09/01/2002 11:00PM

Game victory by Ninebanks in California Turf Championship


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Ninebanks ($10.60) scored his second straight stakes victory over the Longden Turf Course at Bay Meadows when he outdueled Surprise Halo, Spinelessjellyfish and Sea To See down the lane to win the $100,000 California Turf Championship by one-half length over Surprise Halo.

Ninebanks swung three wide into the lane and got past pacesetting Sea To See and Spinelessjellyfish. Surprise Halo rallied along the rail and grabbed the lead but couldn't hold off Ninebanks, who won the one-mile race in 1:35.05 for his fourth victory in six starts over the course.

Ninebanks won the San Matean Handicap in his previous start after Hollendorfer's assistant, Joe Jacot, who works the 4-year-old gelding every day, advised rider Ron Warren Jr. that Ninebanks likes riders to hold their hands higher than other horses.

"That's the way we work in our barn," Hollendorfer said. "We like to communicate and figure things out together. If people who work for you figure things out, that's how you win."

Warren said he was fanned a little wider than he wanted, then added, "He dug in when I asked him and finished nice.

"This horse shows what a great job Joe and Jerry's crew do. Jerry was gone a lot this summer, and this horse is as good as he's ever been. You have to give that crew credit. They're a great team."

Ninebanks, who has won seven of 22 lifetime starts and $267,593, will be pointed to the Cal Cup on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.