Saturday, November 29, 2008


ALBANY -- Dakota Phone surged by pacesetter Gallon in the final yards to win the $75,000 Forty Niner Stakes by a half-length Friday at Golden Gate Fields.

Receiving a strong ride from jockey Frank Alvarado, Dakota Phone rallied from last in a scratch-plagued field of four. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Dakota Phone captured the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up in 1:44.37 on the synthetic Tapeta racing surface.

Gallon, ridden by Kyle Kaenel, took second by three lengths over 4-to-5 favorite Pass the Heat, who was ridden by Russell Baze.

"He's a nice horse to ride," said Alvarado of the 3-year-old gelding Dakota Phone. "He'll do whatever you want. I knew we were walking but I just wanted to stay close to Pass the Heat."

Pass the Heat moved up inside of Gallon to challenge for the lead approaching the half-mile pole but Alvarado didn't panic.

"Russell moved earlier than I wanted to so I just waited a little bit," said Alvarado. "I wanted to be patient. I got a little worried he was going to hang [in the stretch] but he kept digging and got there."

Dakota Phone has won four of his last six races and he paid $6.20 Friday after collecting his first stakes victory.

"We've always thought this horse had a lot of potential and he finally came around," said Hollendorfer of Dakota Phone, who didn't break his maiden until his sixth start.

"I think a lot of times it takes time for things to come together. He's a big, lanky colt. I'm very confident this horse will move right up the (class) ladder if he remains sound."

Dakota Phone is owned in partnership by Hollendorfer and Halo Farms. The Forty Niner victory was worth $45,000 and increased Dakota Phone's earnings to $195,280.

Racing continues at Golden Gate Fields Saturday. Post time is 12:45 p.m.

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