12/23/2007 2:15PM

Say Goodbye to Hollywood


Saturday's closing-day card at Hollywood Park was a dramatic and entertaining conclusion to a strong meet, with the final four races producing a takedown of a 26-1 winner, an interesting renewal of the Hollywood Futurity and Jerry Hollendorfer's 5,000th career victory in the nightcap.

Into Mischief, who figured to be the third or fourth choice in the Futurity at around 8-1, instead went off as the sixth choice at 13-1 and scored by 1 1/4 lengths after a perfect trip where he stalked and then took over from an overmatched frontrunner. Favored Colonel John was as good as the winner working his way through the field to get up for second, and it's worth keeping an eye on Monba, who came from nowhere to be a fast-closing fourth. The son of Maria's Mon and the Easy Goer mare Hamba was, like the winner, making only his third career start, and appears likely to thrive going longer.

The winning time of 1:40.82 for 8.5 furlongs was the fastest of three races at the distance Saturday, a bit quicker than the 1:41.56 posted by older $25k claimers and the 1:41.17 in the N1x allowance with the big dq. That translated to a straightforward Beyer Speed Figure of 94, the third lowest in the last 15 years and well off the triple-digit Beyers posted by such Futurity winners as Afternoon Delites, Real Quiet, Point Given and Brother Derek. One might be slightly forgiving due to the new Cushion Track surface and the relative inexperience of the contestants, or one might note that the first six finishers were only 3 1/2 lengths apart at the wire and may not be a stellar bunch.

Into Mischief is the first G1 stakes winner from the first crop sired by Harlan's Holiday, and it's nice to see a horse who had a long and full career getting off to a strong start at stud. Harlan's Holiday won 9 of 22 career starts, made 17 starts in graded stakes, and won the G1 Florida Derby, Blue Grass and Donn. Into Mischief, a $180,000 2yo-in-training purchase by owner B. Wayne Hughes, was bred by the late James T. Hines, also the breeder of Lawyer Ron.

The closing-day card attracted a meet-high $18.5 million in total wagering. Handle for the 32-day meet averaged $10.9 million, up from $10.4 million in 2006. John Sadler led the trainers with 21 winners, 10 more than anyone else, and Country Star was voted the Horse of the Meet for her impressive victory in the Hollywood Starlet Dec. 15.

--If this doesn't put you in the holiday spirit, nothing will. In an email titled "xmas eve," nicholas165 writes: "With only three tracks running [Monday] and the holiday one would think the form might not be full price but no. you guys can think of nothing but screwing your customer base. with most companies customer satisfaction is a top priority but with drf the motto is [redacted]!! almost everyone has this opinion yet we have no recourse but to buy your trash. at some point soon there will be another option like the racing times available. would you guys like to put your bid in now to buy me out or would you prefer to wait until i get in the position to tell you to stick your offer [redacted]? merry christmas. i hope you all die in a train wreck."

Dear nicholas165,
Thanks for the kind holiday wishes! Please tell me of a single newspaper that changes its prices for one day because the edition is smaller. Newsstands and vendors will not accept a one-day price change. We can't charge less on a three-track day any more than we could charge more on a six-track day.

--Aqueduct drew its Wednesday and Thursday races yesterday, and Santa Anita will be drawing those two cards today. Aqueduct will have a $161,694 pick-six two-day carryover which has been gathering dust since the Dec. 16 rainout and then the holiday break. The sequence:

Race 4: 3+F Msw, 6f (9 entrants))
Race 5: 3+F NYB N1x, 1m (12)
Race 6: 3+F OF C15 N2L, 6f (16)
Race 7: 2F NYB, N1x, 6f (11)
Race 8: 3+F N3x, 6f (7)
Race 9: 3+ NYB, Md35k, 1m (13)

You might want to get started now.

Here's the holiday racing calendar for the next few days:

Sunday 12/23: Calder, Charles Town, Fair Grounds, Hawthorne, Laurel, Philadelphia, Sam Houston, Sunland, Turf Paradise
Monday 12/24: Calder, Fair Grounds, Philadelphia
Tuesday 12/25: None.
Wednesday 12/26: Aqueduct, Calder, Charles Town, Delta, Golden Gate, Hawthorne, Laurel, Santa Anita, Sunland, Tampa, Turfway