Sunday, May 13, 2012


ALBANY -- Stoney Fleece, who finished behind Chips All In in a pair of turf stakes at Santa Anita, turned the tables on his Southern California rival Saturday at Golden Gate Fields when he got up in the last jump to win the $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes by a nose.

Chips All In defeated Stoney Fleece by 1 3/4 lengths while winning the Eddie Logan Stakes on Dec. 31 and by 2 1/2 lengths while capturing the Pasadena Stakes on March 23.
Stoney Fleece finished third in the Eddie Logan and seventh in the Pasadena, which featured a blanket finish.

Stoney Fleece, ridden for the first time by Kevin Krigger, pressured pacesetting Chips All In from the start in the 1 1/16-mile Alcatraz and surged in the final yards to win the turf feature for 3-year-olds by the narrowest of margins. Chips All In, the 3-2 favorite ridden by Aaron Gryder, finished 4 1/2 lengths in front of the show horse, Longview Drive, as the Alcatraz was strictly a two-horse race.

Stoney Fleece, trained by John Sadler, earned his second stakes victory and his fifth win in 12 career starts. Krigger said he wasn’t sure if Stoney Fleece had prevailed in the extremely tight finish.

“(Gryder) knew I nailed him but I thought it was iffy,” said Krigger. “I’m glad he knew because it made me feel a lot better galloping back.”

“(Krigger) thought I had (held on) but I told him I didn’t,” said Gryder, who, although frustrated by the loss, added that Chips All In gave it his all. “He battled back fine. I’m pleased with him.”

Krigger said he told Sadler that Stoney Fleece would upset Chips All In in the Alcatraz.

“I told John I’m going to make the difference,” said Krigger. “I’m glad I was able to keep my word.”

Chips All In tried to make a liar out of Krigger by opening up a two-length advantage in midstretch but Stoney Fleece refused to give up and gradually ran down his rival.

“I knew Aaron had a lot of horse because we were both going pretty easy,” said Krigger. “He was kind of hard to reel in at the end but I’ll take the nostril. I never lost confidence in my horse. I knew to just keep riding because I knew he was going to keep trying to the wire.”

Stoney Fleece, owned by Gary and Cecil Barber, earned $45,000 for the victory and has made $291,860 in his dozen races.

Racing continues at Golden Gate Fields Sunday with a Dollar Day program that will feature $1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 programs, $1 hot dogs, $1 beers, and $1 sodas and a free live concert by The Cheeseballs. Post time is 1:15 p.m.

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