Hollendorfer Nabs 'Meadows Last Dance

Hollendorfer Nabs 'Meadows Last Dance
Photo: Bill Vassar
The horses and riders face the crowd during the final post parade at Bay Meadows on Aug 17.
Bay Meadows wrapped up 74 years of racing with the $63,450 Last Dance Stakes Aug. 17 and fittingly, it was trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, winner of 37 consecutive training titles at the San Mateo track, who had the honor of winning the final race with a filly named You Lift Me Up.

Frank Alvarado rode the California-bred daughter of Lord Carson to a 2 1/2-length victory over five other 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/16-mile turf event before an appreciative closing day crowd of 10,026.

You Lift Me Up pressed the pacesetter Tiz Madison for six furlongs before taking over in the stretch and driving to victory in a final time of 1:44.44 on firm going.

The Last Dance Stakes was the 10th and final race of the 2008 San Mateo County Fair meeting and the last heat ever contested at the historic horse racing venue, which opened in 1934 and ranked as California's oldest major track.

"I was very excited to win the last race at Bay Meadows," said Alvarado, who vigorously waved his whip in the air after crossing the finish line.  "I wish it wasn't the last one - I wish Bay Meadows wasn't closing.  But it was the last one and I was happy I won it.  I'll never forget this win.  It will be in my head for the rest of my career."

Hollendorfer, a winner of 5,184 races, has long the dominant conditioner at Bay Meadows but was not at the track. He watched the race on television from Del Mar, where he is maintaining a stable this summer. "I'm happy to win the last race at Bay Meadows because I spent a lot of my career there," he said by phone. "I might have a nice filly there."

Hollendorfer won four races at Bay Meadows on Aug. 16. Russell Baze, the jockey with whom Hollendorfer is most closely associated, competed at Washington's Emerald Downs this weekend and missed the finale.

You Lift Me Up, owned in partnership by Hollendorfer and his longtime client George Todaro, $9.20 to win. They claimed the dark bay from Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, who bred her, for $32,000 at Golden Gate Fields June 6. She has won two of three starts and finished second by a nose since then. She made her stakes debut here.

Joyful Me, ridden by Kyle Kaenel, finished second by a half-length over My Maloof Rocker and David Lopez. Sensational Lover, the 11-10 favorite, finished fourth.

Most Popular Stories