Saturday wasn’t a particularly good day for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer at Santa Anita. A pair of his promising three year olds tried to get their seasons back on track in stakes races. The results were not favorable. Lady of Fifty, his star filly, who ran 6th against the boys in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields last month, got back with the ladies in the $70,000 China Doll Stakes but ran last in the field on nine. One race later, Rousing Sermon, trying to better his fourth place finish in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Placed third through DQ) ran 5th in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes.
Not what he was hoping for, for a pair that seemed Kentucky bound just a month ago.
But wait, the day was not a total loss for the Hollendorfer camp. That’s because back home at GGF, a lesser known three-year old of his was turning in one of the top performances on the meet.
Nonios, a son of Pleasantly Perfect, stayed unbeaten in two career starts with an impressive 6 length win over a field that included Cahill Chrome (runner up in the California Derby) and Unveiled Heat (4th in the El Camino Real). He ran the mile in 1:37.43 just the second fastest mile of the meet. But just winning the race doesn’t say as much for the horse as the visual proof.
Trailing by 11 lengths at the half mile mark, jockey Russell Baze asked him to go, and he sure did. With a fierce rally around the turn, Nonios went from last to first and opened a daylight lead in a matter of strides. The race was over right then.
“I really didn‘t think we would be quite that far behind, but we had a pretty solid pace to run at so I wasn’t worried. I know this horse is going to give me a good run every time I ask him.,” Baze said.
“He’s been pretty impressive from the get go and he hasn’t done anything to disappoint us yet. I got in on the ground floor on this one. I’m pretty excited about him”
Hollendorfer, never the one to show much outward excitement, took the race in his usual low key manner.
“I really didn’t want to run him a mile in his second race, but there was nothing else and he has been training good. I think he is developing into a nice colt.”
In Nonios’ maiden win, he beat a field of six but two of them, Yard Bully and Downtown TC came back to break their maiden in their very next race.
“It’s maybe a little early to make comparisons, because he’s still a little green, but I have no doubt in my mind he will be heard from down the line,” Baze added.