Hollendorfer on a Stakes Roll at Del Mar

August 04, 2013 07:30am
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Everything was A-OK at Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Barn K enclave on Sunday morning. As might have been expected considering it was the place which dispatched U’narack to win Friday’s $200,000 Real Good Deal Stakes and Lady of Fifty to victory in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes.

“We always try to keep the morale up around the barn,” Hollendorfer said.

“But if you win a couple of races, it doesn’t matter if they’re stakes or regular races, it keeps them (employees) in a happier spirit and frame of mind.”

Hollendorfer said that all three of his Hirsch representatives – in addition to Lady of Fifty he saddled Via Villagio (6th) and Sister Kate (7th) in the Hirsch – came out of the race fine.

The Hirsch, part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, was the first “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic on Friday, November 1 at Santa Anita. An excellent benefit for Lady of Fifty, whose previous best win came in the Grade II Bayakoa last December at Hollywood Park, but not necessarily an expected one.

“We wanted to get a Grade I placing or win for any one of those fillies and she happened to get it,” said Hollendorfer, who owns the 4-year-old daughter of After Market with his longtime partner George Todaro. “But you can’t plan on the Breeders’ Cup. They (horses) have to take you there, you can’t take them there.

“We’ll probably have to pick a race in between (now and the Breeders’ Cup) which will be at Santa Anita and then we’ll see from there if she stays sound.”

The other two Hollendorfer representatives for the Hirsch are also unlikely to run again at the meeting.

“Via Villagio hopped in the air at the start,” Hollendorfer said after the Hirsch. “Mike Smith said that she would have run a lot better race if she didn’t do that. Martin (Pedroza) said that if they hadn’t pestered him so much on the front end (with Sister Kate) he might have had a chance to steal the race.

“But all my horses ran well, so I’m proud of every one of them.”

No. 1 For Hollendorfer; Nakatani At 99 And Counting

The Hirsch was the first Grade I stakes victory at Del Mar for Hollendorfer, who now has 17 stakes wins at the track and at least one a year for the past seven years.

Lady of Fifty provided jockey Corey Nakatani with his 99th career stakes victory at Del Mar, second on the track’s all-time list behind Chris McCarron’s 134.

“It would be nice to have the opportunity (to catch McCarron),” Nakatani said. “Who would have thunk I’d get this many? But I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to get on a lot of good horses over the years.”

Nakatani correctly recalled that his first stakes win at Del Mar was aboard Stark South. It came for trainer John Russell in the second division of the Oceanside Stakes on opening day of the 1991 meeting. He had at least one a year from 1991 through 2009 before summering in the East for two years. Nakatani mentioned the stakes record as a goal upon his return last year and a victory in the John C. Mabee aboard City to City for Hollendorfer pushed him past Laffit Pincay to win No. 97. He won the Osumitas Stakes on Saturday, July 20 for No. 98.

Hirsch Runner-Up, Beaten Favorite Return Ok

Trainer John Sadler reported that More Chocolate, the Hirsch runner-up beaten 1 ½ lengths, had come out of the race well and might run again at the meeting.

“She had a little rough trip and some traffic trouble but overall we were very happy with her effort,” Sadler said. “If we ran her back it would have to be on the turf. The Yellow Ribbon ($150,000 Grade II Monday September 2) could be a possibility. If we decide to keep her on the dirt, it would be back to Santa Anita.”

Ron Ellis, trainer of even-money favorite Include Me Out, said the now-5-year-old defending race champion was fine afterward.

“She either wasn’t handling the track or it just wasn’t her day,” Ellis said. “I may have left her too much to do with it being her second race back from a layoff. She needed to be a little more fit for this racetrack.”

Ellis said he didn’t think the outside (No. 9) post was a decisive factor.

“Joe (Talamo) did a good job of getting her into a good spot, but didn’t get the response he needed,” Ellis said. Include Me Out could run again at the meeting in the Adoration Stakes on Sunday, September 1, for which she is eligible.

She’s A Tiger Faces Six Rivals In Wednesday’s Sorrento

She’s A Tiger, a three-quarter sister to 2010 Bing Crosby winner Smiling Tiger, faces six other 2-year-old fillies in the 45th running of the $150,000 Grade II Sorrento Stakes, featured event on an eight-race card when racing resumes on Wednesday.

Jeff Bonde, who trained Smiling Tiger and also has She’s A Tiger, ran down the pedigree. “She’s out of the same mother (Shandra Smiles) and they both have Storm Cat sires. So I guess that, in a sense, they’re three-quarters,” Bonde said.

Smiling Tiger was sired by Hold That Tiger. She’s A Tiger’s sire is Tale of the Cat.

She’s A Tiger has won both her career starts. The first was by nine lengths at Pleasanton. The next was by three-quarters of a length over fellow Sorrento entrant E Equalsmcsquared in the Landaluce Stakes, the juvenile filly championship event at Hollywood Park, on July 13.

“She’s been training excellent. I hope she runs a big one again,” Bonde said.

O’Neill Takes The Heat In Charity ‘Roast’

Owner J. Paul Reddam’s improvisational work and a “ripped from the headlines” reference as part of the rebuttal remarks by Doug O’Neill were among the highlights of the Great Friends Foundation charity roast of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes-winning trainer Saturday night at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.

Among the fit-for-print highlights, anyway.

Reddam, pressed into service, when Gary Stevens was unavailable, showed some stand-up comedy ability with a monologue that included interpreting “Doug-isms.” An O’Neill assessment that a horse had worked “Really super,” meant “good,” for example and an “OK” pronouncement from O’Neill meant the horse was “going back to the ranch.”

Taking his turn after being “roasted” by others, O’Neill elicited laughter by referring to former Santa Anita President and longtime ower Mark Verge as an “Anthony Weiner lookalike.”

Funds raised by the event are ticketed for military families in the San Diego area.

Trakus Facts For Saturday

While Lady of Fifty landed the Clement L Hirsch Stakes rallying outside of the entire field, she actually saved significant ground through most of the race. Only Byrama and Sister Kate covered shorter trips than Lady of Fifty. Sixth place finisher Via Villaggio, last for much of the race, ran the final furlong as fast as Lady of Fifty, both timing the last segment in 12.29 seconds.



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