The Cal National Snow Chief is slated as the ninth race on the card. Grade I winners Romance is Diane, Greg’s Gold and Debonair Joe are among the entries in other stakes on the card. The program includes six stakes with purses ranging from $150,000 to $250,000.
Bob Baffert, the leading Gold Rush trainer with seven victories, will saddle Pirates Deputy. Baffert sent out Da Stoops to win the 1 1/8-mile race in 2006 and Chief Planner in 2003. Pirates Deputy, sixth in the Sham (gr. III) in his last outing, returns to Cal-bred competition, which he handled in winning the Cal Breeders’ Championship Stakes at Santa Anita in late December. He has won two of eight starts for earnings of $386,462, a good portion coming when he ran second as the favorite in the 2006 Delta Jackpot.
The son of Bertrando will break from the five-post under jockey Garrett Gomez, who will be in from Kentucky for the Gold Rush program.
Freesgood, who beat Pirates Deputy last fall in the Cal Cup Juvenile, finished second March 10 in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) in his lone 2007 start to date.
Brave Sun, one of four Jerry Hollendorfer-trained horses on the program, finished sixth in the El Camino Real Derby, but returned to win a 7 1/2-furlong allowance race in open company on April 7. He has won four of five starts since being claimed for $32,000 last November. Espinoza, who has ridden two Snow Chief winners including Da Stoops a year ago, is the leading Gold Rush jockey with 13 wins.
Tap It Light, overmatched in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita two starts back, rebounded to win in open company at 1 1/16 miles on March 18. One of eight horses on the card trained by Doug O’Neill, the son of General Meeting was beaten one length by Pirates Deputy in the Cal Breeders Championship.
Leesider, from the Paddy Gallagher barn, broke his maiden two starts back and is an improving colt. Zoning In was beaten two lengths while finishing third in the El Caminio Real Derby, and C.T. Zee steps up in class after breaking his maiden in his second career start on Feb. 1 at Santa Anita.
Bill Currin, who saddles Freesgood, will try to strike early on the card with 5-year-old mare Memorette in the $150,000 Fran’s Valentine at 1 1/16 miles on the Lakeside Turf Course. A gritty campaigner with four wins in 25 starts and earnings of $746,753, Memorette will have to handle talented 4-year-old filly Nashoba’s Key, impressive winner of her only two starts. Memorette won last year's Fran's Valentine.
Somethingabout Laura, a winner of 11 of 23 starts and $632,020, won the A Gleam Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park in July and returns at the same distance of seven furlongs in the $150,000 B. Thoughtful.
Greg’s Gold, winner of the Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) last summer at Del Mar and second in the Potrero Grande (gr. II) last outing, is the favorite for the $150,000 Tiznow at 7 1/2 furlongs. Graded winner Areyoutalkintome bids to become the 46th California-bred millionaire with a win in the Tiznow. He has $926,254 in earnings and currently ranks 50th on the all-time Cal-bred list.
Jack’s Wild, winner of the Crystal Water Handicap in mid-March at Santa Anita, faces a productive field of veteran campaigners including Epic Power, Super Strut, Running Free and Hockey the General in the $150,000 TVG Khaled at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Romance Is Diane, off form since winning the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) for trainer Mike Mitchell in December, faces talented Tiz Elemental in the $150,000 Melair at 1 1/16 miles.
$250,000 Cal National Snow Chief Stakes, 3-Year-Old California breds, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Freesgood, with Kent Desormeaux, 121
2. The Supply Program, David Flores, 114
3. Zoning In, Joel Rosario, 114
4. C.T. Zee, Aaron Gryder, 114
5. Pirates Deputy, Garrett Gomez, 119
6. Brave Sun, Victor Espinoza, 117
7. Leesider, Alex Solis, 114
8. Tap It Light, Michael Baze, 117