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Hollendorfer barn works for stakes near and far
DEL MAR, Calif. – Having conquered stakes races at Arlington Park and Hollywood Park last weekend, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer a rrived here at Del Mar on Monday morning to work a number of his top horses, with designs on stakes races both near and far in the days and weeks ahead.
Most notable among his contingent was Blind Luck, who only nine days earlier had won the Delaware Oaks, adding to a sparkling r é sum é topped by the Kentucky Oaks. She went an easy half-mile in 49.20 seconds on the main Polytrack surface.
“That was her first work coming out of the race,” Hollendorfer said. “We’re hoping to run her in the Alabama. If she stays the way she is now, and trains forwardly, that’s the race we want to point for.”
The Grade 1 Alabama, the biggest race for 3-year-old fillies this summer, is held Aug. 21 at Saratoga.
Should Blind Luck run at Saratoga that day, Hollendorfer will be torn as to where to go. Also on Aug. 21 is the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington, where Tuscan Evening is returning following her victory in the Modesty Handicap at Arlington on Saturday. Tuscan Evening was scheduled to fly to Southern California on Tuesday and will train at Del Mar in preparation for the Beverly D.
“That’s why we went back there the other day, to test the turf, see if she could ship and run,” Hollendorfer said. “We’ve been pointing for that all along. I’m very thankful to have one like her.”
Hollendorfer’s other major win last weekend was in the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, where Skipshot upset odds-on favorite Sidney’s Candy.
“We’re going to look at the West Virginia Derby on Aug. 7 for him,” Hollendorfer said. “I’m not saying we’re going to run. We’re going to nominate and take a look at it. If not, I don’t have an alternate plan right now.”
Hollendorfer will have plenty of action the first weekend of the meet here. He said he is strongly considering running Dakota Phone on Saturday in the Grade 1, $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes for older turf horses, owing to a likely small field of, perhaps, seven. Dakota Phone worked seven furlongs in 1:28.40 on Monday morning on the main track at Del Mar.
Hollendorfer also said he will run both Lilly Fa Pootz and U R All That I Am in Saturday’s $75,000 Osunitas Stakes for older fillies and mares. Lilly Fa Pootz worked a half-mile on turf – around orange cones, known as dogs – in 51.20 seconds at Del Mar on Monday.
On Sunday, Hollendorfer will send out City to City in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Clemente Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf .
Eddie Read stars work out
The Usual Q.T. and Victor’s Cry, who could be the top two choices in the wagering in the Eddie Read, both worked five furlongs on the Del Mar turf on Monday morning.
The Usual Q.T., who tuned up for the Eddie Read with a win in a money-allowance race on June 27 at Hollywood Park, was timed in 1:02.80.
Victor’s Cry went the same distance just a tick faster, in 1:02.60. He is coming off a 21-1 upset win in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on May 31.
“I hope that wasn’t just a flash in the pan,” said Eoin Harty, who trains Victor’s Cry. “He’s done great. I’ve always thought he had plenty of ability. He beat a Grade 1 field, and he beat them fair and square.”
Victor’s Cry won an allowance race on the Del Mar turf last summer. In both that race and the Shoemaker Mile, he was ridden by Corey Nakatani, who has returned to Southern California from Kentucky and will have the mount Saturday.
“Corey seems to fit him,” Harty said.
In addition to The Usual Q.T. and Victor’s Cry, the Eddie Read field is expected to include Crowded House, Dakota Phone, Enriched, Hyades, and Loup Breton. Acclamation and Temple City are possible. Battle of Hastings and Riviera Cocktail, among the 12 nominees to the 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read, are expected to await the $75,000 Wickerr, an overnight stakes at one mile on turf July 28.
Sweet August Moon targets Cup
The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs in November is more than three months away, but it is firmly on the schedule of Sweet August Moon, winner of the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap on Saturday.
“That’s the long-range plan,” said Pete Parrella, who owns Sweet August Moon with Team MacPherson.
The 2010 season will be Sweet August Moon’s last chance at such a major racing day. The 5-year-old mare will be retired this winter.
“She’ll go to the breeding shed for sure,” Parrella said.
Trained by Brian Koriner, Sweet August Moon closed from fourth along the rail under jockey Victor Espinoza to win the seven-furlong A Gleam by 1 3/4 lengths over Free Flying Soul, the 4-5 favorite. The A Gleam was Sweet August Moon’s first win since the Grade 3 Las Flores Handicap in April 2009. She was away from racing for nine months, until January of this year, and lost her first four starts of 2010.
“We’ve had a few hiccups along the way,” Parrella said. “Brian deserves a tremendous amount of credit.”
Koriner took precautions to settle Sweet August Moon, who has won 6 of 16 starts and $336,394.
“She ran in a tongue tie and she’d never done that before,” he said. “We brought her over here early, and she still got revved up going to the gate. We figured we’d do everything we could.”
Sweet August Moon could make her next start in the $150,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap for fillies and mares over 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 22.
Plans are uncertain for the Koriner-trained California Flag, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last November at Santa Anita.
Unraced since finishing third in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai in March, California Flag will miss an intended start in the $250,000 Bing Crosby Stakes over six furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 1 because of recurring foot problems, Koriner said.
“We’ve had some setbacks,” Koriner said. “We’ll look at a conditions race or maybe the Green Flash Handicap.”
The $75,000 Green Flash Handicap is run over five furlongs on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 18.
◗ The first season of “Luck,” the HBO television series depicting life on the racetrack, will be shown in 2011 and consist of as many as nine one-hour programs, according to a statement released by Santa Anita. The series will largely be filmed at Santa Anita. Earlier this year, a pilot of the show was filmed there, but the pilot has yet to be broadcast. The series is being produced by horse owner and prominent television producer David Milch.
– additional reporting by Steve Andersen