08/10/2010 1:49PM

Hog's Hollow going longer for Gallagher

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DEL MAR, Calif. – It took Hog’s Hollow 15 starts before he finally broke through with a maiden win. His trainer, Paddy Gallagher, is hoping winning now becomes contagious.

Hog’s Hollow, who improved sharply with the addition of blinkers when he defeated maidens going 1 1/8 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on July 10, steps up to a first-level allowance and stretches out to 1 3/8 miles on turf for Thursday’s featured seventh race at Del Mar, which carries a purse of $57,000.

“I don’t know if it was the blinkers. He had run some good races, and been beaten by some nice horses,” Gallagher said. “They went quick up front the other day.”

The longer distance is not likely to produce a similar quick pace. It will be up to the meet’s leading rider, Rafael Bejarano, to adjust accordingly. Bejarano rode Hog’s Hollow for the first time in that July 10 victory.

Gallagher also sends out Tripitaka, who finished second in a similar race on July 22. That gives Gallagher two excellent chances in the field of eight older horses. Tripitaka has steadily improved since being imported from Great Britain. This will be his fourth start for Gallagher.

“His last race was a good race,” Gallagher said. “His first race was too short, but he’s come back and run well in both his next two starts. He ran well at a mile and three-eighths. Hog’s Hollow, we’re not sure he can run that far. But the way he finished going a mile and an eighth the other day, it looks like he’ll go farther.”

The primary challenger to Gallagher’s duo appears to be Falcon Rock, who has raced against better company – including a win at this level on March 6 – but is eligible for this race because he is being risked for a $40,000 claiming price under the optional-claiming conditions of the race. Falcon Rock most recently finished third in a second-level allowance on June 10 at Hollywood Park. He is adding blinkers for Thursday’s race.

Like Falcon Rock, Dynamic Range is also entered for a $40,000 claiming price, and is dropping in class. He was fourth in the Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 18, his lone start since being claimed for $40,000 off a second-place finish at this condition on May 20. He certainly fits with these, and he ran well here last summer, earning a win and a third in two starts.

Teafatiller is the one to catch. He led from start to finish when beating a California-bred first-level allowance field going 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park on July 16.