Dan Hendricks' Stable Carries On

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Blacksmith Ben Craft paused a moment from shoeing Runaway Dancer at the barn of trainer Dan Hendricks, who was paralyzed from the waist down due to a spinal injury suffered in a motorcycle accident a week ago.

Wiping his brow, Craft noted, "Dan is lucky in the sense that he has the crew that he does," mentioning assistant Francisco Alvarado and foreman Bernardino Ortiz. "You can go a long way with Cisco and Bernardino."

Runaway Dancer, winner of the Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita in October, worked an easy half mile in 51 seconds on the main track under Luis Ortega in his final drill for the $150,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT at 1 1/2 miles on turf Sunday.

Alvarado oversees 11 horses at Hollywood Park while Ortiz is supervising 12 that were recently shipped to Del Mar. Hendricks' wife Samantha, a former exercise rider, also plays a major role in the operation.

"We were shocked when we heard about the accident," said Alvarado, who has worked three years for Hendricks. "I talk to Samantha on the phone every day, and she said that surgery he had Monday (at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla) went well. We are all hoping and praying that he comes back. He is hoping to come back as soon as he can.

"That would be the greatest thing if he could win the Sunset," said Alvarado, recognizing the best medicine to expedite the 45-year-old trainer's recovery.

A field of five to ten is shaping up for the closing-day feature. Probable are: Continuously, Alex Solis, 116; Runaway Dancer, Mike Smith, 115; Leprechaun Kid, Javier Santiago, 114; Star Over The Bay, Tyler Baze, 113, and Gallant, Martin Pedroza, 111.

Possibles include Freddy (116), Gulchie (112), Right Proof (112), Remonte (111) and Night Games (108).

Highweights Sabiango (119) and Vangelis (117) are expected to skip the race.