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History challenge answers: Hollywood a launching point for stars
By Ron Hale
See the questions HERE.
1. On May 9, 1959, Warfare, a grey son of 1954 Kentucky Derby winner Determine, finished fourth in his career debut at Hollywood Park.
Over the next 10 weeks, Warfare started six more times at Hollywood Park, breaking his maiden in his third start and winning the Charles S. Howard Stakes in his sixth start at odds of 20-1. In his next race, he came from far back to finish third in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship.
After finishing third in the Del Mar Futurity in his third race at the seaside track, Warfare shipped east. With consecutive victories in the Cowdin and Champagne stakes at Aqueduct and the rich Garden State Stakes in New Jersey, Warfare convinced voters that he was the best 2-year-old male of the season. The honor made Warfare the first California-bred 2-year-old to be elected year-end champion since the advent of formal voting for seasonal titles began in 1936.
At age 3, Warfare was getting strong support in the Kentucky Derby future book, but he injured a hind ankle shortly after winning Aqueduct’s Swift Stakes and was retired.
2. Landaluce broke her maiden at Hollywood Park on July 3, 1982, winning by seven lengths. One week later, she was back for the Grade 2 Hollywood Lassie Stakes.
As the fillies turned into the stretch, Landaluce was only a couple of lengths in front. In a flash, she was in front by 10 lengths. At the wire, she was 21 lengths ahead of the second horse. Her final time for six furlongs was 1:08, breaking the stakes record by .80 of a second.
After that race, sportswriters and horsemen began comparing her to the great Ruffian.
At Del Mar, Landaluce won the Debutante by 6 1/2 lengths and returned to the winner’s circle as calm as she was before the race.
Landaluce then went to Oak Tree, winning the Anoakia Stakes by 10 lengths and the Oak Leaf by two.
While preparing for her next start Nov. 28 in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet, Landaluce became gravely ill. She died just before sunrise on the morning of the Starlet. The cause of death was a severe E. coli infection.
The following year, Hollywood Park changed the name of the Lassie Stakes to the Landaluce Stakes.
3. The 1980s seemed to belong to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who turned out one champion after another.
Althea was a chestnut daughter of Hall of Famer inductee Alydar, who finished second to Affirmed in all three Triple Crown races in 1978 and went on to be an outstanding sire.
Althea was exceptional at age 2. In three straight starts, she won the Hollywood Juvenile, Del Mar Debutante, and Del Mar Futurity by a combined 31-plus lengths. After Althea won the Grade 1 Santa Susana Stakes (now the Santa Anita Oaks) at age 3, Lukas sent her to Arkansas for her next two starts. Her stunning wire-to-wire victory by seven lengths in the Arkansas Derby remains one of the fastest 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby prep races ever.
Sent off as the 5-2 favorite in Kentucky Derby (coupled with her stablemate Life’s Magic), Althea showed brief early speed and then quit badly. The brilliant time for the Arkansas Derby had probably taken everything out of her, and she was never the same again.
4. Alysheba, another star from the great sire Alydar, finished first, second, or third in five graded stakes before capturing the Kentucky Derby at odds of 8-1.
Before the Derby, Alysheba finished first in the Blue Grass Stakes but was disqualified and placed third for interference. After the Derby, Alysheba won the Preakness Stakes but then finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes to Bet Twice, who had been second in the Derby and Preakness.
At age 4, Alysheba cemented his induction into the Hall of Fame. He won the Charles H. Strub Stakes and Santa Anita and San Bernardino handicaps in his first three starts. In his final four starts, he captured the Iselin, Woodward, and Meadowlands Cup handicaps and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
5. Precisionist was bred and owned by Fred W. Hooper. The chestnut raced 46 times from coast to coast, winning 17 stakes races. He won Grade 1 events at six furlongs, one mile, 1 1/8 miles, and 1 1/4 miles. He swept the Strub series at Santa Anita in 1985, the same year he won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, missing the track record by one-fifth of a second. He won the Eclipse Award for outstanding sprinter that season, even though that was his only win in a sprint that year.
Precisionist was not sterile but was unable to impregnate mares. He spent his final months at Old Friends retirement home in Kentucky before dying of nasal cancer in 2006.
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