Dollase's Stakes Stars Set for Hollywood
Date Posted: 3/23/2008 8:56:26 PM
Last Updated: 3/26/2008 2:28:35 PM

Craig Dollase has finalized next race plans for his handicap stars Monterey Jazz and Awesome Gem.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
By Jon White

Monterey Jazz, who finished 12th as the 7-2 favorite in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), will run next in the Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT), according to trainer Craig Dollase.

The Inglewood is scheduled for May 3 at Hollywood Park.

“After that, we’re looking at the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT), or we might go out of town with him and run him in the Met Mile (gr. I),” Dollase said. “Those two races are run the same day (May 26).”

Monterey Jazz, owned by A & R Stables LLC and Class Racing Stable, faltered in the Santa Anita Handicap after opening up a 12-length lead with a half-mile left to run. It was the biggest lead with a half-mile to go in the history of the ’Big Cap, which was being run for the 71st time. Earlier at the Santa Anita meet, the Kentucky-bred son of Thunderello–Reefside, by Dynaformer, won the Strub Stakes (gr. II) on the main track and the Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the turf.

Meanwhile, Awesome Gem, who finished seventh in the Santa Anita Handicap for Dollase, also is expected to make his next start early at the upcoming Hollywood Park meet.

“We’re pointing him for the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II),” said Dollase, who is based at Hollywood Park. “By running him there, we can just walk him over from his own stall. It’s a nice home court advantage. Our main goal for him at Hollywood Park is the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I).”

The Mervyn LeRoy will be renewed April 26. The Hollywood Gold Cup is June 28.

Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Awesome Gem finished third behind Curlin and Hard Spun in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27. The gelded son of Awesome Again  –Piano, by Pentelicus, then finished third in Santa Anita’s San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) Feb. 9 prior to the Santa Anita Handicap.

Dollase said he felt that Awesome Gem “was just flat” in the Santa Anita Handicap. “So we backed off him a little bit after that,” the trainer added. “We backed off Monterey Jazz a little bit, too. It seemed like a good time to give them both a little bit of a reprieve.”

Monterey Jazz and Awesome Gem now both are being cranked back up, Dollase said, and “will probably breeze in the next few days.”


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