Doc Holiday used front-running tactics to win Saturday's $106,500 Will Rogers Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park, holding off Johar in the stretch to win the one-mile turf race by a neck. Under David Flores, the 3-year-old Irish-bred son of Dr. Devious completed the distance in 1:34.64 on the firm turf course.
Johar finished four lengths ahead of Golden Arrow, with 8-5 favorite True Phenomenon fourth, and Line Rider fifth.
Doc Holiday won two races as juvenile in Europe but failed to notch a stakes win in five attempts. He did finish third in the Middle Park Stakes (Eng-I), won by Johannesburg. Since switching to Wally Dollase's barn after being purchased by Jarvis Conway and the Jess Miller Trust, Doc Holiday raced in three stakes races prior to Saturday, finishing second in his two latest attempts, including the Ascot Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Bay Meadows last month. Doc Holiday earned $63,900 for the win, his third in 11 career races.
"He ran a good second up north in his last race, and I really like him," Flores said. "He got the lead easy today. I was very comfortable the first half-mile. At the three-eighths pole, I just kind of tapped him a little bit, and he was really ready to go. I waited as long as I could, and when Alex showed up alongside in the stretch, I just asked him and he responded. I mean, he's got a really nice turn of foot, so that makes the game interesting."
"I basically told David just play it by ear and if you get the lead, great," said Aimee Dollase, who saddled the winner for her father. "Some horses, if they get the lead, their hearts get big and that's how this horse is."
Doc Holiday paid $8.40, $3.40, and $3.80 and his mild upset helped cause a $166,631 pick six carryover heading into Sunday's card. Second choice Johar returned $3.20 and $3.80 and completed a $1 exacta worth $11.70. Golden Arrow was worth $5.60 to show.