Updated on 03/12/2013 10:10AM

Santa Anita: Hear the Ghost upsets in San Felipe

Barbara D. Livingston
Hear the Ghost (5), with Corey Nakatani riding, beats Flashback in the San Felipe.

ARCADIA, Calif. - There were eight horses in the Grade 2, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, but Flashback and Goldencents acted as if the race was theirs, and theirs alone, and it cost them.

Hear the Ghost ($13.80), benefiting from a silly speed duel between the 3-year-old colts heretofore acknowledged as the best Kentucky Derby prospects on the West Coast, rallied from fifth the final half of the 1 1/16-mile race and nailed Flashback near the wire to score a half-length win in this final major prep for next month's Santa Anita Derby.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

The previously unbeaten Flashback, the even-money favorite, won the battle with Goldencents, but lost the war. He finished second, a half-length in front of Tiz a Minister, who finished boldly for third.

Goldencents faded late to fourth and was followed, in order, by Salutos Amigos, Carving, Omega Star, and Kochees.

Hear the Ghost completed 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:42.34, but it was the early portion of the race that told the tale. Both Goldencents and Flashback pulled their way to be in front of the speedy sprinter Salutos Amigos after a half-mile in 45.95 seconds. They were still volleying for the lead after six furlongs in 1:09.94, but both understandably got weary in the stretch.

"I thought this horse had a very good chance to run them down," said Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Hear the Ghost and owns him in partnership with the Halo Farms of Ted Aroney. "I thought they'd put up a very good pace."

Jockey Corey Nakatani took care of the rest. He bided his time watching the Comedy Central special unfold in front of him, then pounced.

Flashback, starting from post 2, took a few strides to finally get into gear, then moved up inside horses heading into the first turn. Salutos Amigos already was on the lead, with Goldencents in hot pursuit. Flashback, for the first time in his life, found himself inside and behind horses.

"He just took off," said his jockey, Julien Leparoux. Flashback roared up three paths wide, outside Salutos Amigos and Goldencents.

Goldencents also failed to rate properly under jockey Kevin Krigger, whose elbows were practically dug into his kidneys. Despite the tight, long hold, Goldencents wanted nothing to do with cooperating, and both he and Flashback overtook Salutos Amigos.

Hear the Ghost, by Ghostzapper, was making his third start after two outings at six furlongs. He won his debut at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 15, then was second in the San Pedro Stakes here on Jan. 21.

According to Hollendorfer, Hear the Ghost was gelded after his debut, and before the San Pedro.

"He wasn't acting right," Hollendorfer said. "He was very difficult to handle then."

Hear the Ghost was purchased as a yearling by Hollendorfer for $40,000.

The San Felipe was worth 85 points overall, with 50 to the winner, under the points system instituted this year by Churchill Downs to determine eligibility to the May 4 Kentucky Derby.

"We're allowed to be on the trail, I guess," Hollendorfer said.

RICARDO H More than 1 year ago
AZ Wildcat More than 1 year ago
Here is your Kentucky Derby winner. He looks and runs like his sire. Watch what happens when Tiz a Minister comes alongside Hear the Ghost. Most of the Ghostzappers are fairly wirey and have pretty light frames, this one has some meat on him.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Upset? I loved the horse.
thndrcpr More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure about the winner or the other closers as those two were really tired and they just made up a lot of ground quickly in comparison. It set up for them perfectly and Flashback almost pulled it out. He's still learning, I wish he had learned more in this race instead of going for just the win. I would have kept him behind the #7 horse and Goldencents and even let Nakatani try and pin me in knowing I was on a big powerful horse that could bully his way to the lead on the turn for home if need be, and that he was the best horse in the field and needed to learn something as he was likely going to be a top five choice in the Kentucky Derby.
morton erskine More than 1 year ago
Another great ride by Nakatani.....Maybe he will smell the roses..Wake up California Trainers!!!!
Guy More than 1 year ago
Very fun race to watch. The ONLY things that matter on the first Saturday in May is the trip the horse gets and the weather. The BEST 3 year old does not always win the KY Derby.
Bau Ho More than 1 year ago
Of course, just ask Point Given.
Tom Temple More than 1 year ago
AND Curlin
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
and many others!
Mark More than 1 year ago
And union rags
. More than 1 year ago
And Lookin At Lucky
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Native Dancer,anyone?
Barry Taylor More than 1 year ago
Holy Bull. End of story!
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
True of any race----
Andy More than 1 year ago
Tiz A Minister made an impressive, one run move from being 20+ lengths and double digits most of the race. Hear the Ghost looks like he can run all day long.
Andy More than 1 year ago
"from being 20+ lengths and double digits "behind" " Whoops.
Kimberly Martin More than 1 year ago
He ran great, considering how far back he was. I missed my cold tri - had 2/5/6 - but got the 2&5 mixed up! oops - my bad. Shoulda boxed like I did in the exacta...which I hit ($38! LOL)
Dan C More than 1 year ago
If modern thoroughbreds could get five or six starts in at two the trainers and the horse would have it figured out better at this stage of the game.
Infinity More than 1 year ago
Gelded, too bad.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
As a whole horse he wouldn't have been there to win it.
cody e More than 1 year ago
Hollendorfer is a far superior trainer to either Baffert or O'Neill. And evidently Corey N. can read a racing form. It wasnt hard to see the speed duel set up between the two favorites.. Next time maybe Julien and Krigger might ought to take a look at the form. Lets see what happens when all three of them meet at the SA Derby... You guys that think Ghost is a fluke, wait and see...
. More than 1 year ago
Blah blah blah
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
now that i like!