Bailey’s record survives for a day

Times Staff Writer

Garrett Gomez rode two winners on opening day of the Hollywood Park fall meet Wednesday, but failed in his bid to tie Jerry Bailey’s record for most stakes win in a year.

Gomez, who won the riding title at this meet last year and is now the nation’s leading jockey by accounting for purses of more than $21 million this year, was on 9-5 favorite Kazari in the featured $89,250 War Chant Stakes.

But the Swiss 3-year-old trained by John Sadler finished sixth, leaving Gomez one shy of Bailey’s record of 70 stakes wins, set in 2003.

Of Kazari’s disappointing finish, Gomez said, “We wanted to see if we could get him nice and relaxed. Maybe he just doesn’t have that kind of turn of foot.”

The winner of the War Chant Stakes in front of a crowd of 4,462 was another Sadler-trained horse, Warning Zone, who covered the mile on Hollywood Park’s turf course in 1 minute 33.75 seconds. The 3-1 second choice, ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., paid $8.60 to win.


Bad Boy finished a half-length behind the winner under Tyler Baze, returning $28.60 and $12.40. Pacesetter Barbeque Eddie held on for third with Aaron Gryder up, beaten by less than one length. He paid $3.80.

Warning Zone, owned by Rising Sun Racing Stable, was making only his third start since his win at Hollywood Park in the Grade III Generous Stakes last November. He was fourth in an allowance race at Del Mar in August and fifth in the Del Mar Derby in September, beaten by less than two lengths.

The Virginia-bred son of Chester House banked $42,150, raising his earnings to $154,330. He has won three of seven starts.

“When he came back from Del Mar he had a nasty infection in his hind leg which caused us to miss the races at Oak Tree,” Sadler said. “Once we saw we weren’t going to make the Oak Tree Derby we pointed him toward this race.”

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens is switching networks after two years as an analyst for TVG. He will join HorseRacing TV on Jan. 1, Jim Bates, HRTV executive vice president and general manager, said.

Stevens said TVG will honor his contract, which expires at the end of the year, but he will no longer appear on the network.

“TVG gave me great exposure,” Stevens said. “There are no hard feelings whatsoever. I just think HRTV is a better fit for me. There is a little more focus on horse racing at that network, and I’m a horseman first and a TV personality second.”

Stevens also cited close relationships with Amy Zimmerman and Ron Charles as other reasons for the switch. Zimmerman is the executive producer of HRTV and Charles, as president of Santa Anita, is involved with the network. Santa Anita and HRTV are owned by Magna Entertainment.