01/25/2011 10:23AM

Stakes sprinters get a spot at Golden Gate

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Shudacudawudya makes his comeback on Thursday.

Golden Gate Fields has carded a stakes-quality allowance sprint on Thursday. The six-furlong race is the first on the card and has a field of five that comprises the comebackers Shudacudawudya, Paul’s Hope and Summer Excess, as well as Restless Youth and Our Minesweeper.

Shudacudawudya makes his first start since coming out of his fourth in the California Derby last January with a fractured hind leg. The 4-year-old Marino Marini colt started as a $20,000 maiden claimer as a 2-year-old and wound up a stakes winner, beating Sourdough Sam in the Golden Nugget in December of 2009. He then ran third in the Stuka at Hollywood Park before the California Derby.

Trainer Lloyd Mason said the injury was serious, but that the great majority of horses can come back completely healed.

“He’s coming back really good,” said Mason, who trains Shudacudawudya for his son Brett.

Mason has given the colt eight works in the past 10 weeks, including a 47.80 bullet half-mile drill on Dec. 8 and a 1:14.60 bullet six-furlong drill on Jan. 7.

Shudacudawudya won his debut in wire-to-wire style, but he’s a stalker type. He will have a fast pace to chase with Restless Youth breaking from the rail and Summer Excess breaking from the outside.

Mason and his son are on a roll. They scored a nice maiden victory with Formula Gold on Saturday and won an allowance race Sunday with the stakes-placed Bleach Blond.

“He’s pretty happy with me right now,” said Mason, who also saddled R Seeker to victory on Sunday.

Golden Gate officials have said they are trying to card races for better horses, even if that means the occasional five-or six-horse field. Thursday’s $40,000 race is an example, and with the next sprint stakes in Northern California not until Pleasanton this summer, it also fills a hole in the schedule for stakes sprinters.

Golden Gate is coming back with another allowance race at a mile on Friday, with a field that includes the multiple graded-stakes winner Autism Awareness, who just won for a $50,000 claiming tag. Also entered were Our Nautique, winner of three of his past four starts sandwiched around a third in the Grade 3 All American, Elusive Schemes, Hudson Landing and Slew the Man.