Up-and-Coming California-Breds Face Off at Golden Gate Fields
Although most of the attention this week will be focused on the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, if you’re looking for up-and-coming three-year-olds that could have an impact on the second half of the season, you might want to keep an eye on what transpires at Golden Gate Fields this Sunday.Two stakes races for California-bred three-year-olds are on the agenda, with the first being the $100,000 Campanile Stakes for fillies going a mile on turf. It’s a small field with just six starters, but a couple of them have run well against tougher company at Santa Anita, including the expected favorite Pulpit Rider. Trained by Mike Puype, the daughter of Lucky Pulpit won the California Cup Oaks on turf Santa Anita two starts back and most recently finished a solid fourth in the Providencia Stakes (gr. III) over the same course. Jockey Corey Nakatani is traveling from Santa Anita to retain the mount.
Also shipping in from Santa Anita is Inland Empire, who won an off-the-turf maiden race going a mile against state-breds last month before finishing sixth in a turf allowance race. The jump into stakes company is technically a rise in class, but Inland Empire fits well on speed figures and should be one of the main players. Getting Sideways, never out of the exacta in four starts at Golden Gate Fields, is among the local runners with a chance.
The second stakes race of the day is the $100,000 Silky Sullivan Stakes, also at a mile on turf but open to colts and geldings. With eleven entrants and no clear standout on paper, the race should be significantly more competitive than the Campanile Stakes. The locally-based Aigle won his debut going a mile and a sixteenth over the Golden Gate Fields turf course earlier this month, and the son of Unusual Heat can be a player if he steps forward in his second career start.
However, he’ll be facing some accomplished rivals, including the stakes-placed Pyscho Dar, runner-up in the California Cup Turf Sprint Stakes at Santa Anita in January. Pyscho Dar will be stretching out in distance, but routinely posts BRIS speed figures in the 81-86 range, solid figures for this class level. Cono could only finish fifth in the California Cup Turf Sprint, but has come back since then with a couple of strong runs against open company in allowance races, including a close second behind the well-regarded Masked, who runs in the William Walker Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Post time for the first race of the day is 3:10 p.m. Eastern.