Everything Golden Gate Fields

I thought I would use this week to talk about some news and notes around Golden Gate Fields and update you on some horses and jockeys that I have mentioned over the past few months.

Saddle up and here we go.

The call to the post signifies the horses are on the track for the next race. These days, those races are getting harder and harder to fill at Golden Gate Fields. Here is a small example. Last week we ran four days, Thursday thru Sunday. During those days, we carded 34 races. Would you be surprised if I told you that 20 of those 34 races had 6 horses or less?

Trainer Steve Sherman (left) came within 2 lengths of equaling a 15 year-old record. Sherman went into Friday’s sixth race with 8 straight wins over a four day period. The record of 9 is held by leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. However Sherman’s horse, Milyone, ridden by Kevin Krigger ran third narrowly missing after a late close down the stretch. Krigger though is a big reason Sherman had the wins as he was on board for 4 of the 8.

Speaking of Krigger, he and Aaron Gryder have found success quickly in their short stints at GGF. Through Sunday, Krigger has won 21 races from 88 mounts and Gryder has won 17 of 85 starts.

And now for the one that got away. Apprentice Kyle Frey left GGF last month to ride at Parx Racecourse in Philadelphia and in a short time is making a big impression. Frey has had 13 mounts through Sunday and has 5 wins, 1 second and 4 thirds.

When I last spoke of William E. Morey’s Positive Response, he was a disappointing third in the El Camino Real Derby. Since then though, he has found a liking for the synthetic surface at Turfway Park. Under regular jockey Julien Couton, ‘Response won the John Battaglia Memorial on March 5th by seven lengths and now will be aiming at the $500,000 Spiral Stakes this Saturday, also at Turfway. Is the Kentucky Derby a possibility? We will see after this weekend.

Remember Cathy's Crunches? She was last seen locally losing the California Oaks to Lilacs and Lace. But since then, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee has run third in the La Habra Stakes and second in the China Doll Stakes, both at Santa Anita. Both races were won by Pleasanton trainer Jeff Bonde’s Cambina. Lilacs and Lace has since been sold and is stabled back east.

We may not have a close jockey race but the trainer title is now up for grabs. Russell Baze has kept his distance from his challengers, with 75 wins through Saturday, but Francisco Duran and Julien Couton are battling for second with Duran holding a 41-39 edge. On the trainer side, Sherman’s run mentioned earlier has him in a tie with Hollendorfer through Saturday with 40 wins apiece. Sherman has started 40 horses less than Hollendorfer and won his first training title in the summer of 2010 when he edged Billy Morey 22-21.

And finally, to say that Sunday was a pretty “chalky” day may be an understatement. The highest paying winner of the first six races was $4.40 and the $1 pick 3 for races 4 thru 6 paid a whopping $2.90

And how was your week?

Meet Don August

I have been involved in horse racing, from a fan to sportswriter, for the past 30 years. The first time my dad took me to the track, I picked a horse named "Black Tornado" and when he won, I was hooked.  From then on, I spent weekends and occasional school days at the race track, and my enjoyment of the sport led me to try my hand at being a jockey agent, which i did for 3 years. When that didn't work out as I had hoped, I concentrated on my writing career by covering big races and doing summer fair handicapping, off and on, for the Contra Costa Times.

Today, I stay involved in the sport by being part of a group that currently owns two horses stabled at Golden Gate Fields. As all owners, we have dreams of someday having that special horse.  Besides writing about horse racing I enjoy covering many sports and have had the honor of meeting and writing about some incredible athletes.

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