Sunshine burst through a powder blue sky in all nature’s glory at Santa Anita Sunday morning, basking in the afterglow of a day that lived up to its script.

The only thing missing was a rainbow.

But for Team Hollendorfer, it was business as usual after recording one of their most memorable victories, Shared Belief’s 1 ½-length triumph in the San Antonio Invitational over Horse of the Year California Chrome in a race that will be indelibly ensconced in the minds of the 21,522 fans who ignored intermittent light rain at The Great Race Place, in addition to legions who watched on TV and on-line.

Thankfully, this was not Deflategate. For once the air didn’t fizzle from a storyline artfully crafted by the racing gods.

“Jerry got to the barn at 2:40 this morning and I was already there,” said Hollendorfer’s trusted assistant, Dan Ward. “He said, ‘I thought I’d beat you here this morning.’

“Shared Belief was excellent this morning,” Ward said. “He ate all his feed. What happened in the past is not important. The only thing is the future, and that would include the Santa Anita Handicap (on March 7).

“He’ll go back to Golden Gate tomorrow, train up there, probably come back the Wednesday before the race, keeping the same schedule as in the past.”

Ward, who spent 22 years with the late Bobby Frankel before joining Hollendorfer for the past eight, is a behind-the-scenes guy reluctant to pat himself on the back, but an integral member of the vastly successful team.

“I appreciate that Jerry gives me a lot of freedom and a lot of opportunities . . . They turn out to be good horses if you give them a chance,” said Ward, who will be at Laurel Saturday to saddle Grade I La Brea winner Sam’s Sister in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap.

Both Hollendorfer and Ward were magnanimous after Shared Belief’s ninth victory from 10 career starts, Ward saying California Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman and his team are “100 percent class at all times.”

Hollendorfer, swarmed by media Saturday in a post-race press conference in the winner’s circle, said, “California Chrome has a big following, deservedly so. He deserved to be Horse of the Year. If things had gone a little bit different (in the Breeders’ Cup Classic), I might have got a chance, but you can’t always get things to go your way . . . I’m proud of Art and his horse, and I’m very proud of my horse and my partnership.”

California Chrome, meanwhile, took the first stage out of Dodge, leaving early last evening for his Los Alamitos headquarters where he will prepare for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 28.

Whether the two champions meet again on the race track remains to be seen, but for the immediate future, that won’t happen. Shared Belief is headed for the Santa Anita Handicap, while California Chrome will embark for the Middle East.

“He’s going to Dubai,” Sherman said by phone from his Los Alamitos base Sunday morning. “We’re preparing for that. The horse came out the race well and ate up good.”

“It was a good race for the fans,” said Mike Smith, who once again authored a Hall of Fame ride aboard Shared Belief. “It’s going to be a great rivalry. It’s great for racing and hopefully they’ll get a chance to meet a few more times.

“Shared Belief is already a great horse. He’s young and has time to get better and do more great things.”

While Sherman expressed dissatisfaction with Chrome’s final pre-race breeze as being “too slow,” he did not use that as an excuse for getting beat. “He tried hard,” Sherman said. “We’ll hook up again.”

Fair enough. But will it be Ali-Frazier? Wilt versus Russell? Affirmed-Alydar?

Only time will tell.


In what is the Race of the Meet in the clubhouse, Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes hooked up Dortmund and Firing Line in a stretch-long duel, and, as in the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity when Dortmund hung a head defeat on Firing Line, the unbeaten son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown did it again in the Lewis, coming back after appearing to be beaten to conquer his rival by a head.

It was 21 ½ lengths back to Rock Shandy in third.

Both Bob Baffert, trainer of Dortmund, and Simon Callaghan, trainer of Firing Line, said their charges came out of the race in good order.

“Dortmund looked really good at the barn afterwards,” Baffert said Sunday morning. “I was surprised, because after the Los Alamitos race, he was tired. After this race he was a pretty happy dude.

“It was a good race for him. We’ll look at the Santa Anita Derby (April 4) or we could go out of town.”

Callaghan had similar considerations for Firing Line.



            In addition to being an “Instant Classic” between the lines, Saturday’s $500,000 San Antonio Invitational was a smash hit with regard to the BOTTOM LINE, as attendance and handle figures dwarfed those from a year ago.

With $3,300,676 wagered on the San Antonio itself, on-track handle increased 33 percent over last year as $2,895,130 was tendered, compared to $2,180,207 a year ago on San Antonio Stakes day. Additionally, yesterday’s all sources handle of $18,059,096 was up a hefty 32 percent over last year’s $13.661,472.

Saturday’s on-track attendance of 21,522 more than doubled last year’s 10,043.



Kurt Hoover must feel like he’s got Michael Jordan coming out of retirement for next Thursday’s 48th annual Santa Anita Jockeys vs. Holy Angels School Charity Basketball Game at La Salle High School in Pasadena.

Close. He’s got Kent Desormeaux, who had aspirations for the NBA until he came up a little, er, um, short.

“I’ll either be a power forward or a center,” Desormeaux said. Hall of Famer Alex Solis also will be on hand, but doesn’t expect much action. “I’ll be a cheerleader,” he said.

Proceeds benefit the Holy Angels athletic program, the Kentucky-based Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and the Eye on Jacob Foundation.

Sponsored by J. Paul Reddam’s CashCall and Santa Anita Park, game time is 7:15 p.m., with admission doors opening at 6:15 p.m.

Hall of Fame jockeys Desormeaux, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Mike Smith, Solis and Gary Stevens will be available for an autograph signing session beginning at 6:30 p.m.

With Pincay serving as honorary team captain, Desormeaux, Smith and Solis will comprise a team of fellow active riders such as William Antongeorgi, Tyler Baze, Rafael Bejarano, Brice Blanc, Brandon Boulanger, Alex Canchari, Victor Espinoza, Santiago Gonzalez, Mario Gutierrez, Aaron Gryder, Edwin Maldonado, Felipe Martinez, Corey Nakatani, Irving Orozco, Martin Pedroza, Fernando Perez, Tiago Pereira, Flavien Prat, Iggy Puglisi, Kayla Stra, Joe Talamo, Elvis Trujillo, Drayden Van Dyke and perhaps others.

The PDJF helps assist permanently disabled jockeys nationwide, while the Eye on Jacob Foundation, named for Jacob Desormeaux, who is the 16-year-old son of Kent, benefits those suffering from Usher’s Syndrome. An extremely rare neurological disorder, Usher’s Syndrome causes progressive loss of hearing, imbalance, and eventual loss of sight in approximately 14,000 children in the United States.

HRTV’s Kurt Hoover, a former standout cager at Arcadia High School, will again coach the jockeys’ team. Known for his laid-back approach, Hoover stated his game-day philosophy will be similar to that of past years–“We’ll keep the clock runnin’ and just let ’em run and gun.”

Tickets are $5 per person, and for every two tickets purchased, individuals receive one free admission ticket to Santa Anita. Additionally, there will be opportunities to win a trip to Las Vegas and a Paintball Package to Hollywood Sports Paintball and Airsoft Park.

La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles northwest of Santa Anita. Admission tickets and promotional tee shirts are on sale now at Champions! Gifts and Apparel in Santa Anita’s East Paddock Gardens, or through Holy Angels School.

FINISH LINES: Bronzo, who missed third by a head at 32-1 in the San Antonio, will come back in the Santa Anita Handicap “provided he trains well up to it,” Neil Drysdale said . . . California Cup Derby winner Mischief Clem, who worked fivefurlongsSaturday in 59.80, is ticketed for the $200,000, Grade III, 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate on Feb. 14. “We’re not looking for a tough spot right now,” said trainer Bob Hess Jr. . . . The El Camino offers 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, with four to the runner-up, two to the third horse and one to the fourth . . . Agent Brad Pegram reports that Mike Smith rides Conquest Typhoon for Mark Casse in the El Camino Real and Far Right for trainer Ron Moquette in Monday’s Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. . . Martin Pedroza has been suspended three racing days (Feb. 14, 15 and 16) for causing interference resulting in the disqualification of his mount, Diamond Bachelor, from second to fourth in yesterday’s San Marcos Stakes . . . Jockey Alex Canchari is leaving Santa Anita and heading back to the Midwest after going winless from 27 mounts through 27 racing days . . . Small world: Raul Rodriguez, groom for California Chrome, is the uncle of Armando Rodriguez, the groom of Shared Belief.


(Current Through Saturday, Feb. 7)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Rafael Bejarano 129 30 21 18 23% $1,455,414
Kent Desormeaux 93 20 15 9 22% $1,149,202
Victor Espinoza 84 17 16 10 20% $1,139,130
Tyler Baze 131 16 12 16 12% $983,584
Elvis Trujillo 112 13 15 9 12% $832,502
Mike Smith 61 13 12 9 21% $1,229,471
Joseph Talamo 114 12 13 18 11% $924,428
Drayden Van Dyke 107 12 13 17 11% $727,966
Corey Nakatani 67 11 8 8 16% $591,110
Martin Pedroza 92 10 16 9 11% $435,320
Martin Garcia 66 10 12 9 15% $1,000,360
Fernando Perez 95 9 9 8 9% $389,532
Gary Stevens 51 9 7 8 18% $697,562
Flavien Prat 56 8 3 6 14% $370,130
Tiago Pereira 62 6 4 8 10% $182,404
Edwin Maldonado 60 6 3 8 10% $250,146
Brandon Boulanger 64 5 3 6 8% $131,836
Santiago Gonzalez 35 4 4 8 11% $131,540
Felipe Valdez 16 4 4 2 25% $84,260
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Jerry Hollendorfer 90 19 12 10 21% $1,917,084
Peter Miller 75 16 16 7 21% $953,180
Bob Baffert 52 10 12 8 19% $1,117,768
Doug O’Neill 74 8 8 10 11% $438,956
Peter Eurton 40 8 5 7 20% $376,358
John Sadler 60 7 9 10 12% $468,146
Philip D’Amato 38 7 8 6 18% $374,990
Mark Casse 37 6 5 5 16% $556,490
Mark Glatt 39 5 8 6 13% $288,824
James Cassidy 34 5 5 6 15% $194,110
Richard Baltas 32 5 4 3 16% $174,388
Richard Mandella 28 5 3 5 18% $235,410
Carla Gaines 24 5 3 1 21% $294,345
Hector Palma 15 5 2 0 33% $94,330
Mike Puype 44 4 7 6 9% $221,046
Michael Pender 19 4 3 1 21% $124,130
Ronald Ellis 28 4 2 5 14% $182,150
Jeff Bonde 18 4 0 3 22% $178,930
A. C. Avila 17 4 0 2 24% $94,924
Eddie Truman 9 4 0 1 44% $168,490