RACE IS ONE OF FIVE STAKES CARDED ON CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH DAY AT SANTA ANITA
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 23, 2014)–Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Halo Dolly seeks millionaire status as she heads a field of seven older fillies and mares bred or sired in California in Saturday’s $100,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes going one mile on turf at Santa Anita.
A 6-year-old mare by Popular, Halo Dolly comes off an authoritative 1 ½ length win going a mile on dirt versus statebreds in the Dream of Summer Stakes March 23. Although winless in three tries over the Santa Anita lawn, she has eight wins from 10 starts at a mile on grass.
Owned in-part by Hollendorfer, Micahel O’Farrell, Joe Schneider, George Todaro and partners, Halo Dolly has good tactical speed and will hope to get a stalking trip under Corey Nakatani. She has a remarkable overall record of 37-18-5-5 and has earnings of $982,316. If she wins or runs second, she’ll eclipse the million dollar mark in winnings.
Trainer Jeff Bonde’s multiple stakes winning Unusual Way comes off a second place finish to Halo Dolly as the 1-2 favorite in the Dream of Summer and will try to turn the tables Saturday. Blessed with an abundance of speed, the 4-year-old Unusual Heat filly will be ridden for the first time in 10 starts by Rafael Bejarano.
Owned by Edward Brown, Jr. and Philip Lebherz, Unusual Way has a win and a second from two tries at a mile on grass and is 16-5-6-1 overall with earnings of $685,960.
A winner three starts back of the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course Jan. 25, Ciao Bella Luna comes off a fourth place finish down the hill in the Grade III Las Cienegas Stakes April 12.
Trained by Peter Miller, the 4-year-old Tribal Rule filly has sprinted in her last six starts and will try a mile on grass for only the second time. A Grade II Stakes winner sprinting on polytrack a year ago at Keeneland, she has four wins and three seconds from 14 starts and earnings of $284,110.
Trainer Mike Machowsky’s Kathleen Rose comes off a sharp gate to wire allowance win over the course and distance March 7 and will ensure a good pace with Brice Blanc up.
A winner of last year’s Fran’s Valentine, which was run at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park, Jeff Mullins’ Unusual Hottie got back on her game in the one mile turf American Beauty Stakes March 29, making the lead in mid-stretch and finishing second, beaten a length. She is an impressive 10-4-3-2 at one mile on grass and is 20-7-5-3 overall with earnings of $418,128.
Doug O’Neill’s Dancingtothestars was third, beaten a head by runner-up Ciao Bella Luna in the downhill Irish O’Brien Stakes March 15 and has two wins from five tries at a mile on turf. O’Neill will also saddle longshot Journey On, who is 5-1-1-1 over the Santa Anita turf and is 4-2-1-0 at a mile on grass.
The complete field for the Fran’s Valentine, to be run as the fourth race on an 11-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Ciao Bella Luna, Victor Espinoza, 119; Unusual Hottie, Tyler Baze, 119; Unusual Way, Rafael Bejarano, 124; Halo Dolly, Corey Nakatani, 124; Kathleen Rose, Brice Blanc, 121; Journey On, Mike Smith, 121, and Dancintothestars, Mario Gutierrez, 124.
First post time on Saturday, California Gold Rush Day, is at 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.