03/13/2012 1:39PM

Golden Gate Fields: Hollendorfer finds another good 3-year-old in Nonios


Nonios was impressive winning his debut in a six-furlong maiden race on Feb. 11. Last Saturday, he was spectacular winning a Golden Gate first-level optional $32,000 claimer at one mile.

A son of Pleasantly Perfect, Nonios gives trainer Jerry Hollendorfer yet another candidate for major 3-year-old stakes, joining the likes of Russian Greek, Rousing Sermon, and Longview Drive. Nonios has yet to be nominated to the Triple Crown.

Nonios won his debut by 2 1/4 lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 79. He won Saturday’s race by six lengths over Unveiled Heat, who finished fourth in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby.

The winning time was 1:37.43 and earned a 91 Beyer, higher than multiple stakes winner Russian Greek has ever earned and equal to the figure earned by stablemate Rousing Sermon while finishing second in the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity in December. Longview Drive earned a 97 when running third in the Grade 3 Sham earlier this year at Santa Anita.

A $73,000 Ocala purchase for Green Smith last April, Nonios trained regularly at Hollywood Park until June 24, when he went to the sidelines. He returned to the track in November at Pleasanton with the first of 12 works before his debut.

His sire is a Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pacific Classic winner, so distance doesn’t appear to be a problem for Nonios. His winless (0 for 3) dam, Stylish Manner, is by Belmont winner Touch Gold, and she has three winners from four foals, including a pair of black-type runners.

After 36 years in racing, trainer starts first horse

As a groom and assistant trainer, among other positions on the backstretch, Arnold Torres has had some big moments in a racing career that goes back to the 1970s. But Torres had perhaps his best moment in racing on Sunday when he saddled his first starter as a trainer.

His horse Burley’s Leap, the 9-5 favorite in a $6,250 claimer at a mile, unleashed a strong wide kick moving from last into contention at the top of the lane and finished fourth.

“This was exciting, not disappointing,” said Torres. “The future holds good things.

“I’ve been working at the track for 36 years and been with a lot of nice horses. I worked with Richard Fuller and have been an assistant for Bud Miller for 11 years. In 1979, I was working with Jerry Hollendorfer.”

Torres was the groom for the Ron McAnally-trained Olympio, who won the $100,000 Sausalito at Golden Gate Fields in 1991 in his final prep before winning the Arkansas Derby.

Torres, who owns Burley’s Leap with Santos Cerna, has five horses in his stable with a couple of younger runners due to come in shortly.

“This is real exciting for me, and you’ll see me out here for a long time,” said Torres. “I’m not a quitter.”

◗ Ten fans attending Golden Gate Fields on Saturday will be chosen to compete in a horseshoe pitching contest. The first fan to toss a ringer will receive $100,000. If no one records a ringer, the person closest will receive a four-person turf club package.