05/28/2008 11:00PM

Sudan looks for first U.S. stakes win


ALBANY, Calif. – There are bigger things on the horizon for the Bobby Frankel-trained Sudan, but on Saturday the Grade 3, $100,000 Golden Gate Fields Turf is the target.

A 5-year-old Irish-bred horse, Sudan is looking for his first win in the United States. The 1 3/8-mile turf stakes should provide an ideal distance for the horse, and a jumping-off point for turf marathons this summer in Southern California.

Sudan is proven at longer distances, with a victory in the 1 1/2-mile Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano last June. As a 3-year-old, he ran third in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris, also at 1 1/2 miles.

Sudan was eighth and last in the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo at Santa Anita on Feb. 23, his first race in this country. He sat closer to the pace and held on for third in the Grade 2 Jim Murray at Hollywood Park on May 10 in his last start.

“He’s doing real good,” said Humberto Ascanio, Frankel’s top assistant. “He needed his last race.”

Sudan has a half-mile maintenance work since the Jim Murray.

Sudan could build some confidence with a victory. Although he is a Group 1 winner, Sudan has only two victories, fewer than the rest of his rivals, and hasn’t won in almost a year.

David Flores will come north for the ride on Sudan.

Only two of his seven rivals have won at the 1 3/8 miles of Saturday’s race. We Brothers captured a minor stakes in Arizona in April 2007. Fire Wood won an allowance race at the distance at Del Mar in 2006.

Argentine-bred Fitz Flag, runner-up in last year’s Grade 2 Sunset Handicap going 1 1/2 miles at Hollywood Park, and Uffizi, who just ran third in the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 3, both seem capable of getting the distance and are going in good form.

Rounding out the field are Top This and That, who is looking for his first stakes victory; Amazin Blue, winner of last year’s Alberta Derby and the lone locally based runner; and Plug Me In, third in the President’s Day Handicap at Bay Meadows on Feb. 18 on the main track.