Tower Full Is Upset Winner in Record Time
There were all kinds of firsts in the $98,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Swiss Yodeler, the 6-5 favorite, lost for the first time in six starts on the Hollywood Park main track when he faded to third.
Hal’s Pal, the 9-5 second choice, suffered his initial defeat in five races on dirt when he checked in fourth and last in a field reduced after Gold Land and Hail The Hero were scratched.
The other firsts were provided by Tower Full, Craig Dollase’s first starter in a graded stakes who also became the young trainer’s first graded stakes winner.
A participant in claiming races throughout most of his career, some at or near the bottom level, the 5-year-old Irish Tower gelding scored his biggest victory. He disposed of the two favorites through fast fractions, then held off longshot Trafalger to win by a half-length in a stakes-record 1:08 for the six furlongs.
Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Dollase’s brother-in-law, Tower Full, the 3-1 third choice, won for the ninth time in 25 outings and earned $60,000 for owner Moon Han. Han, a Mission Viejo resident who owns a dry cleaning business, claimed Tower Full for $16,000 in the summer of 1996.
“He’s just been climbing the ladder,” said Dollase, who will turn 27 on Monday and who has won with 10 of his last 14 starters. “I nominated him [to the Underwood] thinking the surface might be muddy and I think that helped him quite a bit.”
Trafalger, who was far back early, finished two lengths clear of Swiss Yodeler and it was another six lengths back to Hal’s Pal.
Letthebighossroll, one of the most popular horses in California history, has been retired.
The 9-year-old gelding, who has been owned by Mike Pegram and trained by Bob Baffert throughout his career, made what turned out to be his final start in the On Trust Handicap on Nov. 23. He finished fourth behind Awesome Daze, Megan’s Interco and Canyon Crest.
Pegram and Baffert wanted to see the son of Flying Paster get to $1-million in earnings and he surpassed the figure when he finished second to Red in the California Cup Sprint. He wound up with 18 victories from 60 starts and earnings of $1,014,378.
Among his stakes victories were the 1991 California Cup Sprint, the 1991 Harry Henson and the 1996 Triple Bend Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park. He wound up with 18 victories from 60 starts and earnings of $1,014,378.
Memories Of Silver, who lost her chance for an Eclipse Award as the nation’s top female turf horse when she finished sixth in the Matriarch a week ago today at Hollywood Park, had an excuse for the subpar effort.
The 4-year-old Silver Hawk filly suffered a hairline fracture in her left hind leg and a decision is expected in the coming weeks about her future.
“She’s resting comfortably at Payson Park [in Florida],” trainer James Toner was quoted as saying. “She would require surgery if we decide to run her next year.”
Owned by Joan and John Phillips, Memories Of Silver had a rough trip in the Yellow Ribbon a month before the Matriarch. She got bounced off the rail in the stretch and did well to finish third behind Ryafan and Fanjica.
“She had been training well since the Yellow Ribbon, but there’s a chance that her problems in that race precipitated the injury,” Toner said. “We took X-rays after the Matriarch and discovered the fracture. She’s been a wonderful filly for us and if there’s any question about her condition, she will be retired.”
The next-to-last weekend of Hollywood Park’s fall meeting will offer three Grade I stakes, two of them for 2-year-olds.
On Saturday, a small field of 2-year-old fillies is expected in the $150,000 Hollywood Starlet, topped by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Career Collection.
The following day, there are a dozen probable starters for the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, which will be run at 1 1/2 miles. A large field is also expected for the $425,200 Hollywood Futurity.
Leading the lineup in the Turf Cup is Sandpit, the 8-year-old who will be making his final start. He will be ridden by Nakatani for trainer Richard Mandella, who will also be represented by Talloires.
Among those likely to go in the Futurity, which, like the Starlet, is run at 1 1/16 miles, are Johnbill, Artax, Cape Town, Double Honor and Nationalore.
Ryafan, winner of Sunday’s Matriarch and the likely Eclipse Award winner among females on grass, has been retired.
The 3-year-old filly, who raced for Juddmonte Farms, will be bred to Zafonic in England early next year.
Ryafan, trained by John Gosden in England and Bobby Frankel in the U.S., already has been voted top 3-year-old in Europe. She won all three of her starts this fall in the U.S. and became only the third horse to sweep Santa Anita’s Yellow Ribbon and Hollywood Park’s Matriarch. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Lear Fan and Carya finished with seven wins in 10 starts and purses of $1.3 million.
Horse Racing Notes
There is a Pick Six carryover for today of $98,742.21. . . . Alyrob, a once highly regarded gelding who was unplaced in the 1996 Kentucky Derby, has been retired. Second under the wire in the 1996 Santa Anita Derby but disqualified for causing interference in the stretch, the 4-year-old son of Alysheba exits with two victories from 10 starts. . . . Ami Atkinson, the wife of jockey Paul Atkinson, gave birth to the couple’s first child, an 8-pound, 2-ounce girl, early Saturday morning at Arcadia Methodist Hospital. . . . Trainers Jenine Sahadi and John Dolan were each fined $300 by the stewards for medication violations. . . . Chief Bearhart, who earned the biggest win of his career in last month’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, has been named Canada’s Horse of the Year.
Times Staff Writer Bill Christine contributed to this story.