Awesome Gem, lifetime winner of more than $2.7 million, and San Francisco Mile (gr. IIIT) victor Hudson Landing head the field for the $100,000 Berkeley Handicap (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields May 28.
The 1 1/16-mile Memorial Day event for older horses drew a field of eight to Golden Gate's Tapeta main track. It is the seventh race with a probable post of 4:15 p.m. PDT.
West Point Thoroughbreds' 9-year-old gelding Awesome Gem will be making his 50th start in the Berkeley. The Craig Dollase trainee, who is based in Southern California, opened his 2012 campaign with an off-the-turf allowance victory at Golden Gate April 12.
He returned to Betfair Hollywood Park, where he won the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), for the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) May 15 but placed seventh after stalking the pace to the far turn.
Aaron Gryder takes over on the imposing chestnut son of Awesome Again for the Berkeley. Awesome Gem, who has 10 wins and 20 placings in his lengthy career, drew the rail and will carry top weight of 120.
Hudson Landing, who finished sixth in last year's Berkeley, posted his first graded stakes win in the San Fancisco Mile April 28 on turf. It was the third consecutive victory for the 5-year-old Maria's Mon gelding. His prior two wins during the current streak came on the Tapeta for trainer Blaine Wright and owner Chappell Alpine Farms.
Juan Hernandez keeps the mount on Hudson Landing, who won the San Francisco Mile in stalking style by a half-length at odds of nearly 9-1. They break from post 3 with 119 pounds. The chestnut was popular at the claiming box before taken by his current connections for $50,000 at Golden Gate in February. He has 10 wins from 29 lifetime starts while banking $365,688.
A D K Racing's Anthony's Cross, winner of the 2011 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park, makes his third start of the season for trainer Eoin Harty after nearly a year on the shelf. The 4-year-old Indian Charlie colt comes off a good fourth-place finish in a top-level allowance event at Hollywood April 29.
Gallant Son made his seasonal debut with a third-place effort in the San Francisco Mile for trainer Frank Lucarelli. The 6-year-old son of Malabar Gold has done most of his recent running on turf. Russell Baze takes over on Gallant Son, breaking from post 2.
Lucarelli also entered Michael the Man, who is on a three-race win streak over the track and steps up from the claiming ranks.
Multiple stakes winner Positive Response gets back on the Tapeta after a fifth-place showing in the San Francisco Mile, his turf debut.
$100,000 Berkeley Handicap (gr. III, Race 7, 4:15 p.m.), 4 & up, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Awesome Gem (KY), A T Gryder, 120, C Dollase
2. Gallant Son (KY), R A Baze, 114, F Lucarelli
3. Hudson Landing (KY), J J Hernandez, 119, B D Wright
4. Positive Response (FL), J Couton, 116, W E Morey
5. Anthony's Cross (PA), K John, 115, E G Harty
6. Bonfire Knight (GB), A Cedillo, 112, S Miyadi
7. Where's the Remote (CA), A Gomez, 112, E Moger Jr.
8. Michael the Man (KY), F T Alvarado, 111, F Lucarelli