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Jerry Hollendorfer faces another setback in quest to race at the Breeders’ Cup

Giovanni Franco (5) riding Almost a Factor wins second race of the day at Santa Anita Park on Sept. 27.
Giovanni Franco (5) riding Almost a Factor wins second race of the day at Santa Anita Park on Sept. 27.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Jerry Hollendorfer had another setback in his attempt to get back into racing when the Breeders’ Cup announced Friday it is honoring Santa Anita’s ban on the trainer.

Fred Hertrich, chairman of the board of the Breeders’ Cup, announced the decision saying, “we will honor [Santa Anita’s] house rule and Jerry Hollendorfer will not be permitted to enter horses at this year’s event.”

Hollendorfer was banned from the Stronach Group tracks, which includes Santa Anita, this year’s Breeders’ Cup site on Nov. 1-2, after four of his horses died at the Arcadia track. Two other horses died at Golden Gate, also owned by TSG.

“The news is disappointing and emotionally devastating,” said Drew Couto, Hollendorfer’s attorney. “But Jerry has a very strong character and he’s looking forward to training at Del Mar and Los Alamitos. So many out-of-state circuits want him but he’s just got to figure everything out.”

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Hollendorfer had two possible starters for the Breeders’ Cup, Vasilika in the Fillies and Mares Turf and Danuska’s My Girl in the Fillies and Mares Sprint.

Emtech, the 3-year-old colt who had a fatal breakdown on the second day of the current Santa Anita meeting, tested positive for a painkiller about a month before his death.

“Jerry does not want to impact any of his partners participation, so he wants to make sure those horses can run in the Breeders’ Cup,” Couto said.

Doing that would require that Hollendorfer find a different trainer and divest any ownership claims he has in those horses. Dan Ward, Hollendorfer’s chief assistant, is the most likely recipient of the horses.

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Craig Fravel, chief executive officer at the Breeders’ Cup, has been trying to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest in the Hollendorfer situation as he will become chief executive officer of the racing division of TSG after the Breeders’ Cup. Fravel has not participated or been briefed on any of the discussions and did not play a role in the decision to ban Hollendorfer.

Earlier this week, Hollendorfer was denied a temporary restraining order in L.A. County Superior Court that would have allowed him to run on Santa Anita’s non-Breeders’ Cup cards. He was also denied a similar request in Alameda County to run at Golden Gate.

He did win a judge’s ruling in San Diego County so he could race at Del Mar. He has not been banned at non-TSG tracks in the country and also at Los Alamitos and on the California Fair circuit.


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