06/26/2012 2:03PM

Pleasanton notes: Hollendorfer has five shooters for stakes

Benoit & Associates
Halo Dolly, with Joe Talamo riding, wins the Fran's Valentine.

Northern California will hold its first stakes of 2012 for older fillies and mares Saturday at the Alameda County Fair.

The $50,000-added Alameda County Fillies and Mares Stakes at 1 1/16 miles drew nine nominations, including five from trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The group includes the 3-year-old filly Sweet Nothings, who at least got to run in the California Oaks, where she placed second, and Golden Poppy, where she placed third, at Golden Gate Fields.

Hollendorfer’s nominees also include Halo Dolly, who comes off a victory in the May 20 Fran’s Valentine at Betfair Hollywood Park; Cathy’s Crunches, winner of three Northern California stakes as a 2-year-old and placed in four stakes last year as a 3-year-old; Anniversary Girl, who won her Northern California debut in a $62,500 optional claimer on the turf at Golden Gate Fields on May 20; and recently reclaimed Go for a Spin.

Hollendorfer has always had Halo Dolly, who won Santa Rosa’s Diamond Jubilee and the Solano Beach at Del Mar last year, stabled at Golden Gate Fields, shipping her to Southern California for stakes.

Cathy’s Crunches made her first start of 2012 on June 9 at Golden Gate Fields and began her return with the first two works for the comeback recorded at Pleasanton before moving to Golden Gate.

Also nominated were stakes-winning Top Debutante, Inner Groove, Big Time Sunshine, and Blazethepaige.

Sunday’s $50,000-added Alamedan Handicap drew only six nominees, but Hudson Landing, Positive Response, Acaffella, and Gladding are stakes winners.

Gryder heading south

Aaron Gryder will relocate to Southern California next week. Gryder, who has 3,555 wins, has been based in Northern California for the past year and won the Golden Gate Fields summer meet last year.

Gryder’s children live in Southern California, and he spent his off days there with them.

Gryder became one of the faces of Northern California racing during his time here with appearances on local television to promote the sport. He also allowed a Stanford University student to follow him and film a documentary for a student project, saying, “I hope it will help build interest in racing for the other students that see the film.”

International racing at Pleasanton

Trainer Helen Shelley sent out the first two finishers in the first graded Arabian stakes at the Alameda County Fair when Sand De Wind and Quick Sand PW defeated odds-on favorite Golly Bret in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup.

After the race, Lara Sawaya, Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, as well as the head on the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities Ladies Racing, announced that Pleasanton would be the site of two major Arabian races next year.

“We want to support California and Arabian racing,” said Sawaya, whose group was involved with two races in Texas at Lone Star as well as California.

The Cup will be run again with a $10,000 purse increase to $30,000, and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship for female riders would be presented for the first time in California with $25,000 in prize money.

The international Arabian racing organization offered added purse money for a series of Arabian races on the Northern California fair circuit last year and was pleased by the reception of fans and racing officials. Shelly won the Wathba Stud Farm Cup at Pleasanton last year with So Big Is Better.

“Last year was a very good year,” said Sawaya, who said the response prompted the decision to run the group’s first graded race at Pleasanton.

“Everyone at the fair was involved, and the fair was very proud to host the event.” Sawaya said that Jeanne Wasserman, who directs the fair’s satellite facility, “did good work with the state of California to help us bring the race here.”

The international group helped by recruiting top runners from other states and paying the workers’ compensation insurance premiums for participating trainers.

There was much local support for the fair’s efforts.

The Diablo Arabian Horse Association provided costumed Arabian riders, who performed before the race. The Arabian Racing Association of California, whose chairperson, Susan Willis of Los Angeles, attended the race; the Arabian Racing Cup, represented by chief steward, Dr. Ted Wright of Chattanooga, Tenn.; and the Arabian Jockey Club, whose president Kathy Smoke attended the event from Michigan, also provided support.

Seminar action

Local trainer Jeff Bonde gave out a winner at Saturday’s racing seminar when he told everyone to bet Munnings Sister in the California Wine Stakes.

Munnings Sister turned in an impressive performance, going wire to wire and pulling away in the lane as she won by 4 1/4 lengths.

Trainer Tim McCanna said he felt a lot of pressure going into the race.

“I talked with Jeff earlier,” he said after the race. “He told me he’d talked about the filly at the seminar and that I better not let him down and make him look bad in his hometown.”

On Saturday, Bonde will be one of the guests along with fellow trainer Billy Morey and retired jockeys Jim Burns and Kyle Kaenel at a special morning workout seminar, a ticketed event that includes special early admission to the fairgrounds. The seminar will be at 8:30 a.m. and will include free doughnuts as fans watch workouts on the track.

Bonde, Morey, and Burns will analyze the workouts, and Kaenel, who won 608 races in a career cut short by injuries, will discuss and demonstrate jockey techniques.

Tickets for the seminar will be available at Thursday’s and Friday’s seminars.