Because more than half an inch of rain inundated the Arcadia area last night, there was no training on the main track at Santa Anita on an otherwise invigorating Sunday morning, sunshine breaking through stretches of low-hanging white clouds and snow nestled sparsely atop the San Gabriel Mountains and familiar old Mt. Baldy.
That didn't deter Jerry Hollendorfer from taking a rare and brief moment to smell the roses at Clockers' Corner, less than 24 hours after saddling Gunmetal Gray for a spectacular victory in Saturday's Grade III Sham Stakes worth 10 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby on May 4.
“We did very well,” said the Hall of Fame trainer, third all-time in career victories with 7,559, behind only Steve Asmussen (8,281) and Dale Baird (9,445), “but we don't know yet” what's next.
The gray son of Exchange Rate stormed from last in a field of seven at the three-quarter mark to win the one-mile Sham by a length under Mike Smith.
“They weren't coming from that far back yesterday in any of the races,” Hollendorfer said, “so it was nice to see, but he had a good pace to run at.”
A major disappointment in the Sham was Coliseum, the 3-10 favorite who never threatened, finishing sixth, beaten only 4 ½ lengths despite a less than alert start.
“He needed the race and he got behind after he didn't break and I was afraid of that,” Bob Baffert said of the gray son of Tapit, winner of his debut outing by nearly seven lengths.
On the bright side, Baffert added, “he came out of the race really well.”
Meanwhile, another of Hollendorfer's Triple Crown contenders, Instagrand, winner of his two starts by a combined margin of more than 20 lengths, is scheduled to have his first four furlong workout at Santa Anita this Saturday after two three-furlong moves over the track since his 10 ¼-length romp in the Grade II Best Pal at Del Mar Aug. 11.
Hollendorfer said he had no race in mind yet for the Into Mischief colt.
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