09/06/2012 3:32PM

Fairplex: Going for a Spin looks due in E.B. Johnston


POMONA, Calif. – After five runner-up finishes and a losing streak that lasted one year, Going for a Spin did something different last out. Rather than finish second, she ran fifth.

Going for a Spin’s drought makes her an easy target for skeptical handicappers Saturday at Fairplex Park. Can you blame them? Nine straight losses will temper enthusiasm, even if trainer Jerry Hollendorfer believes she had a valid excuse for her most recent defeat.

“She was kind of trapped with nowhere to go,” Hollendorfer said. “The race was over by the time she started running.”

In a July 29 stakes at Santa Rosa, Going for a Spin never was comfortable. Hemmed in behind a slow pace, she pulled hard while not relaxed and got blocked in deep stretch when she tried to rally. No luck. Favored at 8-5, she was off the board.

Hollendorfer is willing to forgive and forget. Saturday at Fairplex, perhaps horseplayers will be, too. Going for a Spin is the 7-5 favorite in the $50,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for statebred fillies and mares named for the founder of California breeding operation Old English Rancho.

Six entered the race-10 feature on the first of three Saturdays at the Los Angeles County Fair meet. Logical Single makes her second start after a decent comeback; Light Up the Sky gives Hollendorfer and owner-breeder Tommy Town Thoroughbreds a second threat. Ms. G.I. Jane, Party With Brando, and Silic’s Valley are fringe contenders.

Going for a Spin has won four races and $211,452 from 22 starts, and was re-claimed for $40,000 by Hollendorfer and Tommy Town in May, four months after she was claimed away for the same price. While she has not won a race since September 2011, she has maintained form against better than she faces Saturday.

Martin Pedroza, the all-time leading rider at Fairplex with 686 wins, rides Going for Spin. David Flores, who is second all time with 350 wins, rides Light Up the Sky. Hollendorfer suggests bettors give Light up the Sky, the only 3-year-old, a second look.

“If you look at her record, she is ultra-consistent,” Hollendorfer said.

Light Up the Sky has finished in the money eight times from 10 starts this year, with excuses for two subpar efforts – traffic trouble last out and a yielding course in her only other poor effort in April.

Logical Single, owned and bred by Harris Farms, pressed a strong pace and tired late in her recent comeback. Kevin Krigger, who has a slew of live mounts opening weekend, rides for trainer Dean Pederson.

Party With Brando, third in the 2010 Johnston, and Light Up the Sky were supplemented to the stakes for $1,000.