12/11/2009 12:00AM

Rivals seeking better trips


ALBANY, Calif. - Sourdough Sam and Our Minesweeper have plenty in common heading into Saturday's $50,000 Gold Rush at Golden Gate Fields.

They are among the most highly regarded juveniles in Northern California and both had troubled trips in the six-furlong Golden Nugget on Nov. 21, when Sourdough Sam was second and Our Minesweeper was fourth.

Their trainers both say they are glad their geldings are running at a mile.

Michael Lenzini, who trains Our Minesweeper, said he's "a lot happier," and for good reason. Although Our Minesweeper won his first two starts sprinting, including the Cavonnier Juvenile at Santa Rosa, his best race came in his third start, when he won the one-mile Bart Heller at Golden Gate Fields.

Since then, he's run in a pair of six-furlong stakes, the Jack Goodman at Santa Anita and the Golden Nugget here, finishing fourth with excuses both times. Our Minesweeper got stuck on the rail in both races.

"He hates to be on the rail," said Lenzini, who said he would have preferred an outside post rather than the No. 2 he drew for Saturday's race against six rivals. "He's not actually afraid. He just won't go too close to the rail and really keeps an eye on it, which takes him out of the race.

"I'm just hoping the horse himself grows out of it," he said. "That happens sometimes as horses mature."

Lenzini has tried to get Our Minesweeper more comfortable with the rail, working him inside horses in the morning, but said the horse is still leery of the rail.

In the Golden Nugget, Our Minesweeper helped create problems for Sourdough Sam, and his rider, William Antongeorgi III, received a three-day suspension after the race. Lenzini said Our Minesweeper had room to get off the rail sooner that day and is confident his horse will get a better trip Saturday.

Sourdough Sam will make his first two-turn start in the Gold Rush, and trainer Dean Pederson said he is ready for the test.

"He's held his weight good, his legs are good, and he's still laid-back mentally," Pederson said. "This is just a progression at this time of year for a young horse. On first impression, he should have no trouble, but you still want to see it."

Privalaged, who finished a neck in front of Our Minesweeper in the Goodman, could prove the toughest rival.

Locally based Haimish Hy, Swiss Memo, Winner in Overtime, and Richardsongndance all come into the race off wins.