03/29/2009 11:00PM

Return to turf should boost fields


The Golden Gate turf course opens Wednesday for the first time since January, just in time to bolster entries. Short fields have been common lately, and last week the Thursday card had to be canceled because of lack of entries.

Two turf races are carded for Wednesday, a bottom-level $20,000 maiden claimer for 3-year-old fillies (race 5) and a $32,000 maiden claimer (race 7). Both attracted eight horses. A straight maiden race and a $20,000 claimer will be run on the turf on Thursday, with both attracting the maximum of eight horses, plus two also-eligibles. Another straight maiden race (seven horses) and a high-level allowance race (six) will be run Friday.

The Friday allowance includes several runners pointing to the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile on Aprilo25. Bold Chieftain will make his first Golden Gate Fields start since scoring his initial stakes win here in the Hays Valley Stakes on Oct. 14, 2006. He has eight stakes wins among his 11 victories. One month before the Hays Valley, he won his turf debut at Golden Gate.

Bold Chieftain ran fourth in the Crystal Water on Feb. 28 at Santa Anita in his first start since an eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile last October.

Also entered in the Friday allowance is El Gato Malo, who won the McCann's Mojave here on Feb. 14 and will be making his turf debut. Also entered are Ferneley, coming off a fifth in the Grade 3 Thunder Road on the Santa Anita synthetic surface; Fly Dorcego, a Grade 2 turf winner in his native Brazil; Norm's Nephew, a sprint winner in his comeback here last month; and Yacht Spotter, who won three straight turf races here.

Saturday's card will include the $75,000 Yerba Buena, a 1 3/8-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares.

Confirmed starters include Southern California distance specialist Restless Soul; She's Sensational, fourth in last year's Yerba Buena and winner of two straight turf stakes at Turf Paradise; Sky Mystic, winner of last year's California Oaks as well as her lone turf start; and You Lift Me Up, a multiple stakes winner on turf.

Caprice, who won the La Zanzara on Feb. 11 at Santa Anita, and Royal Heraldry are listed as possible.

Bonde juvenile impresses

Trainer Jeff Bonde, always a force with juveniles in Northern California, won the first 2-year-old race of the meet Saturday with Excessive Passion, who won the two-furlong race by 1 1/2 lengths over Giveme Tat Ting in 21.59 seconds.

"He ran a real professional race," Bonde said.

Bonde has no choice now but to give Excessive Passion some time off. It will be some time before any races will be carded for 2-year-old winners, so he will have to wait for stakes races at Hollywood Park or Churchill Downs, or the Lost in the Fog at Golden Gate in June.

Excessive Passion is a son of Vronsky out of the In Excess mare Ms Hearts N Arrows. Bonde bought the colt for $25,000 for owners Rusty Brown, Phil Lebherz, and Alan Klein at last September's Northern California sale at Pleasanton.

"His sire's not a household name," Bonde said of Vronsky, who has had only one other starter. "We liked his looks and his walk. We bought him off his presence."

Duran out with injury

Francisco Duran separated his right shoulder Saturday and could be sidelined for up to two weeks, according to Golden Gate track physician Dr. David Seftel.

Duran was injured when his mount, Management, stumbled and fell galloping out after finishing third in the seventh race. Management was uninjured in the spill.

Six twofers over weekend

Six different riders scored doubles on Saturday's and Sunday's cards.

On Saturday, Leslie Mawing scored back-to-back victories in the fourth (Mr. Rancho Vista, $3.40) and fifth races (Gotcha Again $6.80).

Omar Figueroa won aboard Excessive Passion ($7.40) in the third and Father Ron ($8.60) in the seventh.

Frank Alvarado, who won three races Friday, added another pair Saturday with Executive Sweet ($2.60) in the first race and Inspiration Within ($13.60) in the eighth, picking up the mount after Duran's injury.

On Sunday, Russell Baze (One More Week, $4.20, third; and Desert Siren, $4.40, seventh), his son-in-law Kyle Kaenel (Refinery, $5.80, first; and Dustin the Track, $7, sixth), and Adan Landeros (Meant for You, $27.40, fifth; and Skimmy, $6.40, eighth) had two wins apiece.

* Saturday's first post will be at 12:15 p.m. with Santa Anita starting early with a noon first post on Santa Anita Derby Day.

* The first annual Golden Gate Fields Dachshund Derby will be held Sunday with eight heats and a championship event between the seventh and eighth races.