01/04/2012 2:16PM

Golden Gate: Trujillo off to winning start


The call down the stretch of Saturday’s first race at Golden Gate Fields by the track’s announcer, Michael Wrona, summed up the story of the day.

“Victor Trujillo really has begun his training career with a bang,” said Wrona, as Summers Peace won a $50,000 optional claimer on the turf.

The victory was the second in two days for Trujillo, who finished second last Thursday with the first horse he officially saddled, Hot Chaco.

The 48-year-old trainer, who first started working at the track at age 17 as a groom, took over the barn for his friend and boss, Chuck Jenda, who retired after the Golden Gate fall meet ended Dec. 18.

Trujillo’s first victory came last Friday with Floating Feather, who also had provided Jenda with his final victory on Dec. 9.

Jenda called Trujillo from his home in Spokane, Wash., with congratulations on Saturday after learning of Summers Peace’s victory.

“Chuck built up the business for me,” said Trujillo. “I thank everyone who stayed with me. I’ve been around quite a while, and I think they have confidence in me.”

Trujillo was the exercise rider for the Jenda-trained Brown Bess, who won the Eclipse Award in 1989 as top female turf runner, and he still exercises horses. He had been Jenda’s assistant since 2001.

Trujillo hopes his hot streak can continue Saturday when he sends out first-timer Beezaroo for the ownership group Linden Trust, which also owns Summers Peace.

“Right now, it’s all good,” he said, “but you have to be prepared. I’ve been around long enough to know it’s not always this way.”

Trujillo’s nine-horse stable diminished by one when Floating Feather was claimed from her victory.

“That’s how the game goes,” Trujillo said.

Trujillo was at Santa Anita the day Brown Bess won the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon, which clinched her Eclipse championship. He still remembers how exciting the victory was.

But Floating Feather’s victory is now etched in his mind, too.

“It was a big thrill,” said Trujillo. “Even though I’ve been around the business a while, it was pretty exciting.”

Baze, Hollendorfer fourth in nation

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Russell Baze both finished fourth in the nation in winners in 2011.

Hollendorfer saddled 251 winners, finishing behind Steve Asmussen (348), Jamie Ness (330) and Todd Pletcher (254). His horses earned $7,866,623 to rank him sixth. Pletcher topped that category with $17,186,956.

Baze rode 295 winners, finishing behind Deshawn Parker (400), Ramon Dominguez (348) and Leandro Goncalves (298). He earned $5,049,717 to rank 40th in money won.

Apprentice jockey Kyle Frey, who got his start at Golden Gate Fields, had the most wins (157) and earnings ($4,049,587) by an apprentice, and is a leading contender for the Eclipse Award for top apprentice. His competition includes Rosario Montanez, who got his first win at Golden Gate Fields, and Ryan Curatolo.

Baze to serve three days

Baze, who leads the Golden Gate Fields jockey standings with 11 victories, will be sidelined this weekend while serving a three-day suspension. Baze was given the days for his Dec. 29 ride aboard Life Is a Rock, who was disqualified from second to third for bothering Hot Chaco while drifting in through the lane.

Baze won five races the first two days of 2012.

◗ Sam Spear’s race replay show, which is in its 34th year, will be shown again on Saturdays. For the past several years, the show ran on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays but will now air Saturdays as well. The show is on San Francisco Channel 26, which is picked up by most cable systems in Northern California.