04/23/2013 1:18PM

Hollywood Park: Sacred Ovation's rivals bring light credentials into Henson Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Sacred Ovation has won 2 of his 6 starts and will make his stakes debut Thursday at Betfair Hollywood Park in the $70,000 Harry Henson.

Sacred Ovation had been with Art Sherman’s stable briefly in February when the trainer began to think he found a bargain with the $16,000 claimer.

“I told the owners when I started training him that he could run a little bit,” Sherman said.

Sacred Ovation was second by a nose in an optional claimer in his first start for Sherman, on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on April 4. He earned $11,600 from that race.

The prize will be much greater if he can win his stakes debut in Thursday’s $70,000 Harry Henson at Betfair Hollywood Park. Sacred Ovation, who races for Robert Bach, GP Stables and William Tessar, is ideally suited for the Henson Stakes, which is run over six furlongs on turf for 3-year-olds.

“I really think that the race didn’t come up too tough,” Sherman said.

The Henson drew a field of six, but none of them has won or placed in a stakes.

Sacred Ovation, a winner in 2 of his 6 starts, was claimed twice in his first five races. He began his career with trainer Mike Puype, who lost him for $30,000 to trainer Peter Miller in a maiden race at Hollywood Park last November. Sacred Ovation won that day, and won for $16,000 two races later on the day that Sherman claimed him.

Sherman said he and his clients were attracted to Sacred Ovation because he raced as a gelding for the first time in the $16,000 claimer. In his turf debut at Santa Anita on April 4, Sacred Ovation was second throughout and just missed winning at 10-1.

“I was happy with his first race,” Sherman said of the April 4 race.

There should be a pace for Sacred Ovation to follow in the Henson Stakes. Miller starts Summer Exclusive, who won a maiden race on Santa Anita’s main track over 6 1/2 furlongs in his debut March 2 but was seventh of eight in the Santa Anita Derby over 1 1/8 miles April 6.

Trainer Jeff Bonde, whose horses frequently show speed, will start My Jealous, a gelding who has not started since July. Last year, My Jealous made two starts, winning a maiden race and finishing fifth in the Everett Nevin Alameda County Fair Futurity at Pleasanton.

Sacred Ovation will be ridden by Joe Steiner, who was aboard for the April 4 race.

Sherman enjoying productive year

Sherman’s stable had 14 wins from 124 starters in 2012 but is likely to exceed that annual win total during the spring-summer meeting at Hollywood Park that begins Thursday. So far this year, Sherman has nine wins from 40 starters.

“I’ve got no real stars, but I’ve got several hard-knocking horses,” Sherman said.

On Friday, he starts the 2-year-old colt California Chrome in a maiden race for California-breds over 4 1/2 furlongs. Bred by co-owner Steve Coburn, California Chrome is by Lucky Pulpit.

“He acts like he can run a little bit,” Sherman said.