Bear Fan, Miss America showcase different talents
After taking a shot against the boys, Isa Firecracker returns to face fillies and mares in the $75,000 Bear Fan Stakes on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. The Bear Fan, race 10 on a 12-race card, is for statebreds going six furlongs on the Tapeta.
Also on Saturday, the Miss America for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the turf will be run in two $50,000 divisions as races 7 and 9.
Isa Firecracker finished third of six against males Oct. 6 in the $100,000 Harris Farms Stakes on dirt at Fresno. She sat in midpack and circled five wide on the turn before tiring in the lane.
Trainer Jamey Thomas said the only suitable spots to run Isa Firecracker were a race on turf at Santa Anita or the Harris Farms.
The Bear Fan will be Isa Firecracker’s third start off a 10-month layoff. In her first race back, she went wire to wire in an optional-claiming sprint on the Golden Gate Tapeta on Aug. 31.
Isa Firecracker has worked steadily since the Harris Farms.
“We knew there was nothing between Fresno and the Bear Fan, so we backed off her a little bit and spread her works out,” Thomas said. “She’s a good work horse and gets herself pretty fit.”
Spring Heat, fourth in last year’s Bear Fan and coming off a front-running win for a $50,000 tag at Golden Gate, may be the one Isa Firecracker has to catch. Helen’s Tiger has a win and three seconds in her last five starts, all five-furlong optional-claiming sprints on turf in Southern California.
Miss America: Psycho Sister set
Psycho Sister, who also faced males in her last race, is the clear speed of the field in the second division of the Miss America. She scored frontrunning wins in two one-mile allowance races on the turf at Golden Gate before shipping to Santa Anita for the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile on Oct. 6. Psycho Sister set the pace for the opening half-mile and tired to finish seventh, nine lengths back of one-two finishers Sharp Samurai and Fly to Mars, two of Southern California’s top turf milers.
“I think she’s at her best at a mile,” said trainer Ari Herbertson, explaining his decision to run against males. “It was a tough race, but she didn’t embarrass herself.”
Recent rains may have softened the course at Golden Gate, but that should not hurt Psycho Sister, who won an allowance race over yielding turf here in April.
Herbertson said he had hoped to run Psycho Sister in a race three weeks ago, but the card was canceled because of poor air quality caused by the Northern California fires.
“She’s been off a little longer than expected,” Herbertson said. “She’s training good right now, and we’re pretty confident.”
Bella Luma, who won the Golden Poppy over this course last spring and has never finished off the board in three starts here, and Pantsonfire, who has been running in graded stakes down south, will challenge Psycho Sister.
In the first division of the Miss America, Sweet Charity looks in position to get her first U.S. stakes victory. A stakes winner in her native France, Sweet Charity put in her usual late run to be third in the Kathryn Crosby on the turf Nov. 9 at Del Mar.
Recent allowance winner Dutton’s Legend and the speedy Savannah Slew are among the locally based horses set to challenge Sweet Charity.