Alameda County Fair Horse Racing Stakes Preview
By Dennis Miller
Jerry Hollendorfer will come into Saturday’s Alameda County Fillies and Mares stakes with a loaded cadre of horses to go after the win in the $50,000 race that will cover 1-<1/16> miles.
The third race at the card will see Hollendorfer send out three of the five entries for the race with Jeff Bonde and Terri Eaton training the other two runners.
Halo Dolly comes off an impressive win on the turf at Betfair Hollywood Park, taking the Fran’s Valentine by over two-lengths. The horse has three wins in five starts this year and gets the services of the nation’s leader in wins this year – Russell Baze. Last year Baze rode the horse to a 6-length win here in an allowance race.
Cathy’s Crunches is the second Hollendorfer entry. The horse, that will have Julien Couton up, has only one start this year, a fifth in an allowance race on the turf at Golden Gate.
Last year Cathy’s Crunches had six starts, running second in two and third in two others, with all six being stakes races. The horse has traditionally been a turf horse, but did race a number of times on the main track in 2010.
Anniversary Girl is the final Hollendorfer entry and will be making only her second start in an stakes race, the other being last December at BHP when she was third in a one mile race on the turf.
Bonde enters Inner Groove, a 5-year-old he has had in his barn for the last three starts. The horse, that will have Frank Alvarado up, is coming off a win in a $20,000 claiming race at BHP back in early May.
SMILING TIGER AT BETFAIR HOLLYWOOD PARK
Last year Jeff Bonde’s Smiling Tiger scored arguably his biggest victory when he blazed to a win in the Grade I Triple Bend at Betfair Hollywood Park, earning his highest Beyer Speed Figure of 112.
Saturday Bonde and Smiling Tiger will be back to defend their title in Southern California, facing eight other horses in the $250,000 Grade I Triple Bend, the 6th race on the Betfair Hollywood Card.
It may be a welcome return to the friendly track at Hollywood Park, a spot where Smiling Tiger is a perfect 3-for-3 career. But standing in the way of the repeat is a strong field, led by Bob Baffert’s The Factor.
The Factor started the year off with a win in the Grade II San Carlos at Santa Anita, beating Smiling Tiger’s stable-mate Sway Away in the process. Baffert then shipped the horse to the Middle East for the Dubai Golden Shaheen where he ran sixth back in early March. The Factor has not raced since, but has put together a number of great works over the Betfair Hollywood track.
Smiling Tiger has not been in the winner’s circle since the Triple Bend and has only hit the board once in his two starts this year, a third-place finish in the Grade II True North Handicap at Belmont Park on the day of the Belmont Stakes.