Gary Tanaka's Sudan looks for his first U.S. victory in the Golden Gate Fields Turf Stakes.

Gary Tanaka's Sudan looks for his first U.S. victory in the Golden Gate Fields Turf Stakes.

Matt Goins

Sudan Looks For Success on U.S. Soil

The Bobby Frankel trainee, who has done well in France and Italy, will try GG Fields.

A group I winner in Italy and group placed on several occasions in France, Gary Tanaka’s Sudan will tackle seven rivals in the $100,000 Golden Gate Fields Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) May 31. All of the older horses will carry 123 pounds.

Bred in Ireland by Dayton Investments, Sudan was a consistent money earner in France while running for previous owner Ecurie Wildenstein. The son of Peintre Celebre is a distance specialist, which should serve him well in the 1 1/8-mile Turf Stakes. While winning just once in France, he was second twice and third on three different occasions – all in group stakes company – including missing by only two lengths in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I) as a 3-year-old in 2006.

Last summer at Milan, Sudan earned his second career victory by taking the Gran Premio di Milano (Ity-I) by a nose under Frankie Dettori. After Tanaka took control, he brought the chestnut horse to the states and handed him to trainer Bobby Frankel. Sudan made his U.S. and 5-year-old debut in the Feb. 23 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita, finishing last. But Sudan improved in his next start, finishing third in the 1 1/2-mile Jim Murray Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood May 10. The cutback in distance and competition should serve him well here.

Sudan is out of the Woodman mare Sarabande. He has earned $391,323 in 14 starts. David Flores will ride.

One horse coming into the Turf Stakes in good form is Dan Capen and Bongo Racing Stable’s Uffizi. The 5-year-old El Prado gelding made his graded stakes debut in his 24th career start May 3 at Hollywood, and had a good showing. Uffizi was third, just 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner in the 1 1/16-mile Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT), rallying from off the pace to challenge late.

Uffizi had fair success while running mostly in allowance company the last couple years for trainer Fred Seitz. After being acquired in a private sale, he was given to trainer Mike Mitchell. Uffizi was off the board in two starts and eventually dropped into the claiming ranks at the end of 2007. It seems the Kentucky-bred found confidence through those events, as he compiled a 3-2-0 record in six Santa Anita turf races.

“At the time, I was kind of disappointed in him,” Mitchell said. “He ran a couple bad races, so I gave him a break. We thought he was a little on the common side. But sometimes when a horse is a little over his head and you stick him in for a tag, they do well and then get brave. It sounds funny, but I think that’s what happened here.

“I think he can handle this company, we’re just trying to figure out the right distance for him. It seems that he’s coming into his own.”

Uffizi, who is out of the Gulch mare Magic Melody, will be ridden by Russell Baze.

Everest Stables’ homebred Plug Me In enters off a $100,000 allowance-optional claiming victory May 2 on the Hollywood turf. The 5-year-old Hold for Gold gelding has earned three of his five career wins on the grass, but has never been close when attempting nine furlongs. The Marcelo Polanco trainee will have Alonso Quinonez in the irons.

$100,000 Golden Gate Fields Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:35 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Top This and That (CA), 123, William Antongeorgi III
2. Uffizi (KY), 123, Russell A. Baze
3. Sudan (IRE), 123, David Romero Flores
4. Amazin Blue (KY), 123, Frank T. Alvarado
5. We Brothers (KY), 123, Catalino Martinez
6. Fire Wood (KY), 123, Alex Bisono
7. Plug Me In (KY), 123, Alonso Quinonez
8. Fitz Flag (ARG), 123, G. F. Almeida