Hollywood Park Report: Queen of the West

Hollywood Park Report: Queen of the West
Photo: AP/Benoit Photo
Lazy Slusan, en route to her Milady Handicap victory Sunday.
Published in the June 9 issue of The Blood-Horse
Paula Dolan stood on the edge of the winner's circle, watching her son John speak live to a TVG audience. Her look was of equal parts delight and utter pride, made possible by the magic of a single mare.

"It's been a godsend," she conceded. "He's worked hard for it."

It's a sight she should get used to. If there were any doubts about who's queen of the hill out West these days, Lazy Slusan put 'em on ice on June 3, running away with the $254,300 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/16 miles.

For trainer John Dolan, who owns Lazy Slusan in partnership with Sam Longo, the Milady was simply another checkpoint on a whirlwind trip that commenced last summer, when he claimed the ram-tough daughter of Slewvescent for $62,500. They haven't looked back since.

And what a ride it's been. Lazy Slusan has made 11 starts for Dolan and Longo, and amazingly, the former plater has won seven stakes in the process. Only once during that run has she been worse than third.

"So far, the only one race that I was scratching my head a little bit about was the Cal Cup (Matron), where she ran fourth," Dolan admitted. "She was kind of far out of it, and the speed held that day. I was really not even in the race. But other than that, she's been unbelievable."

The crowning moment came in March, when the 6-year-old gave Dolan his first grade I win by stunning Spain in the last strides of the Santa Margarita Handicap. The Milady was even more impressive. Eased off of Feverish's quick pace early on, Lazy Slusan revved her engines with three furlongs to run, and her four-wide blast around the bend put her in the mix turning for home. The others had no answer. Under Victor Espinoza, Lazy Slusan took over for good at the eighth pole, pulling clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Lady Melesi, shipped in from Chicago for trainer Rusty Arnold, beat Feverish out of second.

With the score, Lazy Slusan pushed her lifetime earnings over the million-dollar mark. More than $750,000 of that has come since Dolan dropped the claim slip last July. More importantly, he now has a legitimate contender in a division pining for a star. Naturally, the $2-million Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) in October is already on his mind.

"It's kind of like a fairy tale," said Dolan, a look of "Wow!" splashed across his face. "I don't know what to say."

No need. Lazy Slusan's doing all the talking on the track.

Ready to Go
There's not a hotter horse around right now than Go Go. Since last October, the daughter of Falstaff has been iron-hot for trainer Warren Stute. She's won four stakes, including a trio of grade IIIs, and she's done it on both surfaces. In February, she dealt the fleet La Feminn her first defeat. And save for a subsequent loss--by a nose, no more--to La Feminn in a memorable sprint down Santa Anita's hillside, Go Go hasn't been touched in her last seven outings.

Her half-length decision over Kalookan Queen in the $106,000 Desert Stormer Handicap (gr. III) on June 2 was her finest performance yet. Kalookan Queen, however, forced her to earn it. Making her first start in nearly 14 months for trainer Bruce Headley, the Lost Code mare ripped through a half in :44.42, but when Go Go finally came at her near the eighth pole, Kalookan Queen still wouldn't back down. Go Go soon took over though, hitting the wire in 1:08.09, a stakes record.

"Actually, every race that's she's run it seems like she just impresses you," said her rider, Eddie Delahoussaye. "She's just a good filly. Warren has done a great job, and she's on her game."

Go Go is owned by Paula and Alan Thomas, and their son, Roger.  

(Chart, Equibase)

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