Peter Redekop's Alert Bay got all he could ask for in his Nov. 6 allowance prep for the Seabiscuit Handicap (gr. IIT), edging rival G. G. Ryder by a nose in a 1 1/16-mile turf event at Golden Gate Fields.
Video: Race 6 (ALW) at GG on 11/6/15
But it wasn't a typical turf allowance at the Bay Area track. All six runners entered were stakes winners and four were graded victors, including Alert Bay, last-out winner in the City of Hope (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park.
LAMARRA: Alert Bay Rallies to Take City of Hope Mile
G. G. Ryder, a two-time grade III winner this year, was game throughout, leading under constant pressure from 1-5 favorite Alert Bay through fractions of :24.59, :50.06, and 1:14.25. The top pair continued their duel into the stretch, but jockey Russell Baze and Alert Bay found just enough in the final strides, prevailing to win by a nose.
"They don't get any tougher than that," winning trainer Blaine Wright said. "We're lucky he gutted it out today. It was a tough race on our horse. We came out a winner. It could have gone either way."
Baze and the 4-year-old City Zip gelding hit the wire in 1:43.75 on turf rated firm.
"I would have been happier if he was a little more relaxed early, but he was fresh and wanted to go out there and take it to (G. G. Ryder)," the Hall of Fame rider said. "With the rail out as far as it is, it had to have been favoring speed a little bit. G. G. (Ryder) always is a tough horse to get by. I didn't mind putting a little pressure on him, hoping we'd weaken him enough to get by him. We just barely did."
The winner paid $2.60, $2.10, and $2.10 across the board as the commanding favorite. G. G. Ryder returned $3.40 and $2.20, while Pepper Crown 1 3/4 lengths back, delivered $6 to show.
The victory moved Alert Bay's lifetime record to 11-4-2 from 20 starts, with earnings of $980,235. If all goes well, his next start will be in the Nov. 27 Seabiscuit at Del Mar, also at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
"We thought he'd need a race," Wright said. "We certainly got our prep race in. He was blowing good after the race. He had to reach down and run real hard. This should set us up real nice. I'm glad we got to run him and I'm glad we came out on top."