09/21/2010 12:41PM

Specht saddles two stakes winners in turf feature

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
The 3-year-old Antares World is part of potent entry for trainer Steve Specht in Thursday's turf feature at Golden Gate Fields.

Golden Gate Fields does not have another stakes race on its schedule until Oct. 23, but it has put together a pair of stakes-caliber fields for fans Thursday and Friday.

“We’re really trying to help our trainers who have good horses,” said Golden Gate Fields general manager Robert Hartman. “Our stakes schedule was a little light this meet, but we’re putting emphasis on making better races go.”

Thursday’s classified allowance race, which carries a purse of $33,000, is for fillies and mares on the turf and will serve as a prep for the Oct. 30 Cal Cup races at Hollywood Park.

Friday’s race, also on the turf, includes Moudez, who won the Joseph Grace at Santa Rosa following a three-year layoff, and Brazilian Group 1 winner Kapo Di Tutti, who will be making his U.S. debut.

Hartman would like to run races like these on weekends, even if fields are on the smaller side, but he said the track’s difficulty in filling races forces it to run the races when they do fill rather than hold them back for a day or two.

Trainer Steve Specht sends out a potent entry in Thursday’s 1  1/16-mile race with Grade 1-placed Antares World making her debut against older horses and the multiple stakes winner Lady Railrider. Both of Specht’s runners have won stakes on the local turf course.

Specht said that he is pointing Antares World to the Grade  3 Harold C. Ramser on Oct. 17, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies. Antares World has led in the stretch in a pair of Grade 1 races in her past two starts, finishing second in the American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 3 and fourth in the Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 21.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer entered stablemates Christmas Ship and You Lift Me Up, one-two ahead of the comebacking Lady Railrider in the Luther Burbank at Santa Rosa.

Stakes-winning Ultra Blend and stakes-placed runners Point of Reference and Dianne Doround out the field. Point of Reference and Dianne Doround are the only non-Cal-breds entered.

Lady Railrider, whose start in the July 31 Luther Burbank ended a nine-month break, came out of the race with bruised feet and will be making her first start since then.

“She got sore and missed a little training,” said Specht. “She definitely needs a race even though she won last year off a layoff.”

The winner of last year’s Cal Cup Matron off a five-month break, Lady Railrider is again being pointed to the Matron, which is run on the main track.

Jockeys try out new safety vests

The serious injury to jockey Michael Martinez in a Sept. 12 spill has local riders re-evaluating their medical care.

Martinez’s parents had to go to court to be able to set up a temporary conservatorship to help with medical decisions.

A number of local jockeys are exploring creating medical conservatorships to allow family members to help make decisions in case they are unable to, according to track physician Dr. David Seftel.

Seftel, one of the nation’s strongest proponents for health and safety issues for jockeys, said that Martinez’s injuries, which were exacerbated when his mount rolled over him, have prompted jockeys to examine new safety vests that include air-bag technology.

Catalino Martinez and Hector Romero have already ordered the vests as has Francisco Duran, who used to ride here regularly but has been competing at Emerald Downs.

Jockeys currently wear safety vests that protect them much like flak jackets.

Vests are currently being constructed with air-bag technology similar to what is used in automobiles. The air bags in the safety vests can be re-used.

The special vests are made in England and have been used with great success there, particularly in steeplechase races.

* Leading rider Russell Baze took off his mounts Sunday after spraining his right thumb while guiding Castle Dermot to victory in the fourth race. He is expected to ride again when racing resumes Thursday.