11/29/2015 7:37PM

Poshsky wears down leader to win Berkeley Handicap

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Vassar Photography
Poshsky wins the Berkeley Handicap by a neck Sunday at Golden Gate Fields.

ALBANY, Calif. – Trainer Peter Miller entered two horses Sunday in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields and sent the right one north as Poshsky ($9) rallied to wear down Pepper Crown by a neck to record his first stakes victory.

The favored G. G. Ryder, who was bidding to become the first horse to sweep Golden Gate's trio of graded stakes races for older runners, wound up third, another half-length back.

Miller entered both Big Cazanova and Poshsky but ran Big Casanova Saturday in the Grade 3 Native Diver, in which he finished fourth.

"It was not an easy decision,” said Miller. “I don't know. Things work out. Big Cazanova was 9-5, but the way he ran down here, maybe we should have run him up there."

Winning jockey Russell Baze said jokingly after the race, "I'm glad he sent this one."

Ankeny Hill broke sharply from the rail and took the lead with G. G. Ryder sitting behind him and Poshsky stalking in third.

Ricardo Gonzalez aboard G. G. Ryder thought he would be on the lead but was happy to be sitting in a stalking position.

"I thought he was going to make a good race sitting right off of him, but he just couldn't keep up with the winner," said Gonzalez.

As the field approached the quarter pole, defending champion Pepper Crown began to make a strong move along the rail. He took the lead into the stretch and turned in a big effort despite being unable to hold off Poshsky, whose winning time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:42.70.

"They told me to put him in the race,” said Baze. “He jumped out of there and wanted to run so I let him run.”

Miller said there was a minor miscommunication in that he expected Poshsky to sit a bit farther back and save some ground rather than sitting three wide.

"I didn't think anybody was going to be coming from the back and run these horses down," said Baze. "I thought we were in trouble when Pepper Crown got through on the rail, but I think the big thing with my horse is that he's such a big, long-striding horse, you have to get him in position where you don't have to be checking him inside the three-eighths pole."

Miller lauded Baze's ride.

"Russell knows the track, and he was in the right spot," said Miller.

Poshsky was the third choice in the race, but Miller felt good going in because Chiropractor, the colt Poshsky had defeated in his previous start, had come back to win the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar on Saturday.

Poshsky, a 5-year-old Vrsonsky gelding owned by Silver Ranch Stable and Wachtel Stable, earned $60,000 with the victory to increase his career earnings to $313,320 with six wins in 22 starts.