04/09/2013 1:43PM

Golden Gate notes: Luscious Lonna's Golden Poppy win a first for trainer

Vassar Photography
Luscious Lonna, a $6,250 claim, wins the Golden Poppy on Sunday.

Trainer Nick Sloan enjoyed his first stakes victory when Luscious Lonna, a $6,250 claim 13 months earlier, scored a front-running $26.80 upset in Sunday’s Golden Poppy on the turf here. Luscious Lonna defated 12 filly-mare rivals, including four from the Jerry Hollendorfer barn.

“Running on soft turf and against Halo Dolly was a little bit scary,” said Sloan, who joked that Hollendorfer had more runners in the race than he has in his barn.

In fact, Sloan was hoping the race would be switched to the Tapeta main track, even though Luscious Lonna had a win, second, and a third in three turf starts.

Luscious Lonna was Sloan’s first stakes entrant. In fact, he said, “She’s the first horse I ever had to run above the claiming level.”

There wasn’t much strategy involved. Luscious Lonna has speed and drew the rail for the 1 1/16-mile race. Her jockey, Jesus Velazquez, had previously won four times on her. Velazquez did as instructed, putting her on the lead and getting her to relax.

Looking ahead, Sloan said that the 5-year-old Benchmark filly will probably run in an optional $80,000 claimer when another race is offered at that level.

A subplot surrounding the Golden Poppy was Hollendorfer’s bid to overtake King Leatherbury for the No. 4 spot on the list of winningest trainers. Both had 6,375 victories going into Sunday’s races.

Leatherbury’s lone scheduled runner was scratched at Pimlico, and Hollendorfer had four runners in the Golden Poppy but had to settle for second and third with Lady Aspen and heavily favored Halo Dolly.

He did break the tie with Leatherbury when Katie’s Event won the eighth at Santa Anita and Our Cognac Kid won the ninth at Golden Gate Fields.

Hollendorfer could surpass Jack Van Berg (6,417) for third before the end of the year.

Patterson services

Rosary for trainer Dennis Patterson will be held 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at St. Timothy’s Church, 1515 Dolan Ave., San Mateo, Calif. A mass will be offered at St. Timothy’s at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 17.

Patterson, 77, died at his home in San Mateo near the defunct Bay Meadows Racetrack last Thursday.
He won with his first horse, The Most, a $200 purchase in 1957.

Patterson enjoyed some of his best success lately. Multiple stakes winner Run It gave Patterson his first and only graded stakes win in the Grade 3 Berkeley in 2010.

Carbonite won stakes for him in 2009 and 2011, and Patterson developed 3-year-old filly Ciao Bella Luna, who was sold after running second to Marks Mine in the Golden Gate Debutante last December.

Patterson was an author who won an honorable mention in a fiction contest with his short story, “Tack Talk,” which talked about racing from the viewpoint of various pieces of equipment. The story was included in a racing anthology called “Thoroughbred Tales.”