06/05/2012 3:43PM

Hollywood Park: Hollendorfer mulls options with trio of stakes-caliber 3-year-olds

Benoit & Associates
Nonios, winner of the Grade 3 Affirmed, could run next in either the Iowa Derby or the Swaps at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Decision time is fast approaching for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Sunday, Hollendorfer won the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park with Nonios, who was making his stakes debut and first start outside of Northern California.

The victory has led Hollendorfer to pore over the list of stakes for 3-year-olds around the nation, wondering what best suits Nonios, who has won 3 of 4 starts in his four-month career.

Tuesday, Hollendorfer mentioned the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on June 30 or the $150,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 4 as short-term options for Nonios, who is owned by Green Smith Jr.

“I still haven’t decided on him what I want to do,” he said. “There are a lot of different races for 3-year-olds.”

Hollendorfer also has Rousing Sermon, who was eighth in the Kentucky Derby, as a candidate for the Swaps. Rousing Sermon was third in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in April.

Saturday, Hollendorfer could have a starter in the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/8 miles on turf. His nominees are Killer Graces, winless in three starts since the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes last December, and Via Villaggio, who won her first stakes in the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes over seven furlongs on May 19.

Another option for both fillies is the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks on the main track on June 23.

“I have to make a decision whether I want to run the two fillies in the Oaks or keep one in the Honeymoon,” he said.

Killer Graces was third in the Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf at Santa Anita on April 7. Hollendorfer said she has since been treated for a throat ulcer.

“It seems like she is 100 percent,” he said.

The Honeymoon field is led by Lady of Shamrock, who won three stakes on turf during the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, including the Providencia Stakes.

Richard’s Kid returns in Prove It

Richard’s Kid, the winner of the 2009 and 2010 Pacific Classic, makes his first start in the United States since October 2010 in Friday’s $70,000 Prove It Stakes over 1 3/8 miles on the synthetic main track.

A 7-year-old, Richard’s Kid raced in Dubai in 2011 and earlier this year, but was winless in five starts. The Prove It Stakes, the second race on an eight-race program that begins at 7 p.m. Pacific, will be Richard’s Kid’s first start in the United States since a win in the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita in October 2010.

Valenzuela back to ride Acclamation

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who has not ridden since May 19 because of weight difficulties, met with Hollywood Park stewards on Sunday and has been cleared to resume riding on Saturday.

Valenzuela will ride Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011, in Saturday’s $250,000 Charles Whittingham Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

The 49-year-old Valenzuela, who has 1 win in 26 starts at this meeting, has worked Acclamation on the last two Fridays. The jockey said a better diet has allowed him to get closer to his targeted riding weight of 122 pounds.