Gig Harbor Repeats Allowance Win In Oakland Stakes

Gig Harbor Repeats Allowance Win In Oakland Stakes

     Just as he did in winning an allowance race on Nov. 18, Gig Harbor shot to the front at the start and never looked back Saturday while scoring a dominating victory in the $53,000 Oakland Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

    Gig Harbor, breaking from post position one under jockey Frank Alvarado, took command immediately from 6-5 favorite Ain’t No Other and maintained a clear lead through fractions of 22.56 and 45.31.  

    Gig Harbor increased his advantage over Ain’t No Other in the stretch and won the Oakland by 2 1/2 lengths in an impressive 1:09.07, the fastest clocking for six furlongs at the fall meeting.  Shrug took second by 1 1/4 lengths over a tiring Ain’t No Other.

    Gig Harbor, trained by Steve Specht, clocked a time of 1:09.26 when he won the allowance race by 3 1/2 lengths.  Gig Harbor, who broke from the outside post that day, broke from post one for the first time in his career Saturday.

     “Steve was a little worried about the post but I told him, ‘don’t worry about it,’” said Alvarado.  “He broke like a bullet.  Steve told me to be patient and save something for the end.  I was surprised there wasn’t more pressure.  At the three-eighths pole, when I didn’t see anybody, I said, ‘it’s over.’”

     The Oakland is the second stakes victory for Gig Harbor, who captured the Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields last year.   Owned by Daniel O’Neill of San Francisco, Gig Harbor earned $30,300 Saturday and has made $143,300 in nine career starts.

     “I wish we were running for $150,000 or $200,000 because he’s doing so good,” said O’Neill, a longtime horse owner and one of the most popular figures at the racetrack.  “Nobody was going to beat him today.”

     Gig Harbor paid $6.60 as the second choice in the betting.      

     “There is an open allowance sprint in the book in early January,” said Specht when asked about Gig Harbor’s next assignment.  “We’d like to run him in the San Francisco Mile in April.”

     The Grade 3 $100,000 San Francisco Mile, a turf race for 3-year-olds and up, will be run April 27.

     Sunday Is Closing Day And Dollar Day – Golden Gate Fields concludes its 2012 fall meeting Sunday with a nine-race program.  Post time is 12:45 p.m. and the track is offering $1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 programs, $1 beers, $1 hot dogs, and $1 sodas.  Fans call also view all the NFL action as Golden Gate Fields broadcasts the games via the Sunday Ticket.

     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.