“Like father, like son,” the old saying goes, particularly in horse racing, where at Santa Anita, father Eric Kruljac and his 36-year-old son, Ian, train over the same terrain, paternal pride understandably evident in 65-year-old Eric after Ian sent out 33-1 California-bred Hot Autumn to run second in the Grade I La Brea Stakes on opening day.
“I bought her out of an auction at Barretts from a person who had about 20 horses in a dispersal sale, because he was getting out of the business,” Eric said. “I gave her to Ian to train for Clarke Cooper, and Ian owns 25 percent. I paid $11,000 for her when she was eight months old and $12,000 as a 3-year-old in the dispersal sale.”
Ian's greatest achievement to date is Finest City, 8-1 winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, 2016. The daughter of City Zip had a 5-6-4 record from 20 career starts, earning $1,266,394.
“What Ian accomplished with Finest City wasn't a fluke,” Eric said. “Nor is Exuberance (who ran second to Dream Tree in the Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes last February). “We paid $75,000 for Exuberance,” Eric pointed out. “Ian's done wonders with limited opportunities.
“He's got a gift.”
Another proud father-son duo is 75-year-old trainer David Hofmans and his son, Grant, 43, formerly based in Southern California, where his dad, a native of Los Angeles, has been headquartered since 1974.
David's major achievements include Alphabet Soup's Breeders' Cup Classic victory in 1996, Adoration's Breeders' Cup Distaff upset in 2003 and Desert Code's 36-1 shocker in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.
Grant currently has eight head at the Highpointe Farm and Training Center in La Grange, Kentucky, built by the late Jack Van Berg.
And the beat goes on.
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