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Stars Align for Mensa Heat, Gomez, Hess, and Blacker

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park
Mensa Heat rebounded from a poor effort in the California Cup Sprint Oct. 29, rallying to take the $84,500 On Trust Handicap, the closing day feature of the Autumn meet Sunday at Hollywood Park.

 

The 1 ½ length victory over 18-1 shot Legal Separation and five other fellow California breds was the sixth of 2011 for the 5-year-old gelded son of Unusual Heat and the Ole’ mare Chi Chi Nette.

 

Five of those wins have come in eight races since Mensa Heat was claimed for $25,000 April 15 at Santa Anita by trainer Ted H. West for owner Peter Redekop.

 

Now 9-for-41 lifetime, Mensa Heat, who was ridden by Joe Talamo, increased his earnings to $366,258. He has banked $248,422 since the claim.

 

Now 2-for-9 on Cushion Track, Mensa Heat ran the 7 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:28.68. He paid as the 5-2 second choice.

 

West discovered the likely reason for Mensa Heat’s lackluster performance in the Cal Cup Sprint.

 

“He had some very bad ulcers two months ago and you just don’t know how fast they’re going to heal,’’ said West. “His appetite is great and his coat looks great, but you always wonder if maybe they’re still there and not completely healed.

 

“He tipped his hand in the paddock today and his attitude was really good. We have a lot of options with him because he likes turf, dirt and synthetic.’’

 

Legal Separation, who gained a clear advantage with an eighth of a mile to go after overtaking pacesetters Mark the Bench and Chiloquin, returned $16.40 and $7. He finished a half-length in front of Spud Spivens. The show price on Spud Spivens, the 7-2 third choice who was seeking his fourth win on the Hollywood Park main track, was $3.20.

 

Scofield Barracks was a nose back in fourth, then came Chiloquin, Mark the Bench and Red Defense, the 2-1 favorite. The defeat was the first in four local starts for Red Defense, a 4-year-old Redattore gelding.

 

The final day of the meet featured a record shattering Player’s Pick 5 pool.

 

Chasing a record carryover of $183,594 generated during the CashCall Futurity program Saturday, bettors wagered an additional $1,226,324 Sunday, creating a total pool of $1,409,917.

 

The previous high total Pick 5 pool was $907,117 May 12. This followed a carryover of $107,487 May 8.

 

A 50-cent minimum bet with a 14% takeout, the Player’s Pick 5 made its debut April 21, opening day of Hollywood Park’s Spring/Summer meet.

 

There were 635 winning tickets in the Player’s Pick 5 Sunday. Each was worth $1,948.25

 

Jockey Garrett Gomez and trainer Bob Hess, Jr. both reached personal milestones when they teamed with 4-1 shot So Tempted to win the first race.

 

The victory was the 1,000th for Hess, 46, in his career and the 500th win at Hollywood Park for Gomez.

 

Hess, who has won 335 races at Hollywood Park, collected his first as a trainer in 1987.

 

A multiple Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding rider, Gomez, who will turn 40 January 1, is the 21st jockey to win at least 500 races at Hollywood Park. Laffit Pincay, Jr. is the all-time leader with 3,049.

 

Three races later, English-born trainer Dan Blacker earned the first win of his young career when Hameildaeme got up to defeat Entabeni by a head in a $25,000 claimer for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

 

Before recently going out on his own, Blacker, 29, had spent the past 2 ½ years as an assistant to trainer Tom Albertrani.

 

 

 

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