Political High ($9.80) overcame trouble on the backstretch and circled the field of 14 horses on the far turn to win going away by 1 3/4 lengths in the 6 1/2-furlong $25,000 claiming race. The winner was ridden by Michael Baze, cousin of Russell Baze, who has teamed with Hollendorfer to make them a Bay Area powerhouse. Political High is owned by the trainer's wife, Janet, and longtime client, Dr. George Todaro.
Assistant Dan Ward saddled Political High for Hollendorfer, who was back at home in Northern California. He said he watched his milestone winner on TVG while running on his treadmill.
"Mike had some trouble on the backside but fortunately for us he kept at it, he kept pecking away," Hollendorfer said. The same could be said for how Hollendorfer has reached 5,000.
"It took a long time to do it but it was well worth it," he said. "We just keep doing what we do every day. We've been very fortunate and the wins just started piling up."
The 58-year-old Hollendorfer trails only Dale Baird (9,445 wins), Jack Van Berg (6,378) and King T. Leatherbury (6,227) on the all-time victory list for trainers.
A Redwood City resident, Hollendorfer has been commuting regularly to Southern California to supervise his southland string. He saddled his horses Dec. 21 at Hollywood Park while wife Janet, his chief assistant, handled their five entries at Golden Gate Fields. He was back at Golden Gate the next day while No. 4,999 -- Gold Trim -- also won at Hollywood earlier on the program.
Hollendorfer has reigned as Northern California's winningest trainer for decades. A native of Ohio, Hollendorfer has made his home in the Bay Area for more than 40 years.
After working various backstretch jobs for trainers Jerry Dutton and Jerry Fanning, he started training his own stable in 1979. He has won every training title at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate since 1986.
His horses have earned more than $93.2 million, 11th best on the all-time list. His wins included 365 stakes, 54 of them graded.
Hollendorfer said he would celebrate by relaxing "a little bit" for the next three days. He and his wife plan to take a quiet trip to San Francisco.
He won his 4,000th race on April 15, 2004, at Bay Meadows. Since then, he's surpassed Richard Hazelton and D. Wayne Lukas on the all-time list to move into fourth.
Coming into racing Dec. 22, Hollendorfer had hit a cold spot. He was was 1-for-22 and stuck at 4,998. He was blanked with eight starters Friday; five at Golden Gate and three at Hollywood Park.
During the lull, the trainer picked up another winner via disqualification for a race run earlier this year following a medication ruling.
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