Down the Shedrow with Jerry Hollendorfer


Jerry Hollendorfer | Sarah Andrew


Starting his career under the tutelage of trainer Jerry Dutton and Jerry Fanning, Jerry Hollendorfer went out on his own in 1979. It took the Ohio native a few years to get going, but in 1988 he won his first Grade I with King Glorious in the Hollywood Futurity and has been unstoppable since.

The 70-year-old has now won 38 Grade Is and is a member of the Hall of the Fame. Hollendorfer is responsible for champions such as Shared Belief (Candy Ride {Arg}), Blind Luck (Pollard’s Vision) and, most recently, two-time Eclipse winner Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro).

While the California-based conditioner has not won a Triple Crown race, he has won three renewals of the GI Kentucky Oaks and appears to have a strong chance to bring that number up to four with talented sophomore misses such as Unique Bella (Unbridled’s Song) and It Tiz Well (Arch) in the barn.

SONGBIRD (f, 4, Medaglia d’Oro)

Songbird followed a perfect championship juvenile season with a just short of perfect sophomore campaign that earned the “TDN Rising Star” her second straight Eclipse award. Victorious in seven of her eight starts in 2016, including the GI Santa Anita Oaks, GI CCA Oaks, GI Alabama S. and GI Cotillion S., the Fox Hill Farms colorbearer courageously battled four-time Eclipse winner Beholder (Henny Hughes) down the length of the Santa Anita stretch in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff Nov. 4, coming up a heartbreaking nose short (video). The bay enjoyed some time off at WinStar following the Breeders’ Cup and recently returned to training.

“She’s doing just fine. We are just going to take our time with her and get her ready. If we are ready for a race in March, we will race in March. If not, we will wait until we are ready.”

UNIQUE BELLA (f, 3, Tapit)

Don Alberto Corp. purchased Unique Bella for $400,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale and were the underbidders on her GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff-winning dam Unrivaled Belle (Unbridled’s Song), who sold to Mandy Pope for a sale-topping $3.8-million at the Keeneland November sale. Rallying late to be second in her June 23 debut after a slow start and wide trip, the gray earned “TDN Rising Star” status with an powerful 10 1/4-length graduation at Del Mar Nov. 26. Unique Bella proved that performance was no fluke next out in the Jan. 8 GII Santa Ynez S. with a 7 1/4-length tour de force (video) and looks to make it three in a row in Sunday’s GII Las Virgenes S.

“She’s doing very well. I hope [we will see a similar performance to last time]. I think she will be the same.”

IT TIZ WELL (f, 3, Arch)

Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ It Tiz Well rebounded from a third-place finish in her career bow at Santa Anita Oct. 28 with a dominant 10-length victory at Los Alamitos Dec. 18 to become Hollendorfer’s latest “TDN Rising Star” (video). The $230,000 KEESEP buy finished a valiant second behind her stablemate Unique Bella last time in the Santa Ynez and is entered in a seven-furlong allowance test in Arcadia Friday.

“I think she should be pretty lively in the race that she is in.”

“I don’t [purposely keep horses separate]. If an owner wants to run in a stake and I have another horse or two or three that want to run in the same stake, they all get to run if they want to.”

TAPPED (f, 3, Tapit)

A first out winner in Arcadia Oct. 2, Tapped checked in second in Golden Gate’s Pike Place Dancer S. Oct. 29. and was fourth next out in the GI Starlet S. at Los Alamitos Dec. 10. The LNJ Foxwoods homebred returned to winning ways with a decisive 5 1/4-length success in a muddy optional claimer at Santa Anita Jan. 13.

“She’s been doing good. Her next race will be at Golden Gate going a mile and a sixteenth in the California Oaks Feb. 11.”

BATTLE OF MIDWAY (c, 3, Smart Strike)

Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms went to $410,000 to purchase Battle of Midway, the first foal to race out of GISW Rigoletta (Concerto), at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. The handsome bay proved a good investment from the start with a “TDN Rising Star” worthy performance in his Santa Anita unveiling Jan. 21 (video).

“We will either run him in a 1X race or we may run him in the San Vicente which is seven furlongs. We feel he is a quality horse and if it looks good, we wouldn’t be afraid to run him in the [GII] San Vicente [S. Feb. 12]. We always had a high regard for this horse. There is always the question when a horse runs on an off racetrack, will they come back and run as well on the fast. But, we think that Battle of Midway has quality to him.”

SEATTLE SERENADE (h, 5, Smart Strike)

Owned by Hill ‘n’ Dale, Mike Puhich, Hollendorfer, et. al., Seattle Serenade won his career bow at Del Mar Nov. 12 and earned his own “TDN Rising Star” nod with a 6 1/4-length romp in a Los Alamitos allowance Dec. 11 (video). The $1 million KEESEP yearling was pulled up and vanned off after fracturing his pastern in his last start Mar. 5 at Santa Anita–an injury that required surgery. He had his first work back at the Pegasus Training Center, where he was undergoing rehab, in late October and returned to Hollendorfer in December, most recently breezing five furlongs in 1:02.20 at Los Alamitos Jan. 27.

“He’s doing great. We are taking our time with him. He has a serious injury, but Dr. Wayne McIlwraith put his pastern back together. So far, it looks pretty normal and no problems with it so far.”

CONSTELLATION (f, 4, Bellamy Road)

Following a “TDN Rising Star” worthy debut with a third in the 2016 GI Spinaway S., Constellation captured both the 2015 Furlough S. and 2016 Ruthless S. at Aqueduct before finishing fourth in that venue’s Cicada S. last March for former trainer Steve Asmussen. Given some time off, the $800,000 OBSMAR buy resurfaced under Hollendorfer’s care in Turf Paradise’s City of Phoenix S. Nov. 12 and sprung a 12-1 upset in Arcadia’s GI La Brea S. last time Dec. 26 (video).

“We will probably run her in the [GIII] Las Flores [S.]. She was back east and either didn’t handle the tracks there or had some little problems. Her owners wanted to try her in Southern California, where we have faster racetracks that are easier for a horse to get over them maybe. We gave her a prep race over in Arizona, which worked out well, and then she came back and won the La Brea.”

STAYS IN VEGAS (f, 4, City Zip)

A four-time stakes winner and GISP as a juvenile, Stays in Vegas captured the GIII Senorita S. May 7 and placed in her next three tries in graded company, including the GI Del Mar Oaks Aug. 20. Off the board in the GI QEII Challenge Cup at Keeneland Oct. 15, the Jungle Racing, KMN Racing and LNJ Foxwoods runner completed the trifecta behind MGISW Miss Temple City (Temple City) in the GI Matriarch S. Dec. 4 and was last seen finishing seventh in the GI American Oaks Dec. 31.

“We are going to run her in the GII Buena Vista S. Feb. 18. We are going to shorten her up to a mile and that might suit her just a little bit better.”

SIRCAT SALLY (f, 3, Surf Cat)

Joe Turner homebred Sircat Sally is a perfect three-for-three in her young career, including wins in the Soviet Problem S. at Los Alamitos Dec. 17 and the California Cup Oaks Jan. 28.

“Sircat Sally looks like a very good prospect for the coming year. She won two races on dirt than stretched out to a mile on turf, so we are very pleased. She has really done everything that we have asked her to do.”

PRINCESS JULIA (f, 3, Distorted Humor)

Stonestreet Stables went to $400,000 at Keeneland September to secure Princess Julia, a daughter of champion Folklore (Tiznow). The bay has made three attempts to break her maiden, most recently completing the trifecta behind a “TDN Rising Star” performance from Delitefull Lady (Dialed In) at Santa Anita Jan. 26.

“We like her and we think she has been unlucky to break her maiden so far. We still have high hopes for her. She’s doing very well and is very sound, so we expect her to win soon.”


Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.