Haimish Hy rallied from last on the final turn for jockey Garrett Gomez, winning the $250,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) in the final couple of strides by a neck over favored Sebastian Flyte on the turf Nov. 28 at Hollywood Park (VIDEO).
The son of Ecton Park registered an 11-1 surprise for trainer Art Sherman, who co-owns the colt with Zvika Akin, Richard Franco and Sy Goldstein.
A $10,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale yearling in October 2008, Haimish Hy defeated seven 3-year-old rivals in the 1 1/4-mile event in a time of 2:01.20 over firm going.
Gomez, on his first day back in Southern California, earned his first win in the Hollywood Derby aboard Haimish Hy. The dark bay won for the third time in four starts on turf, saving ground into the stretch and angling wide down the lane in an unfettered trip.
After spending nearly eight months riding primarily in Kentucky and New York, Gomez, although still feeling the effects of a shoulder injury he suffered in a Churchill Downs spill Nov. 4, collected his 12th grade I victory of 2010 while riding Haimish Hy for the first time.
“I’m still a little sore and I was pretty much using my left hand more than my right hand, but I felt if I had to use my right hand I could,’’ said Gomez.
Sebastian Flyte, the 7-5 choice, bulled his way between horses for Joel Rosario to get the lead in the final sixteenth, but had to settle for second. Juniper Pass and Brice Blanc finished third.
Both of Haimish Hy's previous wins on the grass came at Golden Gate Fields. He came into the Hollywood Derby after finishing fifth in the nine-furlong Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) over the course, a race in which a lack of pace greatly compromised his late-running chances. The pace wasn't much better this time, but the added distance served the winner well.
Breaking from the outside, Gomez took Haimish Hy back and angled him toward the inside, falling well behind the rest of the field. French-bred Blue Panis, the Oak Tree Derby runner-up after setting the pace, took the lead once again and maintained at least a one-length edge over Citrus Kid and a rank Lions Story, who would fade at the quarter pole. Blue Panis led to mid-stretch while posting even fractions of :24.42, :48.64,1:13.11, and 1:37.33.
Fantastic Pick, the 22-1 Oak Tree Derby winner, moved early along the inside with Citrus Kid, who got the lead briefly with Juniper Pass on the outside and Sebastian Flyte in position as well. There was much jostling about as Sebastian Flyte, after waiting for room from the far turn on, forced his way between horses to get a narrow advantage.
"I had a chance to win because the hole opened up but once I went in it closed up again," Rosario said. "It was pretty bad. I almost fell down."
Haimish Hy avoided all that but still had six rivals left to to beat approaching mid-stretch. He swept past them all while in the middle of the track to get up impressively for Gomez.
“My specific instructions were to keep him on the outside," Gomez said. "I knew the pace wasn’t going to be real strong and I thought I would play it by ear and stay inside for as long as I could. He really wasn’t all that comfortable down there, so I swung him out turning for home and moved him from behind those horses. His heart got big on him and he came home really well for us.’’
Sebastian Flyte held on well for second by a head over Juniper Pass, who finished willingly on the outside. It was a half-length to Citrus Kid in fourth, followed by Fantastic Pick, Jairzihno, Blue Panis, and Lions Story.
Second in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) for Art Sherman's son, Steve, at Golden Gate Fields in February, Haimish Hy was out of action for more than six months after that.
He returned to Art Sherman at Del Mar this summer and won his initial stakes race, the one-mile El Cajon on Polytrack, in his first start back Sept. 3 at 31-1 odds. Sherman then moved Haimish Hy to the turf for the Oak Tree Derby, which was his first start on grass since he won an optional claiming race on yielding ground at Golden Gate in January. He finished well that day to be beaten by 3 1/2 lengths.
The victory was the third in a grade I for the 73-year-old Sherman, all at Hollywood Park.
Haimish Hy earned $150,000 for his fifth lifetime win in 10 starts, more than doubling his career total to $287,900.
William Currin bred the winner in Kentucky. He is out of Tifonica, by Equalize.
Sent off as the second-longest shot on the board under equal weights of 122 pounds, Haimish Hy paid $25.80, $8.20, and $4.80 to win. British-bred Sebastian Flyte, a fast-closing fourth in the Oak Tree Derby in his second start in the United States for trainer Ben Cecil, returned $3.60 and $2.40 and completed an $89.40 exacta. Juniper Pass was $3.80 to show in his stakes debut for trainer Thomas Bell II.