Hollendorfer cleared to stable in New York after Santa Anita ban

June 23, 2019 04:49pm

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, ruled off The Stronach Group’s tracks Saturday including his California bases at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields, is still welcome on the opposite coast.

The New York Racing Association issued a statement Sunday indicating Hollendorfer is still approved for stall space this summer at Saratoga. He recently started a small string of horses at Belmont Park overseen by assistant Don Chatlos, a Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer in his own right.

“NYRA will honor those agreements and he will be permitted to stable and enter horses at both Belmont and Saratoga,” said Pat McKenna, NYRA’s director of communications, in the statement.

Among those with Hollendorfer’s New York string are Rowayton, a last out allowance winner targeting the July 6 Dwyer Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds around one turn, and the sophomore filly Brill, who according to NYRA’s stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes may appear in the July 5 Victory Ride Stakes also at Belmont Park.

Going into the weekend, Hollendorfer had three of his horses suffer injuries requiring euthanasia at Santa Anita Park since Dec. 26, when the current season began. A fourth horse broke down Saturday morning, after which Hollendorfer said he was summoned to speak with Tim Ritvo, COO for The Stronach Group, about vacating his barns within 72 hours.

Hollendorfer said he followed new safety procedures instituted by The Stronach Group, including physical inspections of his horses by track veterinarians in advance of works and races.

NYRA’s statement touts its safety protocols as “the industry standard” which “led to demonstrably safer racing operations at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.”

In 2018, NYRA's rate of equine fatalities across Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga was 1.2 per 1,000 starters, according to The Jockey Club's Equine Industry Database. The national average was 1.68.

McKenna continued: “Since 2013, NYRA has successfully implemented extensive reforms and made significant investments to modernize track surface analysis by upgrading relevant technology, equipment and facilities while providing veterinarians with the independent authority required to properly monitor thoroughbred health.

“These efforts and investments stem from an organizational culture that prioritizes the health and welfare of horse and rider above all else. NYRA tracks are safer now than at any point in recent memory.”

Hollendorfer has not indicated he’ll grow his New York string beyond its current size. He started it to appease clients — including Larry Best, who campaigns horses under the OXO Equine banner — wishing to run in top stakes races in the East.

In the mean time, Los Alamitos has cleared Hollendorfer to run at its upcoming meet that begins next weekend.


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