Top sprinter Wild Dude heads a competitive field of eight older horses as he seeks to rebound in the $200,000 Potrero Grande Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park April 12.
Winner of the Palos Verdes Stakes (gr. II) by a game neck two starts back in his stakes debut for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, the 4-year-old Wildcat Heir colt was found a bit lacking when fourth last time in the San Carlos (gr. II). The bay colt was in position while battling between horses in the drive but had no answer for his fast-closing stablemate Sahara Sky , losing by three parts of a length.
Owned by Hollendorfer and Green B. Smith Jr., Wild Dude may appreciate a slight cutback in distance from seven furlongs to 6 1/2 in the Potrero Grande, which is race 8 on the Saturday card with a 4 p.m. PDT scheduled post. Rafael Bejarano has the return ride on Wild Dude, whose three-race win streak came to a halt in the March 8 San Carlos. Wild Dude must spot each of his rivals five pounds while packing 123.
Five members of the Potrero Grande field exit the San Carlos including runner-up Big Macher, who was stepping up last time following a win over state-breds in the Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint. Big Macher, a 4-year-old Beau Genius gelding trained by Richard Baltas for Tachycardia Stables and Tom Mansor, opened a one-length advantage in the stretch of the San Carlos but was caught late by a half-length to Sahara Sky.
Hollendorfer will also saddle multiple stakes winner Zeewat, still in search of his first graded score. Winner of the six-furlong Lost In the Fog Stakes at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 17, Zeewat was away slowly in the San Carlos at 18-1 and ran last at every call in a field of 10. Zeewat, a five-time stakes victor, leads the field in earnings with $361,700 while winning seven of 15 lifetime starts.
Midnight Transfer, a stakes winner from the Carla Gaines barn but without a victory of any kind since January 2012, ran an even sixth in the San Carlos after taking the overland route into the stretch. Joe Talamo will try his hand on the 5-year-old son of Hard Spun owned by Warren Williamson.
Also coming out of the San Carlos is Cyclometer, who vied on the lead at 33-1 in fast fractions before fading to ninth for trainer Bruce Headley.
Mongolian Saturday ships in from Florida for trainer Enebish Ganbat and is likely to set the pace from the rail with Aaron Gryder aboard. Mongolian Stable's 4-year-old Any Given Saturday gelding was third in the Caixa Electronica Stakes at Gulfstream Park March 2.
Returning to Southern California is lightly raced 6-year-old Wine Police, who figures to get a good ground-saving trip from post 2 for new trainer Peter Miller. Kirk and Judy Robison's Speightstown gelding, previously with the Henry Dominguez stable, was second by a neck as the favorite in the Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes at Sunland Park March 23.
$200,000 Potrero Grande Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4 p.m.), 4 & Up, 6 1/2 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Mongolian Saturday (KY), A T Gryder, 118, E Ganbat
2. Wine Police (KY), M Garcia, 118, P Miller
3. Zeewat (PA), M Gutierrez, 118, J Hollendorfer
4. Midnight Transfer (KY), J Talamo, 118, C Gaines
5. Crimson Giant (CA), M Linares, 118, C R Stutts
6. Wild Dude (FL), R Bejarano, 123, J Hollendorfer
7. Big Macher (CA), T Baze, 118, R Baltas
8. Cyclometer (CA), E A Maldonado, 118, B Headley