With Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley, Calif., hosting its inaugural Gold Rush Weekend this Saturday and Sunday, fans will be treated to a total of eight stakes races over the two-day festival, along with a number of enticing wagering incentives.
Saturday's 13-race program will include six stakes, highlighted by the Grade 3, $250,000 San Francisco Mile for 3-year-olds and upward on turf. A field of 10 has been assembled, led by G1 winner Bowies Hero and G2 winner River Boyne.
Also prominent on the Saturday program is the $100,000 California Derby, with G2 winner Sparkyville and the Bob Baffert-trained Kingly likely to go off as the top two choices in the wagering.
Other stakes on Saturday include the Golden Poppy and the Camillo Urso on turf for fillies and mares, the Lost in the Fog for sprinters and the California Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. A total of 114 horses have been entered to run on the 13-race card, which equates to an average field size of 8.7 runners per race.
Along with great racing, horseplayers will be treated to good betting value throughout the day on Saturday as well. The most intriguing wager on the Saturday card could be the Golden Pick 6 Jackpot, which will be comprised of races eight through 13. The Golden 6 will have a mandatory payout Saturday, with track officials projecting the Jackpot pool will reach $2 million, providing the wager carries over from Thursday and Friday into the weekend. (Heading into Thursday's seven-race card, the Golden Jackpot pool stands at $314,890).
Also prominent on the wagering menu is the popular Late Pick 4, which will feature a guaranteed $100,000 pool. The San Francisco Mile (Leg One) and the Camilla Urso Stakes (Leg C) comprise half of Saturday's Late 4 sequence. Golden Gate Fields also offers two additional Pick 4's, the traditional Early Pick 4 (races 2-5) and a Mid-Pick 4 (races 6-9) halfway through each racing card.
Additionally, the Early Pick 5 (races 1-5) features a popular, low 14 percent takeout and the Late Pick 5 (races 9-13) is also offered on Saturday's Gold Rush wagering menu.
A number of Southern California-based jockeys and trainers will be traveling north to compete on Saturday. Among those jockeys expected to compete are Rafael Bejarano, Geovanni Franco, Mario Gutierrez, Flavien Prat and Jorge Velez.
Trainers shipping horses north for the Gold Rush include Bob Baffert, Richard Baltas, Jeff Bonde, Phil D'Amato, Keith Desormeaux, Neil Drysdale, Mark Glatt, Jerry Hollendorfer, Ron McAnally, Jeff Mullins and Doug O'Neill.
Another marquee name on the list of traveling horsemen is champion Irish conditioner Dermot Weld, who is regarded as one of the top Irish trainers of all time. The three-time Irish Derby-winning trainer will saddle San Francisco Mile contender Wentwood, who arrived at Golden Gate Fields from Ireland on Tuesday afternoon. Wentwood, a 4-year-old colt, won a handicap race in Ireland in his most recent start on April 7.
Admission gates will open at Golden Gate Fields on both Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. First post time each day is at 12:15 p.m. PT. For tickets or additional information, please visit goldengatefields.com or call (510) 559-7300.
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