06/23/2012 12:25PM

Hollywood Park: Tsunami Slew victory further proof Boat Trip has found his niche on grass

Benoit & Associates
Boat Trip, 3 for 3 on turf after winning the Tsunami Slew, will be pointed to the Oceanside on opening day at Del Mar.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – As Boat Trip was walking into the winner’s circle after Friday’s $74,330 Tsunami Slew Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park, trainer Mike Pender was kicking himself.

“I wish I’d switched him to turf a long time ago,” he said.

The surface switch was the right move. Boat Trip has made up for lost time in recent months.

The minor Tsunami Slew Stakes stretched Boat Trip’s unbeaten streak to three on grass, and gave Pender and owners B.J. Wright and James Hirschmann every right to look forward to turf stakes for 3-year-olds at Del Mar this summer.

Boat Trip will be pointed for the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes over a mile on turf on July 18, opening day of that meeting.

Pender has plenty to do with his stable before then. Saturday, Jeranimo starts in the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile, a Grade 1 on turf. A 6-year-old, Jeranimo has won four stakes in his career.

Boat Trip made his stakes debut in the Tsunami Slew, the only stakes of the spring-summer meeting for 3-year-olds around two turns on turf.

Sent off as the 2-1 favorite and ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Boat Trip was third for the first half-mile, racing about three lengths behind pacesetter Tones. Valdivia moved Boat Trip closer to the leaders in early stretch but did not reach the front until the final furlong. In the final sixteenth, Boat Trip stretched his advantage to a half-length, winning the one-mile race by a half-length over Unusual Heatwave in 1:34.68.

Unusual Heatwave, the winner of the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-breds in April, closed from last to be a threat in deep stretch. Canuletmedowneasy, making his stakes debut, finished third in the field of six.

Boat Trip has won 3 of 7 starts and $118,930. A colt by Harlan’s Holiday, Boat Trip was purchased for $100,000 at the Ocala Breeders sale of 2-year-olds in training in March 2011. Boat Trip was winless in four starts on main tracks at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita before Pender switched the colt to turf in late March.

“I knew he had talent but I couldn’t get it out of him until now,” Pender said. “He’s 3 for 3 on turf. It’s not the Triple Crown, but he’s still 3 for 3.”

Jeranimo ready for Shoemaker Mile

Jeranimo will be ridden by Garrett Gomez in the Shoemaker Mile.

Unraced since finishing second in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields on April 28, Jeranimo has thrived with a break between starts, Pender said.

“We’ve spaced his races a little bit more and I think that will be good,” Pender said. “He’s a 6-year-old, but he acts like he’s 3. He’s the star of the barn. He’s the blue collar guy that brings it every time.”

A winner of 7 of 27 starts and $888,400, Jeranimo has shown an affinity for the Hollywood Park turf course, having won the Grade 2 Citation Handicap here last November.

In the Shoemaker Mile, he will face a test from the multiple stakes winner Little Mike and Mr. Commons.