11/23/2012 1:48PM

Hollywood Park: Re-claims pay off with stakes victories

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Benoit & Associates
Killer Bear wins the On Trust Handicap at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The fastest way to win a stakes for older California-breds this month is through the claim box.

On the weekend of Nov. 17-18 at Betfair Hollywood Park, the former claimers Killer Bear and Going for a Spin won stakes months after being claimed by owners who were previously involved in their careers.

Killer Bear, a 5-year-old horse by Northern Devil won the $78,200 On Trust Handicap over 7 1/2 furlongs on Nov. 17, his 47th start and first stakes win. He was claimed three times earlier this year, including twice by his current owners – a partnership led by Selman Shaby.

Going for a Spin, a 4-year-old filly by Ministers Wild Cat, won the $78,200 Cat’s Cradle Handicap for fillies and mares over 7 1/2 furlongs on Nov. 18. Bred by Tom and Debbie Stull, Going for a Spin was claimed away from them in January for $40,000 and then taken back for the same price here in May.

Shaby and a few partners claimed Killer Bear with trainer Jeff Mullilns for $25,000 from a fourth-place finish in an optional claimer here in June. They had an immediate return on their investment when he won a similar race at Del Mar on July 18, earning a purse of $42,600.

But previous trainer Steve Knapp claimed Killer Bear for $25,000 that day only to lose the horse for $32,000 to Shaby and partners BG Stable, Louis Giardano, Scott Rudolph, and Joe Thomas at Del Mar on Aug. 4.

Killer Bear was later ninth in an optional claimer in September and fourth in a $40,000 claimer in October – with no claims submitted – before he ran in the On Trust.

The quirky distance of the race was in Killer’s Bear advantage, Shaby said.

“We’d been eye-balling this race,” he said. “The horse needed 7 1/2 furlongs.”

Killer Bear earned $48,200 from the On Trust win. He could start in a variety of races in coming months – a high-priced claimer, an optional claimer, or even a stakes such as the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes over 1  1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 26.

Killer Bear is the first stakes winner for his dam, Tennis C. Waltz, a 19-year-old by Seattle Dancer.

With the On Trust stakes win, Shaby can claim success as the leader of the partnership, even if he does poke fun at himself.

“I feel like a genius, but I am an idiot,” he said.

The Stulls own Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez, Calif., one of the state’s leading farms.

Going for a Spin is by Ministers Wild Cat, who stands at Tommy Town.

Going for a Spin is out of Gender Motors, a 15-year-old mare by Mr. Greeley who earned $159,374 racing in claiming and allowance races in the Midwest.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Going for a Spin won her second stakes in the Cat’s Cradle. She won the E.B. Johnston Stakes at Fairplex Park in September and was later third in the Las Madrinas Handicap there and third in the Miss America Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in October.

Going for a Spin has earned $146,400 this year, her best season on the track. Tom Stull said that Going for a Spin’s success will result in a 5-year-old season in 2013.

“If she runs like this, I’ll have to,” he said while leaving the winner’s circle. “She’s only 4. She’s got a good year to go.”

◗ Unbridled Energy, winner of the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita in 2006, will stand the 2013 breeding season at Golden Eagle Farms, the farm announced last week. Unbridled Energy, 10, will stand for $2,500 and will be the property of a syndicate that includes Golden Eagle Farms. By Unbridled’s Song, Unbridled Energy previously stood for $3,500 at Pin Oak Lane Farm in Pennsylvania. Unbridled Energy is the sire of the Prairie Meadows stakes winner Sterling Madame.