Jerry Hollendorfer has been snakebitten when it comes to making it to the gate in the Derby. Of the two horses he's brought to Churchill, Event of the Year fractured his knee eight days before the 1998 Derby and Globalize got kicked by the pony, suffering a bad gash, two days before the 2000 running. This year, Hollendorfer is quietly assembling a brigade of 3-year-olds in the hope of finally making the race.
His big horse is Metatron
, a fast, consistent son of Silver Ghost who returned from a four-month layoff on Feb. 1 and demolished an allowance field at Golden Gate, winning by 7 lengths in a blazing 1:09 flat for the 6 furlongs. Metatron, who has an excellent blend of speed and stamina in his pedigree, finished second in last year's Hollywood Juvenile Championship at 6 furlongs and Best Pal Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs, and third in the Del Mar Futurity at 7 furlongs and the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at 1 1/16 miles. He's pointing for the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate on Mar. 9.
Hollendorfer also has the speedy Cappuchino
, winner of the Golden Bear Stakes and second by a nose in the Golden Gate Derby, aiming for the Golden State Mile Feb. 10; and USS Tinosa
, who has won or placed in six stakes at five different tracks, geared for the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Feb. 8. He hasn't decided where to run Yougottawanna
, winner of the Cal Cup Juvenile over Officer and most recently fourth in the Golden Gate Derby; and the maiden winner Lawn Mower
, who was second in an allowance race last time out. One horse Hollendorfer is particularly high on is Neversaynevermind
, who dwelt at the start of his career debut on Jan 26, then came flying late to win by a half-length in the slop, getting his 6 furlongs in 1:11 1/5. Although the son of Victory Speech is way behind, he does have a series of solid 6-furlong works under him. He's being pointed for the Apr. 6 Illinois Derby.Other news
-- The word from Dubai is that there's not much doing with the Godolphin 3-year-olds, 17 of whom have been nominated to the Triple Crown. Stakes-placed Ibn Al Haitham
, who is still a maiden, may be running this Thursday as a prep for the Feb. 28 UAE Guineas, which should also attract Norfolk winner Essence of Dubai
. Assistant trainer Tom Albertrani says it's way too early to assess the 3-year-olds. "We're just waiting to see what catches our eye," he said. Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Imperial Gesture
is slated to make her 2002 debut on Feb. 21.
-- Wayne Lukas suffered a double blow last week, losing his promising Traditional
to injury and seeing Overbrook's stakes-placed Gold Dollar
finish sixth of seven in the Santa Anita allowance race won by Pelirrojo. The one horse Lukas is counting on is Shah Jehan
, the $4.4 million yearling purchase owned by Coolmore. The son of Mr. Prospector worked 6 furlongs in 1:12 2/5 Sunday. Lukas was hoping the colt would be a bit farther along by now, but said he's still 50-50 for Friday's Sham Stakes.
-- Neil Drysdale is seriously considering running Team Valor's maiden, Battler Bob
, in the Sham Stakes. Although second in all three of his career starts, the $425,000, 2-year-old purchase has been beaten a total of only 1 1/2 lengths. With a DI of 1.67, and stamina on top and bottom, he'll only get better and is pretty much in the same league right now as the horses he'll be facing.
-- Nick Zito registered another allowance score last week, as Governor Hickel
shortened up to 7 furlongs, winning by a half-length in 1:24 2/5. The son of Gulch is owned by Mary Lou Whitney.
-- Remsen runner-up Nokoma
, who tired badly in the Holy Bull over a deep track he appeared to struggle with, had his first work since the race, breezing 5 furlongs in 1:01 4/5 Monday. Trainer Todd Pletcher said the work wasn't anything "earth- shattering," but it was "OK," and he'll have a better idea what to do with the colt after he works again next week. We still feel this is a very talented colt.
who set a track record at Saratoga in his career debut, then finished second to Came Home in the Hopeful Stakes, is back working at Santa Anita after suffering a chip in his left, hind ankle. The son of Matty G. breezed a half in :49 2/5, and may be pointed for the San Felipe Stakes.