11/08/2014 7:24PM

Stalk the Wildcat romps in Golden Nugget

Shane Micheli/ Vassar Photography
Stalk the Wildcat, ridden by Ricardo Gonzalez, scores a five-length victory as the favorite in the Golden Nugget.

Even-money favorite Stalk the Wildcat proved his superiority in the stretch as he scored a five-length victory in the $62,755 Golden Nugget Stakes for 2-year-olds on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.

Stalk the Wildcat ($4), a Tommy Town Thoroughbreds Ministers Wild Cat homebred, ran second in a $32,000 maiden claimer in his debut before winning his maiden by three lengths in his second start.

Cartoonist, a six-length winner on the same day Stalk the Wildcat scored his maiden win, led Rainsford down the backstretch and around the turn of the six-furlong race as Stalk the Wildcat was fifth ahead of only one rival in the early going.

As Cartoonist maintained his margin at the quarter pole, Stalk the Wildcat was moving up while three wide and in the clear turning for home. He easily passed the leader by the eighth pole and continued to increase his lead through the stretch, winning in 1:10.31, only .05 of a second slower than older stakes-type fillies and mares earlier on the card.

“He trains very slow, but he has perfect form,” said winning jockey Ricardo Gonzalez. “I’ve always liked this horse. He relaxes very good and then, just as you get to the quarter pole, he takes off.

“I was loaded in the stretch. He won easy. I don’t think he’s even tired.”

Cartoonist was second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Rainsford, who refused to let Bluegrass Sight pass him in winning a photo for third. Bluegrass Sight overcame early trouble after breaking from the rail.

The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Stalk the Wildcat earned $39,350 for his first stakes victory. He has earned $62,630.

The Golden Nugget is the first in a series of races leading up to the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby. The next race in the series is the $75,000 Gold Rush at one mile on Dec. 6.

Delta Flower springs surprise


Delta Flower, one of four multiple stakes winners entered in an allowance race, was completely overlooked in the wagering but rallied through the lane to score an easy victory in the six-furlong race for fillies and mares.

As City by the Bay and comebacking Marks Mine, the two favorites, dueled head and head to the quarter pole, Delta Flower ($35.60) was fifth down the backstretch.

Delta Flower, a 3-year-old daughter of A.P. Delta, moved up on the turn. Jockey Leslie Mawing eased her three-wide just inside Look Quickly as City by the Bay began to pull clear of Marks Mine when the field turned for home.

Delta Flower was still three lengths behind favored City by the Bay, but quickly made up the deficit and pulled clear, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Look Quickly, who edged City by the Bay in the final stride. The wiinning time was 1:10.26.

The first three finishers were all 3-year-olds with 4-year-old Marks Mine, making her first start since June 28, fourth.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Delta Flower, winner of the Rainbow Miss at Oaklawn Park and Angel Flight at Santa Anita earlier this year, scored her fourth victory in eight starts. She earned $20,400 to increase her earnings to $167,800.