01/10/2002 12:00AM

Hollendorfer runs landmark trio in Derby


ALBANY, Calif. - Saturday's Golden Gate Derby may eventually be considered one of the most significant races ever run at Golden Gate Fields.

A field of six 3-year-olds entered the $125,000, 1 1/16-mile, Grade 3 race.

While the race has produced one Kentucky Derby winner, Real Quiet in 1998, it's significance Saturday comes from a stewards' ruling that will allow three horses trained by Jerry Hollendorfer to run as three individual entrants rather than one coupled entry.

Because Hollendorfer is a co-owner of Cappuchino, that horse and two others that he trains but does not own, USS Tinosa and Yougottawanna, were going to run as an entry.

Golden Gate Fields director of racing operations Richard Lewis approached stewards John Herbuveaux, Darrel McHargue and Dennis Nevin on Wednesday asking if the three Hollendorfer-trained horses could run as separate entries. He talked with the stewards at length on Wednesday and again Thursday after they had discussed the issue with Southern California stewards as well as the California Horse Racing Board.

When entries were taken Thursday, the stewards ruled that the three Hollendorfer horses would run as separate interests.

California Horse Racing Board Rule 1606 reads: "Two or more horses shall be coupled as a single wagering interest and as an entry when such horses are owned in whole or in part by the same person or persons."

Stewards had followed a precedent over the years that when a trainer owned part of one horse and ran another in a race, the two would be coupled even if the trainer had no ownership interest in the second horse.

Lewis said the decision on the Golden Gate Derby could have far-reaching effects. "In the long run, this will definitely help northern California," he said. "This is opening a door. It is a significant policy change in added-money events."

By extension, the policy could affect all races, creating more betting interests. This is especially important in northern California, where Hollendorfer and Jeff Bonde often have dominant multi-horse entries. Earlier in the meeting an overnight stakes for juvenile fillies did not fill because four of the handful of entrants were trained by Bonde.

Lewis said that he had approached the stewards because a three-horse entry would have dramatically affected handle, hurting both the track and horsemen's purses.

Had there been only four betting interests, there would have been no show wagering and exotic wagering would have been drastically affected. With six betting interests, there will be show wagering and more attractive exotic wagering in exactas and quinellas. In addition, six betting interests allows for trifecta wagering.

The field for Saturday's race, all of whom carry 120 pounds, will be Danthebluegrassman, owned by Mike Pegram and trained by Bob Baffert, who also teamed up with Real Quiet; USS Tinosa; Cruising Kat; Cappuchino; Yougottawanna and Cable Ready.

Hollendorfer was impressed by Danthebluegrassman's convincing wire-to-wire win in the Gold Rush Dec. 15 and believes he is the one to beat. But he is not conceding a thing.

"That horse was impressive, but he did get a soft lead," Hollendorfer said. "Any horse that's good that gets a soft lead can win like that, but maybe the pace scenario will be different in this race."

The presence of Cruising Kat, who won his maiden at Hastings in British Columbia at 6 1/2 furlongs, then won a six-furlong sprint in his lone start at Golden Gate Fields, could keep Danthebluegrassman from having too easy a time early.

And Hollendorfer is adding blinkers to Cappuchino, who ran third in the Gold Rush.

"I honestly thought he'd run a little better," Hollendorfer said. "He didn't get untracked so we tried blinkers on him and he worked well with them."

USS Tinosa, a stakes winner on both dirt and turf in the Midwest, including two races at today's distance, was the only one trying to push Danthebluegrassman in the Gold Rush. USS Tinosa, who was making his first start in seven weeks when second that day, should benefit from that race and could also benefit if he isn't the one having to apply pace pressure early.

Hollendorfer's third entrant, Yougottawanna, ran a disappointing sixth in the Hollywood Futurity the same day as the Gold Rush. He, too, is a stakes winner on both turf and dirt, and beat the Baffert-trained Officer in the Cal Cup Juvenile.

"He got rank early, and, by the time he settled down, he wasn't running," said Hollendorfer, who took the blame after telling jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. to use him early to get position into the first turn.

"You'd like to run them all good, but competition in California is very tough, and in Southern California it's tougher yet."

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