By Dan Ross
Larry Best’s Brill (Medaglia d’Oro) was entered Sunday in Friday’s GIII Victory Ride S. at Belmont Park with Don Chatlos listed as trainer of the filly previously conditioned by embattled trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The entry came a day after the New York Racing Association announced it would scratch any horses entered under Hollendorfer’s name and a week after The Stronach Group announced it was banning the Hall of Famer from its California tracks as it continued to deal with fall-out from the high equine fatality rate during the now-concluded Santa Anita meeting. Of the 30 horses to die during the Santa Anita meeting, four were trained by Hollendorfer.
According to Hollendorfer, he hasn’t been given by The Stronach Group (TSG) a specific reason as to why he’s no longer welcome to stable, enter and run horses at its facilities in California, nor by NYRA about the newest development in New York.
“They didn’t tell me anything,” Hollendorfer said. “They told me to vacate Golden Gate and Santa Anita in 72 hours, and then NYRA has intimated to my attorney that if I entered horses they would be scratched, eventually.”
TSG has not indicated when, or if, he might be allowed to return to their California facilities, he added.
“I have no rulings or suspensions against me,” he said, before explaining that the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) similarly haven’t approached him since TSG told him to vacate Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields earlier last week.
“I don’t have too much to say. We’re trying to get all the facts together and go from there,” he said.
Hollendorfer has been allowed to stable and run horses at the Los Alamitos meeting which runs through July 14. He had three horses entered at the track Sunday and is expected to be represented in Saturday’s GII Great Lady M. by Danuska’s My Girl (Shackleford).
However, Hollendorfer’s status at the upcoming Del Mar meet, which opens July 17, remains up in the air.
When asked whether Hollendorfer will be allowed to stable and enter his horses during the meet, a Del Mar spokesperson said Saturday, “We have been in consultations with Jerry Hollendorfer and his attorney. We are still trying to work out an arrangement that would satisfy all parties, but we are not there yet.”
Following TSG’s announcement of its ban last weekend, NYRA initially issued a statement indicating the trainer would be allowed to race in New York, but the organization reportedly reversed course Saturday. NYRA officials did not respond to requests for clarification of Hollendorfer’s status Sunday.
Hollendorfer’s New York string was made up of six horses owned by Best’s OXO Equine. In addition to Brill, those horses include Rowayton (Into Mischief), who is expected to be entered in Saturday’s GIII Dwyer S. All of Best’s horses in New York have been transferred to his former assistant Don Chatlos.
When asked if his long-time assistant Dan Ward might assume a similar role at Del Mar to Chatlos’s in New York, Hollendorfer suggested the situation is complicated by a greater number of owners among his California string.
“The thing with NYRA is, I’m no longer involved with Larry Best’s horses. They have turned them over to Don Chatlos, and I will have no more contact with those horses,” he explained. “That’s all I had there.”
Hollendorfer prevaricated about the possibility of litigation.
“I can only tell you I have representation, but we’re gathering facts and looking at things and seeing what’s going on,” he said.
Despite the upheaval to his livelihood brought about during the last week, Hollendorfer appeared philosophical.
“How do I feel about things? I have to do the best that I can and go from there,” he said.