Quick. Name the guy who's got the top two distaffers on the West Coast. Bobby Frankel? Good guess, but no. Richard Mandella? Uh-uh. Gotta be Ron McAnally, right? Wrong. Not counting Manistique and Riboletta, who combined to clean the table of nearly everything in sight this year, only one man has been able to pick off anything of significance in the local division for older fillies and mares. With the late-season flowering of both Smooth Player and Feverish, the Dan Hendricks barn has jumped front and center with a proper one-two punch for 2001. But Hendricks has long admired the adeptness of Smooth Player, who has popped in and out of the graded ranks for years and simply hasn't been better. Feverish, like her stablemate, has been a monument to reliability from the moment she entered the Hendricks stable. However, the 5-year-old daughter of Pirate's Bounty, owned and bred by Marty and Pam Wygod, has pretty much raced in Smooth Player's shadow throughout her career. She's played second fiddle long enough, and on Dec. 23, Feverish showed she's ready to take on Smooth Player or anybody else who comes along after a compelling victory in Hollywood's $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II). A quick start put Feverish right on the lead in the 1 1/16-mile Bayakoa, and tugging hard against Eddie Delahoussaye, she hustled through an opening half in :46.55. It was there that Victor Espinoza and Gourmet Girl sidled up the rail to present an early challenge, and from the three-eighths pole home, it was a catfight. If the outcome of a horse race is dependent upon the split-second judgment of a rider--and it so often is--then credit Delahoussaye's decision to remain in an urgent drive (a right-handed crack at the eighth pole drew no response) as the game winner. They hit the wire the same way they hit the final turn (and just about every other step in between), Feverish on top by a head in 1:42.26. A length back, Lazy Slusan made the Bayakoa a clean sweep for Cal-breds. In the week's other stakes, Grey Memo blew by defending champ Cliquot to come away with the On Trust Handicap at 7 1/2 furlongs. Trained by Warren Stute, the Memo colt won by a length for owners Pat Thompson, Ron Manzani, and Russ Sarno. Without El Cielo to deal with, Texas Glitter and Full Moon Madness went at it on their own Dec. 22. They spared nothing. Both narrowly missing in the Hollywood Turf Express Handicap (gr. IIIT) a month ago, they gave us a race to remember in the Dayjur Handicap at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. Texas Glitter, a 4-year-old son of Glitterman owned by Michael Ryan and Dennis Swartz, screamed through a half in :43.05 then managed to hold off favored Full Moon Madness by a head. They both managed to drop the stakes mark, but give credit to Texas Glitter for the 1:01.24 that goes in the books. Trained by Todd Pletcher but saddled in the Dayjur by Henry Moreno, Texas Glitter is four-for-five on the turf. b
AT THE WIRE Even the jockeys' race was a nail-biter. Heading into the final card, just a nose separated no less than three riders. By the time the darkness had descended, it was Victor Espinoza who held on by a 32-31 margin over both Alex Solis and Laffit Pincay Jr. Bobby Frankel was leading trainer...Keep your eyes open for Maroon Creek. The 2-year-old colt, a son of Afternoon Deelites bred and owned by Burt Bacharach, looks like a runner after a sharp effort in his debut. Richard Mandella trains...Owners John and Jerry Amerman have an eye toward a big 2001 after the importation of South American sensations Lido Palace and Printemps. Lido Palace completed a sweep of the Chilean Triple Crown in the group I St. Leger Stakes on Dec. 16 and has now joined the Amerman's star mare Happyanunoit in Frankel's barn. Printemps arrived in November after taking Chile's Triple Crown for fillies and is currently wintering at the Santa Anita base of Ron McAnally...Trainer Eoin Harty will depart for Dubai on Jan. 5 to dive into the newest crop of Godolphin 2-year-olds. Plans call for Harty to return by April, accompanied by roughly 60 youngsters who subsequently will split into two divisions, one in California and the other potentially based at Belmont or Arlington...And who other than Jingle Bell Hop, a 3-year-old daughter of Dayjur, to bring the Hollywood winter meet to a close. Naturally, she broke her maiden on Dec. 24.