Hollywood Park Race Report (Cont.)

Give jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. credit for nearly pulling off a heist in broad daylight. Valdivia had conserved Night Patrol for a mile, and turning for home, he finally cut the Storm Boot gelding loose. With a furlong to run, it looked like an upset. Gomez, however, was ready to roll, and he timed it all to perfection. Denon soon stormed by, winning by 1 1/4 lengths. Night Patrol outlasted 3-2 favorite Skipping by a head, preventing a Frankel one-two finish. Bred by Flaxman Holdings and co-owned by Edmund Gann, Denon covered the distance in 2:01.47.

Plenty of Adoration
Gomez foiled Valdivia earlier on the card, this time guiding Adoration to victory in the $266,800 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II). Dirt or turf, it doesn't matter. At this point, there's no telling how good Adoration is.

"She's got a great stride and she's built perfect," said Gomez. "I mean, you look at her and just say, 'Wow, that's beautiful!' "

Owned by John and Jerry Amerman, who were away in Greece, Adoration is a sight. So far, she hasn't done much wrong, either. Last seen leading all the way to win the Senorita Stakes (gr. IIIT), Adoration didn't seem to mind the switch back to dirt for the 1 1/16-mile Oaks. Displaying a new versatility, the daughter of Honor Grades settled off the pace before attacking favored Saint Bernadette on the turn. With Sister Girl Blues joining the fray as well, the three fillies charged to the wire. Trained by David Hofmans, Adoration fought on to win by a length, while Sister Girl Blues, making just her second start, beat out Saint Bernadette for second.

"I think her mind's a little different on the grass," the jockey said. "On the grass, the pace is so much slower she's got time to look. You put her on the dirt, the fractions are a little bit faster and she doesn't have time to mess around as much. It's keeping her focused on her job at hand. What's so neat about her is she's either/or."

Right now, however, Adoration's just plain good.


Swiss Timing

During the summer of 1996--before Free House and Silver Charm became names to remember--the best 2-year-old out West was one Swiss Yodeler. Now eight, the son of Eastern Echo is proving the fire isn't gone. In fact, when it comes to 2-year-olds, there isn't a hotter sire around. Swiss Yodeler's first crop has been setting the track on fire this summer, and the young stallion got another feather in his cap on June 16 when his son Oberwald, following right in his daddy's footsteps, captured the $91,950 Haggin Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs. Owned by Heinz Steinmann and trained by Mike Harrington--the same men who campaigned Swiss Yodeler--the bay colt gradually took over on the far turn and beat Royal Place by a 1 1/2 lengths. Named for a forest in Switzerland, Oberwald is now two for three. The July 20 Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) is next. b

AT THE WIRE

A crowd of 14,782 turned out for the Californian card. Take it with a grain of salt, though. The number was skewed by those who whipped through the turnstiles more than once in order to collect a couple extra Bob Baffert bobblehead dolls...Following the Californian, trainer Bobby Frankel indicated that Mizzen Mast, last seen in his Strub Stakes (gr. II) smasher, is slated to return in the Aug. 4 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar...One of Milwaukee Brew's prime opponents in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) will be Sky Jack. The Jaklin Klugman gelding rolled off five-eighths in 1:01 and change the morning of the Californian, a move trainer Doug O'Neill described as "fantastic"...Timely Action made it two straight on June 13, impressively taking a seven-furlong allowance by four lengths. A homebred racing for owner Herman Sarkowsky, the 3-year-old Gilded Time colt should see stakes activity soon. He is trained by Richard Mandella...With a month to go at the current meet, Pat Valenzuela holds a commanding 12-win advantage over Laffit Pincay Jr. in the jockey standings ...The afternoon of June 13 belonged to apprentice rider Kevin Krigger. A lanky 18-year-old native of the Virgin Islands, Krigger scored his first ever Hollywood hat trick, topped by a two-length win aboard the maiden Caveolin in the allowance feature on grass...Trainer Kory Owens is looking for a big summer from Top Hit following a last-to-first score in a 7 1/2-furlong sprint on June 14. The 4-year-old Twining colt, winner of last year's Oklahoma Derby (gr. III), won by a length for his owners, Triple AAA Ranch...The July 6 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at seven furlongs is the next target for 8-year-old Kona Gold, though trainer Bruce Headley mentioned his appearance is contingent on apt weight assignments.

(Chart, Equibase)

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