Baffert’s Surfcup Wins $100,000 Silky Sullivan In Front Of 10,009

Baffert’s Surfcup Wins $100,000 Silky Sullivan In Front Of 10,009

     “As advertised,” said jockey Russell Baze after guiding 4-5 favorite Surfcup to a front-running victory in the $100,000 Silky Sullivan Stakes Sunday at Golden Gate Fields in front of a crowd of 10,009.

     Surfcup, a 3-year-old colt trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, improved to 3-for-3 on turf after winning the one-mile Silky Sullivan by a length over 6-5 second choice Gervinho.  Tebows Big Play, the third choice at 8-1, finished third to complete a chalky $1 trifecta that paid $8.70.

     “Bob (trainer Baffert) sent the horse up ready and all I had to do was be a good passenger,” said Baze.  “He’s a nice little horse to ride.  If Bejarano (jockey Rafael) doesn’t want to ride this horse next time I can make myself available.”

     Southern California-based Bejarano rode Surfcup in his previous three races and guided the horse to a victory in the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park in his most recent start on April 27.  Bejarano had several riding commitments at Hollywood Sunday, which gave Baze the opportunity to ride Surfcup in the Silky Sullivan.

     “I want to thank Bob for letting me ride him,” said Baze, who escorted Surfcup through soft fractions of 24.68, 49.06, and 1:13.90 despite getting some company on the front end from 25-1 longshot Heat Streaker.  “He was very relaxed.  I never had any concerns.  It just felt like I had a lot of horse on tap anytime I wanted to ask him.  And when I did ask him, he just accelerated away from them.”

     Surfcup completed a mile on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:37.54 and paid $3.80 after recording his fourth win in seven career starts.  Surfcup earned $60,000 for the Silky Sullivan victory and the payday boosted his bankroll to $335,800.

     Surfcup, a bay son of Unusual Heat, was bred by his owner, Donald R. Dizney.

     Gervinho, who was making his first start since finishing a close fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita, ran a solid second off the bench for trainer Carla Gaines and owner Keith Brackpool.  

     “It was a slow pace and there was nothing I could do,” said jockey Victor Espinoza, who rode Gervinho.  “He ran great.  Hopefully he comes back good and we’ll be ready for the next one.”

     The final week of Golden Gate Fields’ 2012-2013 winter/spring meeting begins Thursday with a seven-race card.  Post time is 12:45 p.m.

     Golden Gate Fields is a Stronach Group company, North America's leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator.  The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness.  The company is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its Adena Springs operation.  The company owns and operates AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service.  The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.