Photo: Hollywood Park
farewell to Zenyatta and the rise of exciting 2-year-olds Comma to the Top and
Turbulent Descent were among the highlights of Hollywood Park’s
Autumn meet, which wrapped Sunday.
heavy rain that caused racing to be cancelled after two races Sunday, Hollywood Park finished its 30th fall
season with some encouraging attendance and handle results.
by the appearance of Zenyatta and the inclusion of two Breeders’ Cup cards from
Churchill Downs (Nov. 5-6), average daily attendance in Southern
California was up 7.2 percent from 2009. Average daily handle
generated in Southern California, including
advance deposit wagering, was up eight per cent. The average per day was $4.187
million, compared to $3.875 million a year ago.
average daily on-track attendance declined slightly (0.7 percent) and average
daily on-track handle was down 2.1 percent. Wagering outside California
on Hollywood Park races decreased by 15.2 per cent,
resulting in a 4.2 per cent decline in average daily all sources handle. This
figure went from $8.362 million in 2009 to $8.015 million in 2010.
were heartened by the overall results of the meet,’’ said Hollywood Park
president Jack Liebau. “Wagering within California
surpassed expectations in light of the 12.5 per cent unemployment rate in the
state. Hopefully, the downward trend in wagering is bottoming out and the worst
is now behind us. Santa Anita (which opens Dec. 26) should have a great meet.’’
at Hollywood Park throughout her glorious career,
Zenyatta, who finished with 19 wins in 20 starts and earnings in excess of $7.3
million, was paraded Dec. 5 in front of an enthusiastic and very appreciative
on-track crowd of more than 11,000. The 6-year-old mare, owned by Jerry and Ann
Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, left the following morning for Lane’s End
Farm in Kentucky
to begin a new chapter in her life.
beyond seven furlongs when the meet began, Comma to the Top rattled off three
stakes victories in a row around two turns, capped by a decisive score in the
CashCall Futurity Dec. 18. The first Grade I for the Bwana Charlie gelding came
after he had taken the Real Quiet Stakes Nov. 6 and the Generous Stakes – on
turf – Nov. 27.
three wins, which ran his victory streak to five for owners Gary Barber, Roger
Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara and trainer Peter Miller, earned Comma to the Top
Horse of the Meet honors.
in her debut during the inaugural Oak Tree/Hollywood Park season, Turbulent
Descent wasted no time becoming a stakes winner. The daughter of Congrats
followed a victory in the Moccasin Nov. 21 with a Grade I win in the Hollywood
Starlet, proving she could handle more distance.
by Mike Puype and owned by a partnership that includes Blinkers On Racing
Stable and Bill Strauss, Turbulent Descent was the first filly to win both the
Moccasin and Starlet, which was run Dec. 11.
meet finished with a 10.6 per cent decline in on-track handle with an average
of $945,000 while overall average handle was $7.8 million, a drop of 4.3 per
cent. Average on-track attendance of 4,163 was down three percent and the total
attendance average of 10,241 was off 2.5 percent from 2009.
Hy, an 11-1 longshot, made jockey Garrett Gomez a winner in his return to Southern California with a last-to-first victory in a
thrilling renewal of the $250,000 Hollywood Derby Nov. 28.
Derby, a Grade
I, was the fifth and final race of the three-day Turf Festival. The other
Festival winners included Gypsy’s Warning (Matriarch), Victor’s Cry (Citation
Handicap), Comma to the Top (Generous Stakes) and Neversaidiwassweet (Miesque
Canada Stables topped the owners’ standings with eight victories. In terms of
earnings, Barber, Birnbaum and Tsujihara led with $517,400.
Joel Rosario defended his crown with 47 winners, easily besting Rafael
Bejarano, who finished with 35 victories. Rosario
has won the last four meets at Hollywood
Park. He was also the
leading rider at Oak Tree/Hollywood Park.
Nakatani, Comma to the Top’s regular partner, finished with a season high five
stakes victories, one more than Rosario and Joe Talamo.
O’Neill won his fifth Autumn training title. He had 16 wins, two more than
Miller and defending champion John Sadler. Miller’s stable was tops with purses
also tied Sadler and Jerry Hollendorfer for most stakes victories. Each had