07/17/2012 1:43PM

Sacramento notes: California State Fair Sprint Handicap draws competitive cast

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Bailouttheminister, here winning the Sam Whiting on July 4, could run next in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs.

Ten runners are entered in Saturday’s $75,000 California State Fair Sprint Handicap at Sacramento, the first sprint stakes of the year for older fillies and mares in Northern California.

Though it includes only one horse who has won a stakes at a major track, Special Holiday, the Sprint Handicap offers a deep field. Paris in April won three minor stakes at Boise this year and finished second in the $40,000 Molly Brown at Arapahoe Park. The field also includes Greatest Escape, who has won her only two starts and comes off an allowance win at Pleasanton, and Indian Gracey, third in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf as a 2-year-old who set the early pace before fading in her 2012 debut last month at Golden Gate Fields.

Rounding out the field are English Royal and Advance Ticket, each coming off an allowance win; the 3-year-olds Distinctive Yolie and Hennessy River, second and fourth in the California Wine Stakes at Pleasanton; and Trapper’s Bounty and Dove Forest.

Field size improving

The first week of the California State Fair meet, which began last Thursday, was a difficult one at the entry box. This week has started out short on races, with six for Thoroughbreds each on Thursday and Friday, but field sizes are decent. There are 48 Thoroughbreds entered Thursday, an average of eight per race, and 45 Friday (7.5 per race). Saturday’s card includes eight Thoroughbred races and averages 8.5 per race.

Last week’s troubles at the entry box were highlighted Saturday when only six Thoroughbred races could be filled. One of the races was a five-horse starter allowance field that became a match race when three of the runners scratched. Worldly Lad, at 1-20, edged Our Mandate by a neck as the two raced head-and-head in the 5 1/2-furlong race.

Juveniles eye Santa Rosa

Trainers Jerry Hollendorfer and Bob Hess each sent out a winner in the two stakes for 2-year-olds on the final weekend at Pleasanton, and they are looking to run them back at Santa Rosa

Hollendorfer’s filly Broken Sword won the Juan Gonzalez Memorial by 11 lengths in her debut while earning an 80 Beyer Speed Figure. The Hess-trained Anytime Magic made it 2 for 2 by winning the Everett Nevin Alameda County Futurity after having won the Lost in the Fog at Golden Gate Fields in his debut.

Broken Sword is being pointed for the $75,000 Wine Country Debutante on Aug. 11, while Anytime Magic will gun for his third straight stakes victory in the $75,000 Cavonnier on Aug. 12.

Bailouttheminister eyes Longacres Mile

Bailouttheminister, who won the $75,000 Sam Whiting at Pleasanton on July 4, could make his next start in the Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 19, said trainer Keith Nations.

“We’re from Seattle, and we’ll think about the Longacres Mile,” Nations said.

Nations said he is also considering the Jess Jackson on Aug. 5 at Santa Rosa for Bailouttheminister. The Longacres Mile is a one-mile race on the dirt, and the Jess Jackson is a five-furlong turf sprint.

Bailouttheminister won the six-furlong Sam Whiting by a half-length over the stakes winner Ain’t No Other in 1:09.06. His 98 Beyer was his fifth straight in the 90s and the victory was his third in his last four starts.

“He keeps getting better and better,” said Nations, who claimed the 4-year-old Bailouttheminister for Theresa and Edward DeNike for $20,000 in his Oct. 22, 2010 debut.

Although he has shown that he’s a superior sprinter, Bailouttheminister has never won around two turns, although he did miss by only a nose going a mile at Golden Gate Fields this year and started his streak of 90-plus Beyers in a race going 1 1/16 miles.

Nations says he thinks seven furlongs would be the perfect distance for Bailouttheminister, but he thinks the horse could get the mile at Emerald.

“Maybe we’d work him a little bit longer, but I think the Tapeta and the turf at Golden Gate Fields may be a little more tiring,” said Nations. “I think he can carry his speed over dirt easier.”

Nations said the main fall goal for Bailouttheminister is the California Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.

Hudson Landing, who ran seventh in Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on the turf at Betfair Hollywood Park last month, is another Northern California runner eyeing the Longacres Mile. He could also run in the Aug. 5 Joseph Grace on the Santa Rosa turf.

◗ The Alameda County Fair at Pleasanton, which ran from June 21-July 8, reported record attendance of 534,557 during its 13 days of racing, an 18 percent increase from its record-setting 452,747 total in 2011.