Multiple grade II winner Spring House ventures to Albany, Calif., for the first time in his 40-race career as the likely favorite in the $100,000 Golden Gate Fields Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) May 30.
Trained by Julio Canani, the 7-year-old R.D. Hubbard homebred rallied for second in the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) in his last start. He finished three-quarters of a length behind front-running Midships in the 1 3/4-mile test on closing day of the Santa Anita meet April 19.
The Southern California-based Chester House gelding is one of only two in the nine-horse field of older horses to have won at the Golden Gate Turf distance of 11 furlongs, taking the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) last summer. A true stayer, Spring House also has a trio of graded tallies at 12 furlongs--the San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) this year and last, and the Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita in October 2007.
Russell Baze will be aboard Spring House, and they leave from post 3 under equal weight of 123 pounds. Spring House owns an 8-6-11 career mark from 40 starts with earnings of $881,284.
Also making the trip north is the French-bred Obrigado, who finished third in the San Juan Capistrano. Trained by Neil Drysdale for Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso, the 6-year-old gelding has been a long time between wins. While a lifetime earner of $606,504, Obrigado has lost 14 races in a row since capturing the 2007 San Luis Obispo.
Ordination is the second horse in the field with a victory at 11 furlongs, that coming as the odds-on choice in his most recent start, an optional claiming allowance heat over the Golden Gate sod May 17. Owned and co-bred by Catesby W. Clay and conditioned by Eoin Harty, the 4-year-old Irish-bred chestnut son of Fantastic Light has just four starts in his career and is making his stakes debut.
Yacht Spotter should provide a solid pace. The 5-year-old Slewdledo gelding nearly stole the San Francisco Mile (gr. IIT) in his last start April 25, opening up a 2 1/2-length lead in the lane before being caught by Mr Napper Tandy at the wire and losing by a head at odds of 10-1. Trained by Frank Lucarelli, Yacht Spotter has never been the distance but is a true Golden Gate course specialist with five wins and three seconds in 10 starts.
$100,000 Golden Gate Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:15 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Shem (KY), F T Alvarado, S Specht
2. Ordination (IRE), D G Lopez, E G Harty
3. Spring House, R A Baze, J C Canani
4. Sir Dave (FL), C P Schvaneveldt, J Carava
5. Yacht Spotter (KY), A Bisono, F Lucarelli
6. Porfido (CHI), B Blanc, R J Frankel
7. Court Rule (CA), F Duran, J Godinez
8. Lockford (CA), W Antongeorgi III, J Hollendorfer
9. Obrigado (FR), J A Garcia, N D Drysdale
Each carries 123 pounds.