'Forced to move,' Hollendorfer sending horses to Oaklawn Park

December 02, 2019 04:02pm
With still no option to race or train at Santa Anita Park, Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Monday that he plans to shift operations to Oaklawn Park for its upcoming meet.

Hollendorfer, a longtime stalwart of California racing, was barred from both Santa Anita and Golden Gate by The Stronach Group last June following the death of four horses in his care at Santa Anita over an approximately six-month span. There was also a death at Golden Gate during that time. Hollendorfer has subsequently been stabled and racing at Del Mar and Los Alamitos, or running horses in the name of assistant trainer Dan Ward when needed, such as the Santa Anita fall meet and in the recent Breeders’ Cup.

However, upon the completion of the two-week Los Alamitos meet on Dec. 15, California racing for the next six months will be conducted exclusively at Santa Anita and Golden Gate. As a result, Hollendorfer looked elsewhere to conduct business.

“I’m being forced to move,” Hollendorfer said. “I don’t really want to leave, but Santa Anita doesn’t want me to run at the meet. I had to get representation and we’ll see how things work out with that. But for now we’re definitely committed to taking 25 horses to Oaklawn Park no matter what else happens.”

Among those heading to Oaklawn for Hollendorfer will be the impressive debut winner Ancient Warrior. The son of red-hot freshman sire Constitution beat Del Mar maidens by 4 ¼ lengths on Nov. 23 while clocking six furlongs in a swift 1:09.72.

“I’m trying to think of a good plan for him,” Hollendorfer said. “I don’t want to run him back too soon, but on the other hand if we had another race in him maybe we could run him in the Smarty Jones (going one mile on Jan. 24.) It would be nice if we could do that. So the question would be do we train up to that race with only one sprint, or do we look for something before?”

Ancient Warrior is a homebred for California-based breeder Al Graziani. The decision by Graziani to send his mare Wellington Beauty to an unproven first-year sire like Constitution has proved a shrewd decision. The WinStar Farm stallion has sired 22 winners and four graded stakes winners in his first crop including Tiz the Law, Independence Hall and the filly Amalfi Sunrise.

“You are taking a chance when you go to these new stallions,” Hollendorfer said. “But if they hit, like Constitution has, you can certainly do very well.”

Hollendorfer remains hopeful that eventually things will be worked out with The Stronach Group. But until then, it will be on to Oaklawn Park.

“I don’t like the word frustration, so I’m not frustrated,” Holledorfer said. “But I have problems and I’m dealing with my problems, head on, the best I can. That’s the way life is.”

 

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