Updated on 09/16/2011 8:52AM

Spensive wins Gold Rush


ALBANY, Calif. - Spensive ($4.40) got the lead in the stretch, was passed by Always Remember but re-rallied under Julie Krone to win the $81,075 Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Krone, who won the Vernon Underwood by Debonair Joe one week earlier for his first stakes victory since returning to riding after a 3.5-year retirement, nursed Spensive to victory in the one-mile race. The winning time on a sloppy track was 1:38.32.

The race lost much of its appeal when morning-line favorite D's Bertrando was scratched about two hours before the race.

Spensive, trained by Bob Baffert, sat behind an early three-way pace duel between Buddy Gil, Natural Balance and Quietly Quick.

Krone asked the colt to move three wide on the turn and then had to let him move pretty much on his own.

"I've been on him in the morning a lot," Krone said. "He looks powerful and fast, but he's just galloping and slow. I think Bob got his confidence up last week. We breezed him in company and let him win in a photo. Maybe it carried over today.

"He's a contrary horse. If you try to ride him as I did at the three-eighths pole, he gives up.

"I tried to wait with him, and I had a lot of horse at the three-eighths pole. He fell back in midstretch when I went to pounding on him, but he came back on when I gathered him up and dropped my hands."

Kevin Krigger, the rider of Always Remember, said, "I thought he going to keep going, but he kind of froze up the last couple of jumps. I don't know what it was. Maybe it was the lights. He was rolling on his own on the turn and, at the top of the stretch, I got after him and he responded. He just couldn't hold on the last two jumps."

Buddy Gil, winner of the Golden Bear Stakes, was favored after the defection of D's Bertrando. Rider Omar Figueroa said he had trouble handling the track and tired.

D's Bertrando's trainer Jeff Bonde said, "My boss (owner Dennis Narlinger) didn't want to run him in the rain, so that's the way it is. I guess we'll run in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes (a $125,000 seven-furlong race for 2-year-old Cal-breds at Santa Anita on Dec. 26).

"I wanted to run, but he remembers that filly (Gloriously Golden, who suffered a fatal breakdown when she fell on the first turn of the Corte Madera Stakes on Dec. 29, 2001, on a rainy day over a sloppy track). He's lost some valuable horses here."

Spensive notched his first stakes victory, earning $47,325 to lift his career earnings to $97,311 with two wins in five starts.

The Baffert-trained Danthebluegrassman won the race last year and followed that with a victory in the Golden Gate Derby. The $100,000 Derby (G3) is scheduled for Jan. 11.