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Intimidate brings plenty of potential to Golden Nugget Stakes

Saturday, November 11th, 2017

Six-furlong stakes in November are not considered Kentucky Derby stepping-stones, but Saturday’s $50,000 Golden Nugget at Golden Gate Fields is at least the first step on the way to the way to the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby early next year. The El Camino Real Derby tops Golden Gate’s series for 3-year-olds of 2018, which also includes the Gold Rush Stakes and the California Derby.

The field of six includes two undefeated colts – Intimidate, who is 2 for 2, with both starts coming at Golden Gate Fields; and Go Bobby Go, who won at Fresno in his only start.

Intimidate led all the way in his debut, winning by 7 1/2 lengths, and returned with a three-quarter-length win in an optional claimer Oct. 22.

“I know he can run,” trainer Bob Hess Sr. said. “I don’t know how good he is yet, and I don’t want to know. I want to keep winning.”

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Hess said that he asked one of his former exercise riders to get on Intimidate on a day his regular exercise rider was out of town.

“When he came back, he said, ‘I should pay you for the chance to get on him,’ ” Hess said.

Hess thinks that eventually Intimidate will run well on turf and handle two turns.

Go Bobby Go won his only start by a half-length over the dirt at Fresno, but he is based at Golden Gate and has been training over the Tapeta.

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Trainer Faith Taylor thinks Go Bobby Go will learn from his debut.

“He was a little green and was looking around,” Taylor said. “Hopefully, he’ll improve.”

The field includes Soul of Discretion, who won his debut by 13 lengths at Canterbury and has been fourth and fifth in stakes in his two subsequent starts; Runaway Ghost, making his first start since his maiden win June 10 at Santa Anita; and Generally Lucky and La Waun, who both lost to Intimidate in their last start.

Golden Nugget Stakes (race 7)

Key Contenders

Intimidate, by Vronsky

Beyers: 68-66

◗ He has shown a combination speed and ability to finish.

◗ Barn has been winning at a 25 percent rate with 2-year-olds

Go Bobby Go, by Stormin Fever

Beyer: 35

◗ The third-place finisher from his race returned to win.

◗ Taylor has been winning at a 16 percent rate with 2-year-olds

Runaway Ghost, by Ghostzapper

Beyers: 58-70

◗ His last two works have been bullets at Santa Anita.

◗ Makes his first start on a synthetic surface.

◗ Trainer Mike Machowsky has been winning at 21 percent with 2-year-olds and with horses returning off a 61- to 180-day layoff.

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