Looking for his first victory since last year's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Buzzards Bay kept the pressure on the speedy Trickey Trevor from the outset and then pulled away in the stretch to win the $150,000 All American Handicap (gr. III) Monday at Golden Gate Fields.
The Florida-bred Buzzards Bay, who had lost five in a row since winning California's most important 3-year-old race in April, picked up his first win for owner Gary Broad, who purchased the chestnut son of Marco Bay at auction from Fog City Stable for $725,000 in July.
Trainer Ron Ellis, who said prior to the race that he would like to run Buzzards Bay in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), felt the 4-year-old needed a confidence builder after a series of puzzling efforts since last fall, most recently a dull fourth-place showing in the Sunshine Millions Classic Jan. 28.
"That was one race too late," said Ellis. "That's what we expected in the Sunshine Millions. This type of race can be a confidence builder. It's nice to see him bounce back and run the way he could."
The colt got just what he needed in the All American. With Jose Valdivia Jr. riding him for the first time, they sat just off the pace of 3-2 choice Trickey Trevor, who went fast – :22 4/5, :46 and 1:09 1/5 – as Buzzards Bay continued to pressure. They took command coming out of the final turn when Trickey Trevor began to tire and led by two lengths at the eighth pole.
Buzzards Bay, who paid $6, $3.40, and $3 as the second favorite in the compact field of six, was never challenged through the lane, drawing off to a four-length win in a time of 1:47 for the 1 1/8-mile distance on a fast track.
Melanyhasthepapers ($6.20, $3.40), Francisco Duran aboard, had a poor break and then bumped repeatedly with the Brazilian-bred Molengao in mid-stretch while making his bid and might have been closer otherwise. The runner-up finished three-quarters of a length in front of another Brazilian bred, Ace Blue, ridden by Chad Schvaneveldt.
Then came Molengao, Greeley's Galaxy, and Trickey Trevor. Adreamisborn was scratched. The struggling Greeley's Galaxy, last year's Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner, didn't show improvement with a switch to blinkers for trainer Warren Stute. He stalked the pace on the outside of Buzzards Bay for six furlongs and faded.
Buzzards Bay, who banked $82,500 for the win, improved his record to 4-1-3 in 14 starts and earnings of $816,971. Buzzards Bay has now won both of his starts at Golden Gate Fields. He captured the Golden Gate Derby more than 13 months ago.
"Buzzards Bay was a little too good today," said Russell Baze, the rider of Trickey Trevor. The 7-year-old also faded after a heated pace battle in the Sunshine Millions Classic.
"My horse ran as hard as he could for as far as he could," Baze said. "Buzzards Bay kept the pressure on us until we folded. When you're (on) a speed horse like this horse, you're always a target. They know if they let you go out there by yourself, they're not going to catch you. He relaxes fine when nobody's looking him in the eye, but he needs to learn to relax when horses come up to him."