. Seven of nine races were won by front-runners, and in the other two, one runner was second by a head at the first call and the other third. Both had the lead at the second call.

It’s important for handicappers to remember the strong speed bias because it could pay dividends, particularly at Santa Rosa, which has the longest stretch in Northern California. Many Pleasanton winners will be overbet, while horses that couldn’t overcome the speed bias will offer greater value later this summer.

On Friday, Ain’t No Other broke like a rocket ship, dominated on the front end, and had plenty left late in the Livermore Valley Wines Stakes for 3-year-olds going six furlongs. He had won the Harry Henson on the turf and run third in the Grade 3 Laz Barrera in his previous two starts at Hollywood Park.

Now trainer Steve Miyadi will start looking at condition books for Ain’t No Other, a gelded son of Old Topper.

In Northern California, there’s the Jess Jackson Owners Handicap at five furlongs on the turf at Santa Rosa on Aug. 6. The interesting aspect of that race is owners/trainers can select their own weight.

Jeff Bonde, whose Road Ready ran fourth as the second choice behind Ain’t No Other has expressed an interest in trying his multiple stakes winner on the turf.

At Del Mar, there’s the Grade 1 Bing Crosby on July 31, but Bonde will be well represented by defending champ Smiling Tiger, who won the Grade 1 Triple Bend on Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Another Del Mar possibility for Ain’t No Other would be the seven-furlong Real Good Deal for Cal-breds on Aug. 10.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has the top 2-year-old in Northern California with City Route, who has three straight wire-to-wire wins, beating colts in the Lost in the Fog and fillies in the Juan Gonzalez Memorial on Saturday.

She’s a Cal-bred and likely will be pointed to the $100,000 CTBA Stakes at Del Mar on July 22, but if Hollendorfer decides to keep his homebred in Northern California, she can run in the Wine Country Debutante at Santa Rosa on Aug. 6.

Slew the Man, who capped a nice weekend for Smiling Tiger’s owners Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz by winning the Alamedan on Monday, could be pointed to the $50,000 Joseph Grace on the turf at Santa Rosa on Aug. 7. He ran third in his lone turf try.

Alamedan runner-up Bold Chieftain will also be considered for the Grace, although he is a two-time winner of the $100,000 California Dreamin’, this year scheduled for July 24 at Del Mar.

Fairs hand out awards

The California Authority of Racing Fairs held its second annual award ceremony in a special dinner for horsemen at Pleasanton last week.

Honored were Steve Sherman, who gave a poignant speech paying tribute to his father, Art, as the outstanding Thoroughbred trainer, and Helen Shelley as the outstanding mixed breed trainer.

Leroy Krum was feted as the outstanding Thoroughbred owner with Leisa Belser as the outstanding mixed breed owner.

Michael Martinez was selected the outstanding Thoroughbred jockey with Jesus Arriaga named the outstanding mixed breed jockey.

Special awards were given to San Francisco Chronicle racing writer Larry Stumes and Sam Spear, who has broadcast racing replays from more than 30 years. Stumes and Spear have played important roles in bringing news of the racing industry to general audiences.

Sparse nominations for stakes

Racing secretary Tom Doutrich says nominations for Saturday’s $50,000 Everett Nevin for 2-year-olds at 5½ furlongs and Sunday’s $50,000 Sam Whiting Stakes at six furlongs have come up a bit light, but that he expects the fields to be competitive.

Goggles McCoy, who won his first four starts as a 3-year-old last year, including an allowance race at Pleasanton and the Real Good Deal at Del Mar, is expected to run in the Sam Whiting. He shows a pair of six-furlong bullet drills coming into the race.

Sold Short, the runner-up to City Route in the Lost in the Fog, won’t have to face City Route if he goes in the Nevin.

Doutrich said that the low number of nominations in Pleasanton’s two races for 2-year-olds might lead him to revise next year’s stakes schedule.

◗ Win machine Bar JF Hot Ticket won her 11th straight race at Pleasanton on Sunday. An 8-year-old racing mule, Bar JF Hot Ticket made her 44th trip to the winner’s circle in 52 starts. She has earned $205,457 while hitting the board 51 times.