Halo Dolly made an easy lead and coasted to a gate to wire score in Sunday’s $100,000 Dream of Summer Stakes at Santa Anita, prevailing by 1½ lengths over favored Unusual Way while getting one mile in 1:35.73.
Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Halo Dolly, one of two Jerry Hollendorfer-trained horses in the five-horse field for older fillies and mares bred or sired in California, cleared the favorite, who stumbled leaving the gate with Edwin Maldonado, by two lengths around the Club House turn and repelled a stiff challenge through the drive to win going away.
“She got a good jump out of the gate, and if it (getting to the lead) was going to come easy, we weren’t going to stop her from taking what was easy for her,” said Nakatani. “Jerry does a great job with the horses. It doesn’t matter what the odds are, they’ve always got a shot.”
Owned by Hoefflin, O’Farrell, Schneider, Hollendorfer and partners, Halo Dolly was the second choice at 5-2 and paid $7.60, $2.60 and $2.20. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she neared millionaire status with $982,316.
A 6-year-old mare by Popular, Halo Dolly’s overall record now stands at an amazing 37-18-5-5.
“I told Corey, ‘If you get her away from the gate, it’s okay to take the lead, and if you’re going to stalk and try to collar her (Unusual Way) early, I think that would help our horse,’” said Hollendorfer. “But she came away so good, he just went on with it. That’s why we pick the riders we do, so they can make good decisions.”
Trained by Jeff Bonde, Unusual Way was the heavy 1-2 favorite and broke from post position five with Maldonado.
“We stumbled leaving the gate,” said Maldonado. “Her best races have been when she’s been on the lead, but with Hollendorfer having two horses (he also saddled longshot Curvy Cat), you gotta figure one of them is going to go for the lead. I didn’t want to rush my filly after we stumbled, so we sat second. She ran good, we just got outrun today.”
Although she tired late, Unusual Way finished 6 ¾ lengths clear of third place finisher Could Be Trouble and paid $2.10 and $2.10.
Ridden by Corey Lanerie, who was at Santa Anita to accept the 64th annual Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, Could Be Trouble was off at 7-1 and paid $2.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.48, 47.45, 1:11.09 and 1:23.20.
Racing will resume at Santa Anita on Thursday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 12:30 p.m.
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