Post time: 12:45 p.m.
Feature race: $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes on Saturday
Feature simulcast races: Grade 2, $200,000 Los Alamitos Futurity; Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct — both Saturday
Update: Bettor Trip Nick, who has three wins and a second in four starts sprinting — including a fast victory in the Golden Nugget Stakes — stretches out to 1 mile in the Gold Rush Stakes. Eleven 2-year-olds were entered Wednesday, with Ajourneytofreedom an also-eligible in a race limited to 10 starters. Only two of Bettor Trip Nick’s opponents — Absolute Weapon and Jedi Knight — have won as many as two races, and Music Icon, Champers and Ajourneytofreedom haven’t won any. Final Final, Rager, Call Me Peppy, Indian Peak and Sacred Rider complete the entrants. After the Golden Nugget Stakes, trainer Bill Delia said he wanted to keep Bettor Trip Nick in sprints, but that opinion obviously changed. “There’s no other race for him,” Delia said. “I worked him a couple of five-eighths (of a mile) and he galloped out seven-eighths really well. We think he can get a distance but we don’t know until we really try.” With his keen sprinter’s speed, Bettor Trip Nick certainly is quicker than his opponents. “They have to catch him,” Delia said. “Anybody tries to go with him, they might burn themselves out.” … Mugaritz received a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 93 for his authoritative 3½-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap. “That’s definitely a performance that looks like he’s come up to the next level,” trainer Jonathan Wong said. The figure probably deserved to be higher considering that the final time for 1 1/16 miles of 1:42.40 was just 0.25 of a second from the track record and that the margin of victory over Ohio was so great. Ohio routinely records higher Beyers, including a career-best 100. Unfortunately for Mugaritz, extending his six-race winning streak likely will require a road trip as the next stakes event for him at Golden Gate Fields is the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile in late April. “We’re looking at our options right now,” Wong said. “He’s very versatile and he’s handled everything we’ve thrown at him.” During his winning streak, Mugaritz has won on grass, dirt and Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic surface.
Elsewhere: Anneau d’Or, the best 2-year-old at Golden Gate Fields, drew the rail in a field of just four for the Los Alamitos Futurity. Trained by Blaine Wright and ridden by Juan Hernandez, Anneau d’Or won his debut by 8 lengths on grass at Golden Gate Fields, then finished second — losing by just a head — in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on dirt. His opponents in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile dirt race are Wrecking Crew, who finished third in the Juvenile (3¼ lengths behind Anneau d’Or) and the Bob Baffert-trained Thousand Words and High Velocity. Thousand Words won his only start in a sprint, and High Velocity is 2-for-2 sprinting. Baffert has won all five previous Los Alamitos Futurities. … Haskell Invitational and Florida Derby winner Maximum Security, who was disqualified from victory in the Kentucky Derby, heads a field of 11 in the Cigar Mile. Among his opponents for the one-turn race are fellow 3-year-old Spun to Run, who won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile; Whitmore, third and second in the past two Breeders’ Cup Sprints, and Kelso Handicap winner Pat On the Back. Also Saturday at Aqueduct are two Grade 2, $250,000 events for 2-year-olds: the Demoiselle for fillies and the Remsen.
— Larry Stumes
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