06/20/2012 3:49PM

Hollywood Park notes: Hollendorfer stablemates to clash in Oaks

Shigeki Kikkawa
Killer Graces is 3 for 5 at Hollweod Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Killer Graces and Via Villaggio have won their biggest races at Betfair Hollywood Park, which is why trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has opted to run the fillies against each other in Saturday’s $150,000 Hollywood Oaks.

Hollendorfer considered stakes around the country for the fillies, particularly the Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows on June 30, but has decided to stay in California.

“Sometimes the logistics aren’t viable,” he said. “We’ll pass on that.”

Killer Graces can end a three-race losing streak in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks, which is run over 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic main track. She won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes here last December.

Earlier this spring, Killer Graces underwent a minor procedure to treat a throat ulcer, Hollendorfer said.

“She’s been a nice filly, especially on that track at Hollywood Park,” he said.

Owned by a partnership, Killer Graces has won 3 of 5 starts at Hollywood Park, including the Cinderella and Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old sprinters last summer.

Via Villaggio, by Bernardini, is perfect at Hollywood Park, having won the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes over seven furlongs in a 10-1 upset on May 19. The Railbird was Via Villagio’s first stakes win.

Owned by Steve Beneto, who was named to the California Horse Racing Board last month, Via Villagio has yet to win a stakes around two turns, but won two overnight races over a mile at Golden Gate Fields last winter.

Hollendorfer said Via Villaggio should be more competitive at this stage of her career in longer races.

“We’ll see if she can go two turns,” he said. “She’s bred to do that.

She ran really well last time with [jockey] Martin Pedroza.”

The Hollywood Oaks has an expected field of eight, including the stakes winners Eden’s Moon, Starlight Magic and Willa B Awesome. Customer Base, Open Water and Potesta are the other expected runners.

Baffert may have Gold Cup trio

Trainer Bob Baffert could have as many as three starters in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 7 with Game on Dude, Richard’s Kid, and Prayer for Relief.

Game On Dude won the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on June 2, six days before Richard’s Kid won the minor Prove It Stakes.

Prayer for Relief, third in the Californian, will start in the Gold Cup or the $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows on June 30.

Both Baffert and Hollendorfer may have two starters in the $150,000 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds on July 14.

Hollendorfer plans to start Nonios, the winner of the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap on June 3, and Rousing Sermon, who was eighth in the Kentucky Derby.

Baffert’s runners will be Liaision, second in the Affirmed, and Blueskiesnrainbows, who was third in the Santa Anita Derby but 10th in the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs last month.

Hollendorfer said another option for his 3-year-olds is the $200,000 Dwyer Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park on June 30.

“Maybe we’ll run both in the same race,” he said. “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

** Wednesday, Baffert worked The Factor a half-mile in 47.60 seconds for the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap on June 30. The Factor won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes and Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes during the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, but was sixth in the Golden Shaheen for sprinters in Dubai in March.