01/19/2012 2:21PM

Hollendorfer trio looms large in California Oaks


Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has the filly to beat in Saturday’s $100,000 California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields.

But which of his three entrants is it?

Is it Lady of Fifty, who has won the six-furlong Golden Gate Debutante and one-mile Corte Madera in wire-to-wire fashion in her past two starts?

Is it Sweet Nothings, who followed up a maiden victory on the turf with a runner-up effort against Lady of Fifty in the Corte Madera, losing by a half-length?

Is it Milania, the runner-up in three Northern California sprints before stretching out to Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile distance and scoring an odds-on maiden victory at Hollywood Park?

The Hollendorfer trio has four rivals Saturday at the Albany, Calif., track: Distant Image, who is stakes-placed at this distance; Your Special Day, fourth in the Grade 3 Miesque in her last start; La Chispa, a recent maiden winner; and Run the Blues Away, who was fourth in the Corte Madera.

Lady of Fifty won the previous two stakes for the division, the Golden Gate Debutante and the Corte Madera, by running head to head for the lead much of the way.

“She’s been game,” said Hollendorfer. “She’s been game every time.”

Russell Baze, who rode the filly in her debut victory, will take over the riding assignment on Lady of Fifty, who had Kevin Krigger aboard for her last three starts.

“She’s a proven commodity,” Baze said. “I rode her early, and I’ve always liked her.”

Despite her two wire-to-wire victories, Hollendorfer believes Lady of Fifty can run well no matter where she is placed. She came from third place, a length off the lead, in her six-furlong debut.

“I think if somebody would go early, she’d settle in and run her race,” he said.

Sweet Nothings was closing in the Corte Madera at a mile, and this daughter of Street Cry should appreciate the added distance.

“She ran well when she got the chance last time,” Hollendorfer said.

Sweet Nothings has worked steadily since the Dec. 3 Corte Madera, with a pair of bullet drills.

Milania has been working at Santa Anita since her Nov. 17 victory at Hollywood Park. Her past six works have all been at six furlongs so she should be plenty fit. She had a bullet work of six furlongs in 1:12.60 last Sunday.

“We’re going to give her a chance to be stakes placed this weekend,” said Hollendorfer.

Trainer Ed Moger Jr. has been pleased with the development of Distant Image. She started at the bottom claiming level of $12,500, but ran third at this 1 1/16-mile distance in the Soviet Problem at Fresno and then won a starter allowance race at this distance on the turf in her last start.

“I think the distance will be no problem, and there’ll be a good pace,” said Moger. “My filly tries hard, but she’ll have to step up.”