My Creed overtook the leader Visa Parade, an Argentine-bred colt making his U.S. debut, and Desert Boom approaching the eighth pole. He won driving in a time of 1:43 2/5 for the 1 1/16-mile distance at odds of 16-1. Visa Parade, a multiple grade I winner in his native country, held off Desert Boom for second by a head.
McCann's Mojave, the 13-10 choice in the field of eight, stalked the lead on the outside and took the lead on the final turn. However, he gave way readily at the top of the lane and was eased in the stretch. McCann's Mojave was vanned off after reportedly bleeding through the nose.
Owned by Seven Star Racing Stable and Robert Hess Sr., who also trains My Creed, the 6-year-old Beau Genius gelding earned $55,000 for his first graded stakes win and has banked $305,150 in his career, which includes seven victories in 31 starts. The Kentucky-bred My Creed was coming off a distant third-place showing in an optional claiming race at one mile at Bay Meadows April 5.
The win was his first in 10 dirt tries at Golden Gate, but his fifth in 13 outings at the distance. The Berkeley is the second stakes victory of the year for My Creed, a stretch-runner who charged from last to win the Presidents' Day Handicap at Bay Meadows on Feb. 19.
"The race set up perfect," said Linares. "I loved seeing those horses out there. As soon as he changed leads in the stretch, the race was over. He just took off. This horse is getting better and better."
Guiding Hand opened a two-length lead while clicking off the opening quarter mile in :22 3/5 and continued to lead after a half in :45 2/5. McCann's Mojave was forwardly placed and moved up on the outside to get the advantage after six furlongs in 1:10. Visa Parade, ridden by Russell Baze, blocked earlier on the inside, moved three wide on the turn to get the lead in upper stretch only to settle for second as My Creed took command in the final furlong after making a quick move to reach contention. Desert Boom got to even terms with Visa Parade in upper stretch but flattened out before coming on again to nearly snatch second for jockey David Lopez.
Visa Parade had not been out since October.
"He's a very nice horse," said Baze. "There's a lot of talent there. He was just a little too keen today coming off that layoff. He was the last man standing of the ones that were up there early. I imagine next time he'll be double-tough to beat. He's a racehorse."
My Creed paid $34.20, $11.20 and $5. Visa Parade returned $4.20 and $3.60 for trainer John Sadler as the 8-5 second choice. Desert Boom, defeated for the first time in four starts on the Golden Gate Fields main track, was $5 to show.
A Gallant Discover was 2 1/4 lengths away in fourth, with Wanna Runner, Guiding Hand, Mambo Train and McCann's Mojave trailing.
"When I made the lead I thought I had it," said Frank Alvarado, who rode McCann's Mojave. "At the three-sixteenths, I felt something and then he started making noise. He was choking. He bled bad. On a scale of one to 10, it was a 10. That's how bad he bled."