09/08/2009 11:00PM

Futurity looks next for Hollywood Harbor


AUBURN, Wash. - Hollywood Harbor, the leading 2-year-old at Emerald Downs, likely will bypass the restricted Dennis Dodge Stakes on Sunday and run next in the $75,000 Gottstein Futurity on Sept. 26, trainer Chris Stenslie said Wednesday.

Hollywood Harbor topped the list of 12 horses nominated for the $50,000 Dennis Dodge, a 6 1/2-furlong test for statebred colts and geldings named after the late Daily Racing Form Northwest correspondent. Entries for the Dennis Dodge, one of seven stakes races on Washington Cup Day, were to be taken Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Quarter Chute Cafe on the Emerald Downs backside.

"He's nominated, but we haven't decided for sure if we're going in there," Stenslie said. "We wanted to leave our options open, but I'm pretty sure we'll go for the Futurity. We won't do both."

After finishing second in his racing debut June 21, Hollywood Harbor has reeled off three consecutive stakes victories. He captured the restricted Strong Ruler Stakes by five lengths, running 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.60; won the six-furlong Premio Esmeralda by 5 1/4 lengths in a stakes-record 1:09; and took the one-mile WTBA Lads Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths on Aug. 29.

The Gottstein Futurity, Emerald's traditional 2-year-old championship, is at 1 1/16 miles.

"He's a proven sprinter, and he struggled a little bit with that mile," Stenslie said of Hollywood Harbor's effort in the WTBA Lads. "He did it, but that day, that was all he wanted."

Hollywood Harbor set fractions of 45.80 and 1:10.20 en route to a final clocking of 1:36.40. He earned an 80 Beyer Speed Figure, the second-fastest race by a 2-year-old at the meeting.

"I've had a chance to train him some more, and he's fitter now," Stenslie said. "I think he'll finish better than he did, but a mile may be all he wants."

Stenslie said the decision on when to race next would be made shortly before entries close Friday after consultations with co-owner Jody Peetz.

"I think Jody would like to point to the Futurity," Stenslie said. "She has dreams of the Kentucky Derby, also, and she'd like to see if he can handle this distance. She'd like to put him to the test and see how he handles the extra ground."