San Francisco Mile and Gold Rush Weekend

26 Apr

An unprecedented stakes six-pack is on tap Saturday at Golden Gate Fields, highlighted by the $250,000 San Francisco Mile (G3-T) over the Albany lawn. A perfect storm was aligning until the Golden 6 Jackpot was scooped by a single winning ticket on Friday, paying a whopping $383,167.30 to one lucky winner.

That takes a little wind out of the sails for those hoping to have a go at nearly $400,000 in dead money Saturday, but the high quality 13-race card should ease some of the pain. I had begun to look at the Pick 6 sequence, starting with race 8, but now that the Jackpot dough is gone, I’m looking mostly at the 10th a featured SF Mile.

A pair of multiple graded stakes winners from SoCal, #1 Bowies Hero (5/2) and #10 River Boyne (3/1), bookend the field of 10, in which only one other horse – #4 Le Ken (5/1) – has even placed in a graded event. This would seem to give them a significant class advantage over this field and class usually finds a way to win on turf.

Of the two, I’m leaning toward River Boyne who boasts a 50% win percentage on the grass (7 for 14) and at this distance (3 for 6). While Bowie’s Hero has probably faced better company, he’s entering off a 251-day layoff and it’s always hard to tell when he’s going to fire his best shot. He also gets Giovanni Franco in the saddle, who’s never ridden him before.

River Boyne has also shown his best coming in second off a layoff, which he is today. The last three times River Boyne has raced second off a layoff he’s improved his Brisnet Speed Figure by 10, 10 and 6 points. He also gets Flavian Prat back in the saddle, who’s ridden him to four victories and a second the last eight times he’s climbed aboard.

Of the horses stepping up in class to challenge this pair, I think #2 Blitzkrieg (6/1) might have a tactical advantage with his early speed and inside post position. Assuming #5 Many Roses (15/1) sets the pace as he did in the last two editions of this race, Blitzkrieg might get a garden stalking trip off his flank. He’s been a new horse since being claimed by the Doug O’Neill barn and comes in with a three-race winning streak in tow, albeit at 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill at Santa Anita. He did break his maiden over this distance in a 50K claimer at Del Mar.

The other potential upsetter I like is #9 Souter (6/1) who enters in top form for the Mark Glatt Stable. He enters of a pair of wins in the optional claiming ranks, two-turning at Santa Anita, and boasts 9 exacta finishes with four wins in 13 starts on turf.

Lastly, I have to respect Ireland’s leading trainer Dermot Weld shipping #5 Wentwood (12/1) over for this race. It’s hard to imagine his connections are coming over just for a holiday. Given most of the majority in here haven’t hit the board in a graded or group event, this gelding isn’t completely in over his head here.

The Verdict:

I have a feeling the classy horses are going to perform well in this one, but I am going to try to get Bowie’s Hero out of the Exacta and key River Boyne over my two price horses in hopes of getting a decent return.

$10 Exacta – #10 River Boyne (3/1) over #2 Blitzkrieg (6/1) and #9 Souter (6/1)
$5 Exacta – #10 River Boyne (3/1) over #5 Wentwood (12/1)

$25 total

Best of luck with your picks this Saturday at Golden Gate.

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