04/14/2002 11:00PM

Behind the scenes at filly's death


SAN MATEO, Calif. - The big story at Bay Meadows on Saturday was the winning move jockey Jason Lumpkins put on with Tracemark to win the California Derby.

But what he did after the day's final race left a deep impression as well, although few in the exiting crowd were even aware of it.

Lumpkins rode Clever Dorcas, a 3-year-old filly, in a $16,000 claimer at one mile on the turf two races after winning with Tracemark. Clever Dorcas was eased in the race, which was won by entrymate Capital Growth.

Lumpkins rode the filly very slowly back to be unsaddled, while winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was preparing to pose in the winner's circle with Capital Growth and winning jockey Russell Baze.

As Lumpkins dismounted, the filly staggered and collapsed as if suffering from heat exhaustion on the warmest day of the year so far in northern California. Lumpkins ran to the water cooler for jockeys, pulled a bottle of water loose, and raced back to the filly.

Hollendorfer, still dressed in the suit he wore to saddle Cappuchino, the California Derby runner-up, rushed to the stricken filly.

Clerk of scales Paul Nicolo grabbed a hose and was told by trainer Jack Van Berg, who was nearby, that applying ice behind the ears can often revive a stricken horse. Nicolo ran to the jockeys' room to get ice.

Instead of going to the jockeys' room, Baze retrieved the hose, turned the water on, and began to spray the filly as Hollendorfer got on his knees in the mud and tried to minister to Clever Dorcas. A veterinarian arrived to give the filly a shot of adrenaline, and Nicolo returned with the ice, also kneeling in the mud to apply the ice to the back of the filly's head.

Janet Hollendorfer, Jerry's wife and assistant, came running to the scene from the barn area, but she was too late. The filly was declared dead despite the efforts to save her.

As the horse ambulance arrived to take the filly's body back to the barn, Jerry and Janet Hollendorfer walked along the track slowly, side by side, shoulders slumped.

Clever Dorcas was claimed from her debut for $40,000 by Hollendorfer, who was a part owner. She ran seven times for him, winning her maiden for a $12,500 claiming price and later winning a $25,000 claiming race. She earned $28,230.

Sempai bids for fourth straight

Sempai, a 4-year-old gelding who has not lost in 2002, heads a field of seven in Wednesday's feature at Bay Meadows, a six-furlong $40,000 optional claimer.

Sempai was claimed for $20,000 by trainer Art Sherman when he won his comeback race after a four-month break. He won a $40,000 optional claimer for Sherman at Golden Gate Fields when not entered for a tag and won a $40,000 claimer for 4-year-olds at Santa Anita in his last start.

"He's not the best-looking horse, but he shows a lot of heart," Sherman said.