10/20/2011 2:26PM

Santa Anita: Sahadi retires as trainer

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Benoit & Associates
Trainer Jenine Sahadi greets jockey Tyler Baze after he rode Gotta Have Her to a victory in the 2010 Royal Heroine Mile at Hollywood Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jenine Sahadi, who became the first woman to train the winner of the Santa Anita Derby in 2000 and won two Breeders’ Cup races in the 1990s, has retired from training.

Sahadi, 48, disbanded her stable at the end of the Del Mar meeting last month and recently moved to that area. A trainer for 18 years, she won 441 races, including the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Lit de Justice in 1996 and Elmhurst in 1997 and the Santa Anita Derby with The Deputy in 2000.

Sahadi said Thursday that she intends to remain involved in racing through the Edwin J. Gregon Foundation, which provides collegiate scholarship programs for the children of backstretch workers.

“I already miss the horses,” she said. “I think I was kind of burned out. I wasn’t happy. I was down on horses.”

Known for being outspoken, Sahadi served two terms as the president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers, but said that racing politics eventually wore her down.

“What I don’t miss is all the hostility and verbal abuse,” she said.

She said her relationships with her employees, many of whom were with her for most of her career, were a point of pride.

“You can’t do this on your own,” Sahadi said.

Sahadi’s former assistant, Isaias Morfin, recently took a similar job with Leonard Powell. Other former employees of Sahadi’s are working for different stables.

“Everyone seems to have been placed, and that was one of my preoccupations,” she said.

Sahadi described Fastness, who fought soundness issues, as “the best horse I’ve ever been around.” Fastness won the Grade 1 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park in 1995, the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park in 1996, and the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar in 1995 and 1996.

While admitting to missing the daily connection of being around Thoroughbreds, Sahadi has not ruled out a return to training but has no immediate plans to do so.

“I would never say never,” she said. “There is no greater sport to be involved with. It was an amazing experience for me.”

Hess closing on win No. 1,000

Trainer Bob Hess, Jr. could saddle the 1,000th winner of his career this weekend. Through Wednesday, Hess had 998 career wins, with strong prospects for wins this weekend.

Hess, 46, had two entrants at Keeneland on Friday and has two runners at Santa Anita on Saturday – Wild Rose in the second race and Coal Region Kid in the sixth. At Keeneland on Saturday, Hess starts Funny Sunny in the Raven Run Stakes.

“They all have a shot,” he said.

A friend alerted Hess of the impending milestone this summer, which prompted the trainer to begin following the countdown. Hess, a Southern California native, is the son of Northern California-based trainer Bob Hess Sr, and has trained since 1987.

Blind Luck to sell at Keeneland

Blind Luck, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2010, will sell as a broodmare or racing prospect at the Keeneland November mixed sale, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said.

She will remain with Hollendorfer’s stable in Southern California until next Friday, he said.

“We’re keeping Blind Luck out here in the nice weather,” he said. “We’re preparing her for the sale ourselves.

“She’ll stay at Hollywood Park until the 28th. She’ll be [in Kentucky] in plenty of time for people to look at her.”

Blind Luck has won 12 of 22 starts and $3,279,520, but was last of seven in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 1, the only race in her career in which she finished worse than third.