Closing weekend at the Pleasanton fair will be remembered for the happy and the sad of bay area racing 2012. The sad was the race in honor of jockey Jorge Herrera. Sunday’s fourth race was named in honor of the fallin jockey and was won by Russell Baze. Afterward, all Herrera’s fellow jockeys and friends gathered in the winners circle for the second time in two days to say goodbye.
It was a fitting end to a chapter in bay area racing that will never be forgotten.
But racing went on and the weekend provided us with a glimpse of what could be a two-year old tandem that we will have our eyes on them for the upcoming future.
Saturday’s Juan Gonzalez Memorial saw the highly touted Broken Sword (below right) cruise with the easiest of wins.
Broken Sword, out of Broken Vow by Katana, came into the race with a sparkling work tab for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and she didn’t disappoint.
After a slight hesitation at the start, she pulled along side the leading pair with ease at the quarter pole and pulled away down the stretch for an 11 length win.
The following day the Everett Nevin Stakes saw 9 youngsters go post-ward and in what many deemed as the toughest two-year old race in sometime in this area. Seven of the nine had previously won a race. But just like the filly race the day before, the favorite proved to be quite a handful.
Anytime Magic, trained by Bob Hess Sr. and ridden by David Lopez, proved his win in the Lost in the Fog Stakes a month prior was no fluke.
Anytime Magic (above left) went head to head with Native Treasure through a 21.9 opening quarter and 45.4 for the half, only to pull away down the lane and win by 2 ½ lengths.
The son of Fusaichi Pegasus is now 2-for-2 in his career and has shown the willingness to battle a fast pace and pull away in the stretch both times.
“I told David (Lopez) both races, that we had two plans,” Hess said. “Plan A is if he breaks good, get the lead and make sure he changes leads down the stretch. Plan B, if he doesn’t break, is settle him and make one run. So far we haven’t had to go to plan B yet.”
Most impressive for Anytime Magic, is the fact that both his wins have come over different surfaces, the synthetic of Golden Gate Fields and the dirt of Pleasanton.
If both these two-year-olds continue on their path, the bay area will no longer be home, just a place they launched their careers.
If all goes well both will be on display the weekend of August 11-12 at Santa Rosa when the next pair of two year old stake races will be carded.