08/02/2013 1:16PM

Santa Rosa: Joseph Grace matches Positive Response, Grand Berry

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William G. Vassar
Positive Response wins the County of Alameda Handicap at Pleasanton in his last start.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Positive Response and Grand Berry, a pair of multiple stakes winners, will try to add to their laurels Sunday in the $50,000-added Joseph Grace Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at the Sonoma County Fair.

Grand Berry, from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, has yet to hit the board in his six starts since arriving to the United States from Argentina late last year, but his best effort came at Golden Gate Fields when he lost a photo for third in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile. He won Group 1 and Group 2 stakes in his native Argentina.

Trainer Billy Morey purchased Positive Response as a 2-year-old when Golden Gate unveiled a series of races for 2- and 3-year-olds. Not only did Positive Response run well in the series, he went to Kentucky to win the $100,000 Battaglia Memorial and has gone on to earn $352,433.

The 5-year-old Pomeroy gelding is coming off a victory in the County of Alameda Handicap at Pleasanton, which gave him his first win on dirt to go along with six wins on synthetic surfaces and one win on the turf.

“He’s handled everything, and I think he’s handled the turf well,” said Morey, who said he was targeting the Grace after Positive Response’s last win.

In the five weeks since, Morey has given his star three works to keep him sharp.

“He’s doing well,” said Morey.

The sharpest runner coming into the race is Administer, who was a $100,000 Keeneland purchase in August 2011.

Like Positive Response, he has a win and a second in three turf tries. He will be making his first start since finishing third in the May 27 All American at Golden Gate, a race in which Positive Response finished sixth.

Trainer Blaine Wright has the 4-year-old Bernstein gelding sharpened with a pair of six-furlong bullet drills, in 1:13.40 on July 20 and 1:13.60 on July 26.

Fire With Fire has been running in graded company of late for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, who scored a win here Thursday, and will have the services of the meet’s hottest rider, Juan Hernandez.

Rounding out the field are Pepnic, second to Positive Response at Pleasanton; Tribal Tribute, third behind Positive Response and Pepnic; recent allowance winner Candy for Debbie; and Sandor, the runner-up in his past two starts.