Golden Gate Fields has not raced since March 29 after being shut down by the Alameda County Public Health Department on April 2. Last week, Golden Gate was able to gain approval from the Department of Public Health to reopen the meet Thursday. Horseplayers will find a nice surprise when racing resumes.
The “Golden State Six,” Golden Gate’s $.20 minimum Pick Six wager with a jackpot provision, has a carryover of $398,294 from March 29 that will be part of a mandatory payout Thursday.
Gulfstream Park is the only other daytime track running Thursday, and by the time the Golden State Six wager comes into play (it starts in the fourth race with an estimated post time of 2:12 PT), it figures to capture the attention and majority of wagering dollars of horseplayers. The track estimates the Golden State Six pool could add $2 million in new money.
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Here is a quick look at the sequence:
Race 4: Fitness will be an issue all day with horses returning from a minimum six-week vacation. Waverly Way cuts back to a sprint off a series of routes and gets plenty of suspect speed to set her up. Real Keeper and Sarah’s Smirk look like the ones she will have to run down.
Race 5: The turf course at Golden Gate is put to use for the first time since September. Tactical speed has been advantageous over the course as a general rule. Three-year-old Constitutionaffair should get a nice pace-pressing trip. Older Southern California class droppers Cape Point and Strugar are the ones to beat.
Race 6: Possible Pick Six single? Jenpirestrikesback runs very well fresh and drops into a restricted claimer. Diamondsnchampagne is the one to catch and the other logical contender.
Race 7: Odessa does her best work on turf and gets back on her preferred surface for high percentage trainer Jonathan Wong. Non-win type Moonshine Annie figures on the drop. Say It With Roses is a dropper with speed who owns a win over the course.
Race 8: This is a spread race. Must-use horses include Stand in Your Love, Beautiful Babe, Why the Long Face, and Breakfast Ball.
Race 9: Course specialist Conquest Sabre Cat is in good form and will be happy to get back on turf. King Eddie figures to press the pace and get first run on the closers. Eldritch should finally get the legit pace needed to set up his late run.
A $.20 Golden State Six ticket using all of the runners mentioned above would cost $129.60.
Santa Anita resumes Friday
Entries were being taken Tuesday for Friday’s scheduled resumption of racing at Santa Anita.
However, the Arcadia track was still waiting for formal approval from the Los Angeles County Department of Health after the county announced Tuesday it was extending its stay-at-home poiicy through the end of July.
Santa Anita, which has a nin-race card planned, said in a statement: “We remain optimistic about running on Friday.”
Extra protocols are being put in place when racing returns. The most obvious to those watching satellite feeds? Horses at Santa Anita will now be saddled in the receiving barn, not in the saddling paddock that has been used for many decades.
The horses will be led to the walking ring by personnel from each stable, where the jockeys will get aboard. The horses will be turned over to track personnel to be led to the track, and after each race the horses will be led back through the paddock by track employees to the receiving barn and returned to the stable grooms.
Churchill meet finally opens
The Churchill Downs meet was supposed to open April 24, but the coronavirus pandemic not only postponed the Kentucky Derby to Sept. 5 but delayed the opening until Saturday. Entries were being drawn on Tuesday.
With New York racing still shut down, jockeys Joel Rosario, Jose Ortiz, Javier Castellano and John Velasquez will be at Churchill. Joe Talamo left California for Oaklawn Park and is now based in Kentucky, while Rafael Bejarano has also moved his tack from California.