Stakes racing made a return to
Golden Gate Fields Saturday and trainer Steve Specht was ready for
Specht was all smiles when his
filly, Justenufappeal, charged down the lane under jockey Russell Baze to win
the $75,000 Golden Poppy Stakes by 1 ¾ lengths. He hopes that smile stays
through next weekend when he will try and make it two stakes in a row, as he
sends out Antares World in the $50,000 Work the Crowd.
But as for Justenufappeal,
Specht proved it helps to know a little something about your horse. The Golden
Poppy was the first time the three-year-old filly went long, and her first time
on the turf.
“I wasn’t as concerned about the
turf as I was about the distance, “ Specht said. “You never know until you try
Oh yea, and he also gave Baze a
little “heads up” on how to handle the her.
“I told Russell, don’t get in a
fight with her. She has a little bit of a light mouth and if you take too much
hold of her, she’ll flip her head. He settled her down early which was
Baze, who had ridden
Justenufappeal to a win in an allowance race in February, controlled the race
when it counted the most.
“She doesn’t like you to mess
with her. She gets mad, so you just have to let her run,” Baze
And run she did.
After getting the lead early,
she was passed on the backstretch by the Jerry Hollendorfer pair of Alec’s Moon
and Seismic Speed. But when they turned for home, Baze re-rallied and went past
them down the lane.
“I was surprised when those
horses went by me on the backstretch but I wasn’t concerned because I thought
they were moving a little too soon on this turf course," said Baze. “She’s just
all heart and she has a ton of talent.”
Justenufappeal is partly owned
by hall of fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye and when Baze finished in the winners
circle, “Eddie D” was waiting on a cell phone to congratulate the winning
As Baze put the phone to his
ear, he said “Eddie D….I was thinking... how would Eddie D ride this horse
You gotta love inside humor
between hall of famers.
Last week also marked the return
of 2-year-old races at GGF. But does it really mean anything to win a two
In the past three years, there
have been 10, two furlong races for the babies between GGF and Bay Meadows. Of
those 10 winners, only two (Appealing Resume in 2009 and She’smylittleman in
2008) have won since. In fact, two of the three winners last year, have not run
a race since.
The most accomplished of the
group, She’smylittleman, has won 6 of 12 races since debuting in 2008 and won
So we will now keep track of
this years first winner, Steve Sherman’s Daddy’s Fancy.