Yougottawanna, shown upsetting Officer in November, edged Danthebluegrassman in Saturday's El Camino Real Derby.

Yougottawanna, shown upsetting Officer in November, edged Danthebluegrassman in Saturday's El Camino Real Derby.

AP/ Benoit Photo

Golden Gate Race Report: Yougotta Gets it Done

By Jack Shinar
Published in the March 16 issue of The Blood-Horse
Yougottawanna had just spoiled an apparent "set-up" for another of trainer Bob Baffert's talented youngsters, edging favored Danthebluegrassman in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields on March 9. But the man who conditioned the winner, Jerry Hollendorfer, wasn't engaging in any talk about his horse being a "Baffert killer."

"I think Danthebluegrassman is an outstanding colt and I was impressed with how he ran today," Hollendorfer said, noting his rival hadn't started since Jan. 12 and probably needed the race. "I think (Baffert) will have a juicy spot for him in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I, April 6)."

It's a measure of Baffert's success on the Triple Crown trail in recent years that even in what is considered a down year for his Derby prospects, he still captures most of the attention, at least on the West Coast.

But it was Yougottawanna, sent off at 7-1, who had the measure of Baffert's horse this time, coming from off the pace to blast by Danthebluegrassman, then hold him off down the stretch for a three-quarter-length victory. Longshot Lusty Latin came from last in the 10-horse field to finish third, two lengths behind the runner-up. The winner, timed in 1:43.48 over the 1 1/16 miles on a track that was listed as fast despite recent rain, paid $17.80 for the victory.

It was the second time Hollendorfer had engineered an upset by Yougottawanna over a highly touted Baffert runner.

Last November in Santa Anita's Cal Cup Juvenile, the chestnut gelding decisively defeated Baffert's purported 2-year-old super horse, Officer, who was seeking to atone for a disappointing effort in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).

At Golden Gate, the California-bred son of Candi's Gold, owned by breeder Ted Aroney's Halo Farms and Sid and Jenny Craig, did it again. On a three-race losing streak since posting his upset of Officer, Yougottawanna was ridden confidently by Jason Lumpkins, who didn't panic when his horse was shuffled back into eighth place early. He improved his horse's position along the backstretch while chasing moderate fractions of :22.91 and :46.46. As pacesetter Captain Squire battled on the front end with Danthebluegrassman, Yougottawanna moved up three-wide on the final turn, where he encountered Cappuchino, who was beginning to flatten out. In what Hollendorfer later said was the winning move, Lumpkins angled Yougottawanna inside of Cappuchino, and took off after Danthebluegrassman. David Flores, aboard Danthebluegrassman, lost his whip at the top of the stretch and improvised by using an extra pair of goggles to urge his tiring mount through the lane.

The next race for Yougottawanna will probably be a rematch with Danthebluegrassman in the Santa Anita Derby, Hollendorfer said.

"We have this horse nominated to a lot of spots, but as of right now (the owners) would like the horse to run in the Santa Anita Derby," the trainer said.

Hollendorfer said Yougottawanna developed a skin rash after his win in November, and he thought the condition contributed to a pair of dreadful outings that followed. He had a sixth-place finish, 12 lengths behind Siphonic, in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) in December; and a fourth-place, nine-length loss to Danthebluegrassman in the Golden Gate Derby in January.

Yougottawanna finished a much-improved second behind stablemate Cappuchino in his last start, the Golden State Mile on Feb. 10, his first time under Lumpkins.

"At this stage in a 3-year-old's career, funny things happen and they don't run consistently," Hollendorfer said. "All you can do is not give up and make little changes."

Now Hollendorfer is one challenge away--admittedly, a big one--from his dream of starting a horse in the Kentucky Derby.

Hollendorfer had two undefeated 3-year-old colts, King Glorious in 1989, owned by Halo Farms, and Golden Eagle Farm's Event of the Year, in 1998, who would have been major threats on the first Saturday in May, but both missed the big race with knee injuries. In 2000, Hollendorfer's Globalize won the Spiral Stakes (gr. II) en route to the Derby, but didn't make the race when he was kicked in a back leg by a lead pony two days before.

Aroney named his homebred after reading about a self-made millionaire whose motto in life was "You gotta wanna." This spring, Hollendorfer may finally shed his Derby jinx--he's just got to follow the horse's inspiration: Yougottawanna.

(Chart, Equibase)