San Francisco Mile (Grade III)

4/29/2017 Golden Gate Fields-Race 7

The San Francisco Mile-$100,000—Grade III

1 Mile on Turf for Three-Year-Olds & Upward

Post Time: 3:45 P.M. PST

Analysis by Michael Patricks

We take a break from the three-year-old landscape this week and go west to Golden Gate Fields for the San Francisco Mile.  The Grade III drew a cast of seven and is the seventh race on the card (serving as the fourth leg of the Pick-6 and second leg of the late Pick-4).  Out to defend his title is the morning line favorite Alert Bay at 8/5.  Alert Bay was tremendously game in last year’s installment, prevailing narrowly in a blanket finish over Gabriel Charles and Bal a Bali.  There’s little doubt Alert Bay can repeat but he will have to earn it since this field is short on numbers, yet long on talent.

A reminder, we are only one week away from the 143rd Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs.  The race is scheduled to go off at 3:46 p.m. next Saturday.  Every effort will be made to have the Kentucky Derby write up posted on Friday morning so racing fans can get a jump on their collective handicapping.  The Run for the Roses is setting up to be quite competitive on paper and it will be interesting to see how the post-position draw impacts the race.  The draw for the Kentucky Derby is Wednesday afternoon and will be shown live on the Kentucky Derby Facebook page as well as Twitter.  TVG may broadcast the draw as well so be sure to check your local cable listings.  With that in mind, let’s put the Derby cue in the rack for a few days and get back to racing’s venerable stalwarts on grass this weekend.

1-G.G. Ryder 5/1 ML- Alert Bay has gotten the best of him all four times that can be seen from his past performances, so that’s no doubt a logical impediment from the get go.  G.G.’s first start under Irving Orozco saw him break through with a victory in a four-horse field, where he was able to sit back, make one run and clean up on the embattled leaders.  Orozco tried the same tactics in G.G.’s last start, but was unable to make the headway required after falling too far back off a slower tempo.  G.G. is versatile and just as capable on grass as he is synthetic.  If Alert Bay fails to fire and the quick turnaround on Patentar proves to be his undoing, you’ve got a logical alternative in this corner.  He’ll give a solid account of himself as usual but the top prize appears to be a bit out of his reach; love his draw, but envision this Cal-Bred to have a bronze medal around his neck when he heads back to the test barn after the race; use underneath.

2-Stryker Phd 12/1 ML- Have been a fan of this eight-year-old gelded son of Bertrando for quite some time.  On his best day, Stryker Phd has shown the ability to unleash a devastating kick and mow down the competition while doing his best Silky Sullivan impersonation. There’s something special about horses like Stryker Phd as in their best moments they really do take our breath away as fans of this great game.  Unfortunately, 2017 has been about as patchy for him as it has been for the San Francisco Giants thus far, leaving the connections in each camp feeling a bit threadbare and seeking answers in the interim.  Stryker’s win in the Berkeley last November was valiant as he displayed great courage to rally into moderate splits and get his head down on the wire.  However, he’s been fairly listless from that point, showing a third and two fourths in small-field allowance spots at Golden Gate Fields since.  Alert Bay, Star Student, G.G. Ryder and Many Roses have all beaten him recently and it appears he may be doing his Alan Ladd impression with the closing credits to his racing career forthwith.  Father time remains undefeated and unless his connections are able to push the setting son back into the fading San Francisco sky line for one more day, I’m afraid ‘Stryker will be coming in as anything but hot while it’s piled high and deep on his shoulders; pass.

3-Patentar (Fr) 5/2 ML- Got back on track last Sunday in the Santa Anita lid-lifter, inheriting the lead in a paceless field and prevailing in a steady drive to the finish over Frank Conversation and Up With the Birds.  Patentar wasn’t asked for his life inside the final quarter-mile and thus should have plenty left in the tank with the six-day turnaround.  He was pretty competitive last summer in a triumvirate of Grade II races at Santa Anita and Del Mar.  Getting beaten a couple of lengths by Ashleyluvssugar, Metaboss, and the Midnight Storm’s of the world means he has a big chance against the likes of G.G. Ryder and Alert Bay without question.  Sometimes an older horse breaks through after a bit of a drought and can put a nice string of victories together with renewed wind in their sails.  The arrow points upward towards a buy sign in the San Francisco Mile off his recent start since he had seldom frequented the winner’s circle before that race.  You’d be foolish to not have this French-bred in your calculation as he’s unquestionably kneaded to make the dough rise; the narrow call.

4-Many Roses 8/1 ML- Ran his most disappointing race of 2017 after being headed at the first call so you can reasonably expect he will be on the engine to take them as far as he can.  This is Many Roses’ graded-stakes debut and to his defense has shown a fondness for the lawn as he has won half of his starts on the sod.  May Roses is running out of conditions and thus must run either in a non-winners of three races other than (N3X), open allowance, or show up in ambitious spots like this unless his connections want to offer him down south for a high priced tag.  This Cal-bred has certainly outrun his modest expectations and seems to have a very high compete level, but this a very salty cast who is going to give him all he can handle and then some when the “race within the race” takes shape.  If he can relax and finish you should find yourself handsomely rewarded, but if you’re truly looking to be adorned by many roses I suggest you come back next Saturday for a better wagering alternative; will need career best.

5-Camino Del Paraiso 8/1 ML- Always been a big fan of this one and like Many Roses he has outrun his humble beginnings from his embryonic stage after being a $5,000 yearling purchase in August of 2015.  He and jockey Rickey Gonzalez have developed a nice rapport with each other over the last three races and it appears that synthetic and turf racing are what he does best.  This will be Camino’s first run of the season and it comes in obviously a very difficult spot.  He’s been working quite well at Golden Gate and hasn’t missed a beat in the morning.  His name in Spanish translates to Path of Paradise for those scoring at home and he has shown he knows the Camino de ganadores circulo (path to the winner’s circle) already in his brief career three times.  Understand why Gonzalez ends up here in that this one’s future seems to be in front of him while G.G. Ryder’s appear to be largely behind him.  Believe the best is yet to come from him but a minor share appears most likely in his forecast on Saturday; bit player.

6-Alert Bay 8/5 ML- Deserves to be the morning line favorite with his class, credentials and defending title to sport from last year’s edition.  He rarely runs a bad race but he’s no lead pipe cinch to repeat on Saturday.  Alert Bay ran huge off the layoff and left G.G. Ryder in the dust, commencing their bids on the front runners at or near the same time in their prior effort.  His last start on turf came at Del Mar against Cal-breds where he was outfinished by Patriots Rule, Ambitious Brew and Boozer, ending up an out finished fourth at the wire.  He tends to do his best running near the front end so I’d expect him to follow Many Roses out of the gate and sit right off his hip up the backstretch, kept in the clear by Hernandez.  I’ve got nothing but respect for this horse but 8/5 is too short a price for a horse that in my view at age six is far more likely to regress off his 94 Beyer speed figure off the bench than he is to improve on it.  Nevertheless, he has to be included in your horizontal and vertical sequences if you want to have a real chance at cashing your tickets; big time player.

7-Star Student 6/1 ML- He’s a competitor and I’ve always been fond of this horse after having cashed a few wagers on him but I’m not exactly enthusiastic about his chances in this event.  He’s made a lion’s share of his money in his career on synthetic, so at first blush the transition to turf seems logical.  However, he’s 0-for-5 in the win column on grass and he absolutely seems to be much better suited as a late running sprinter than he appears to be a top miler.  Now he’s stepping up into Grade III waters and draws to the far outside headed into the first turn.  His trainer is ice cold in 2017 at 1-for-28 and while I’m sure he will heat up at some point, it’s all but a virtual certainty to me that 1-for-29 is looming after the seventh race on Saturday.  I’ll be looking to play this one on the cut back in distance whenever that day comes, but until then you’re not going to be baiting me into this one’s corner as a mere 6/1 conveyance when I feel slapped in the face with certainty that he’ll be a distinct underlay relative to his actual chances; El Pass-o, Pass-o Robles, Pass-a-dena.

Selections: 3-6-1-5