Odds-on Swiss Lake Yodeler wore down 23-1 shot Rovenna in the final yards to win the $200,250 Soviet Problem Stakes Dec. 21 on the next-to-last day of racing at Betfair Hollywood Park (VIDEO).
The victory in the race restricted to 2-year-old fillies bred or sired in California enabled Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer to establish an Autumn meet record. The one-length score by the 9-10 choice was the seventh stakes success of the stand for Hollendorfer, bettering the mark of six originally set by legendary Charlie Whittingham in 1984.
Owned by breeders Larry and Marianne Williams, Swiss Lake Yodeler was ridden by a confident Rafael Bejarano and covered the seven furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:23.90. She paid $3.80, $3, and $2.60.
A daughter of Swiss Yodeler and the Meadowlake mare Domasco Lake, Swiss Lake Yodeler won her second in a row and for the third time in four starts. She's earned $235,600.
It was Swiss Lake Yodeler's first race since winning the Golden State Juvenile Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park. The bay filly earned her initial win against $32,000 maidens for trainer Mike Pender at the Barretts Race Meet at Fairplex Sept. 6.
In winning the Soviet Problem, Swiss Lake Yodeler tracked the pace from the outside for most of the way, then surged inside the final sixteenth to win in her synthetic track debut.
"(Whittingham) has been an idol of mine from the very beginning,'' said Hollendorfer. "When I came on the racetrack, everybody in the world knew his name. I'm pleased to break any kind of record he ever held. I'm very humble and grateful.
"Considering this is the end (of Hollywood Park) makes me sad, but I've had a lot of good luck here and won a lot races. I'm going to be sorry to see Hollywood Park go."
Swiss Lake Yodeler was able to sit off swift fractions of :22.16 and :44.89 established by Rovenna, who wore blinkers for the first time and was under pressure from 8-1 shot Sprouts, who settled for third.
"I think (Swiss Lake Yodeler) wants more ground. I wasn't sure she was going to get there, but she kicked it in late," Hollendorfer said. "(Bejarano) just has a magical way of getting the job done. Seven furlongs might have been a little short for her.''
Rovenna, ridden by Victor Espinoza, got the best of two-time stakes winner Sprouts, with Mario Gutierrez aboard, by 2 1/4 lengths for second. She paid $13.80 and $8.20, while Sprouts returned $5.
Completing the order of finish were Meinertzhageni, 9-2 second choice Shysheisnot, Kukaluka, Casey's Clem, Stole a Kiss, and Feature Attraction.
Global Hottie, the 5-2 second choice on the morning line, was scratched by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert due to a reported "elevated temperature.''
Entering closing day, Rafael Bejarano, who shared the 2013 spring/summer riding title with Edwin Maldonado, has a 33-32 advantage over Joe Talamo. If Bejarano maintains his lead, it would be the sixth riding title at Hollywood Park for the Peruvian native. Talamo is seeking his first.
First post time Sunday for the final program in Hollywood Park history is 12:30 p.m. The feature attraction on the 11-race card is the second running of the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes.
Named for the Hollendorfer-trained winner of the 1988 Hollywood Futurity, the King Glorious is for 2-year-olds bred or sired in California and will be run at seven furlongs over Cushion Track. Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) runner-up Aotearoa is the 5-2 morning line favorite.
The program will be spiced by a Pick Six carryover of $122,406. Since it is closing day, there will be a mandatory payout in the sequence, which begins in the sixth race on the 11-race card. Scheduled post time for the sixth is 3:05 p.m.