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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
NORTH OR SOUTH, TEAM HOLLENDORFER IS A WINNER
Jerry Hollendorfer’s focus on winning is consistent, whether he’s running a $5,000 claimer or a Grade I stakes winner. It’s the competitive spirit and attention to detail that has driven the 63-year-old trainer to win more than 5,000 races, making him one of only four men to surpass that lofty mark.
A legend in the Bay Area where he won 36 straight titles at Bay Meadows and 32 at Golden Gate Fields, Hollendorfer has made an impact in Southern California since breaking ground here recently. He currently has 33 horses at Santa Anita.
“We’re doling OK down here, but there’s a lot of strong competition and a lot of money behind some of the guys, so it’s difficult, but a lot of fun to win,” said Hollendorfer, whose top aide is former Bobby Frankel assistant Dan Ward. “We run all different kinds of horses.”
Among them are Blind Luck, winner of three Grade I races and a finalist for an Eclipse Award as outstanding 2-year-old filly of 2009, and Rendezvous, who runs in Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 San Fernando Stakes. Blind Luck is scheduled to make her 3-year-old debut in the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile on Feb. 6. The daughter of Pollard’s Vision, purchased out of a 13 ¼-length victory in a $40,000 claiming race at Calder last June, worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Saturday in 1:02.80. “It was a nice, easy breeze,” Hollendorfer said. “We’re excited about her being a finalist; I hope they’re going to give us a chance. We’ll soon find out.” Eclipse Award winners will be announced Jan. 18.
Hollendorfer paused briefly when asked if he had any second thoughts about moving stock from Northern California, where he was the proverbial big fish in a small pond.“I really think if I wasn’t here, I would never have gotten to train horses like Heatseeker (winner of the 2008 Santa Anita Handicap), and probably never would have bought Blind Luck,” he said.
Ward, who has been with Hollendorfer for two and a half years after a 22-year-old stint with the late Frankel, is an ideal fit with Hollendorfer and his training regimen.
“We both have the same mindset about the game plan for the barn,” Ward said. “Whenever you work for somebody, you have to believe in their system, the way they do things. Otherwise, you can’t do a good job. You try to keep horses happy. Like with Blind Luck, our biggest challenge right now is keeping her on the ground until the Las Virgenes.”
Probable for the San Fernando, second leg of the Strub series: Gallant Son, Alex Solis; Mythical Power, Joel Rosario; Papa Clem, Tyler Baze; Quindici Man, Victor Espinoza; Rendezvous, Rafael Bejarano; Smart Bid, Mike Smith; and Supreme Summit, Michael Baze.
UNBEATEN CONVEYANCE HEADS SAN RAFAEL FOR BAFFERT
Conveyance, one of Bob Baffert’s Kentucky Derby hopefuls, could move a step closer to the first Saturday in May with a solid effort in Saturday’s Grade III $100,000 San Rafael Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile.
Unbeaten in two sprint wins, the gray son of 1998 Santa Anita Derby winner Indian Charlie out of the Holy Bull mare Emptythetill reminds Baffert of the dam’s sire, 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull.
“He takes after the dam’s sire,” Baffert said. “He looks more like a Holy Bull.”
Conveyance broke his maiden by 1 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita on Oct. 31 and followed that with a seven-furlong romp at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25. Both races were at six furlongs under Garrett Gomez, who rides in the San Rafael.
Conveyance is owned by John Hardy III and Olin B. Gentry of Lexington, Ky., who race as Thoroughbreds Legends Racing Stable.
Probable for the San Rafael: Cardiff Giant, Christian Santiago Reyes; Conveyance, Gomez; and Domonation, Joel Rosario.
FINISH LINES: Champion 2-year-old filly of 2008 Stardom Bound is doing “really well” with Gary Stevens at Santa Anita as she awaits next Sunday’s Grade II $150,000 El Encino Stakes for 4-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. “She works Wednesday,” said Stevens, who is caring for the gray daughter of Tapit for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. Probable for the El Encino: Best Lass, Alex Solis; Dream Empress, Tyler Baze; Freedom Star, Martin Garcia; Gilded Gem, Victor Espinoza; Justwhistledixie, Garrett Gomez; Spirit Seeker, Joel Rosario; and Stardom Bound, Mike Smith. Justwhistledixie worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Sunday in 1:01.80 for Bill Mott . . . Franny Freud, prepping for Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, worked six furlongs on Pro-Ride in a bullet 1:12.40 for Bob Baffert under Gomez, who rides the New York-bred daughter of Freud in the Santa Ynez, which also is likely to draw Amen Hallelujah, Chantal Sutherland; She’s Funomenal, Rosario; and Whispering Hush, Smith . . . Probable for the Grade II $150,000 San Marcos Stakes which will be featured next Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Aggie Engineer, Solis; Dynamic Range, Espinoza; High Court Drama, Michael Baze; Muhannak, Martin Pedroza; Obrigado, Rosario; Quasicobra, Julien Leparoux; and Ridge Dance, Martin Garcia. Muhannak worked six furlongs on turf Sunday in 1:17.60 for Ben Cecil. All THOROUGHBREDS members will receive a free Santa Anita collectible ice bucket while supplies last on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. First post time next Monday is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. . . . Monrovia Handicap winner Tuscan Evening worked four furlongs on Pro-Ride Sunday in :50.20 for the Grade I $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap on Jan. 31. Rafael Bejarano was aboard for Jerry Hollendorfer . . . Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Gio Ponti worked four furlongs on Pro-Ride Sunday in 49.80, breezing, for Christophe Clement . . . Steven Crist, chairman and publisher of Daily Racing Form, will hold a seminar and book signing next Saturday, Jan. 16, near Santa Anita’s Champions! Gift Shop, adjacent to the paddock area. The seminar and handicapping session begins at 11 a.m.; the DVD and book signing at 12 noon . . . Seven people shared prize money of $2,500 in WinVivor: Susan McGraw of Martinez, CA; Gregory Garvin of Arcadia; Keith Rollins of Long Beach; Dan Lavine of Valley Center, CA; Kevin Hanson of Austin, TX; Cory Reinert of Polk City, FL; and Stephen Piccolo of Las Vegas. Entering Sunday’s races, there were 130 contestants alive in ShowVivor.