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Blog - RACING

Photo courtesy of Benoit & Associates

Making the Grade, which will run right up until the Belmont Stakes (G1), will focus on the winners of the big races, usually from the previous weekend, who could impact the 2013 Triple Crown. We’ll be taking a close look at impressive winners and evaluating their chances to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby (G1) based on factors such as ability, running style, connections (owner, trainer, jockey) and pedigree.

This week we take a look at Hear the Ghost, winner of Saturday’s $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Holldendorfer. 

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Hear the Ghost

Chestnut Gelding

Sire (Father): Ghostzapper

Dam (Mother): Rehear, by Coronado’s Quest

Breeders: W.S. Farish and Lazy F Ranch (Ky.)

Owners: Halo Farms and Jerry Hollendorfer

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Hear the Ghost debuted in December at Betfair Hollywood Park with a win and followed with a runner-up finish in the San Pedro Stakes in his second career race. Those two races gave racing fans an indication that Hear the Ghost might be a special 3-year-old, but it was when he blew past graded stakes winners Flashback and Goldencents in the stretch of the San Felipe Stakes (G2) that he cemented his status as a true Kentucky Derby (G1) contender.

Ability: It takes plenty of speed and ability to win sprinting in Southern California, and Hear the Ghost got his career off to a fast start with a dominant 3 ¼-length victory in a December maiden special weight race going three-quarters of a mile. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer showed his confidence in the chestnut gelding when he entered him in the San Pedro Stakes, also at three-quarters of a mile, for his second start on January 21 at Santa Anita. In the San Pedro, Hear the Ghost closed powerfully to finish second to Distinctiv Passion in what was a very nice performance and a 20-point improvement in his Equibase Speed Figure – from an 86 in his debut to a 106.

Stretching out to two turns for the first time often separates the true contenders on the Triple Crown trail from the pretenders, so the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe was a significant hurdle for Hear the Ghost.

The Ghostzapper gelding dropped back to fifth early and let Goldencents and Flashback battle through the far turn before unleashing his winning rally at the top of the stretch. Hear the Ghost lengthened stride and steadily reeled in his talented, if tired, opponents to prevail by a half-length in what was a visually impressive win. Hollendorfer had given Hear the Ghost a series of longer workouts to build up stamina before a sharp half-mile drill in his final piece of work for the San Felipe and his trainer clearly had him ready for this key steppingstone to the Santa Anita Derby.

Running style: Hear the Ghost rallied from off the pace in each of his three starts. That running style was effective in his first two starts in sprints, both of which featured a blistering early pace, and it seemed very possible that he might race closer to the pace when stretching out in distance for the San Felipe. But Hear the Ghost seems to thrive when taken back behind the early speed. He broke very nicely in the San Felipe and was right behind the pace early before finding a comfortable rhythm under Corey Nakatani on the backstretch. Another quick pace certainly helped set up Hear the Ghost’s powerful closing charge, but he found another gear in the final furlong to win impressively.

When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, closers can encounter serious traffic problems in a 20-horse field that features horses fading fast on the final turn and others just finding their best strides. Hear the Ghost, however, appears to have more speed than a true closer and he should be able to use that to gain an advantageous position, probably several lengths behind the front-runners, should he make it to the starting gate for the first jewel of the Triple Crown on May 4.

(Click here to view the 2013 Derby Leaderboard)

Connections: Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, Jerry Hollendorfer has so far enjoyed far more success in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) than the Kentucky Derby. Hollendorfer won the Oaks in 1991 with Lite Light and 1996 with Pike Place Dancer, and then in 2011 he won the Kentucky Oaks with eventual champion 3-year-old filly Blind Luck. In 1998, Hollendorfer had a 3-year-old many considered the likely favorite for the Kentucky Derby in Event of the Year, but he suffered a career-ending injury leading up to the race. In 2000, Hollendorfer’s Globalize was scratched from the Derby after kicked by a stable pony two days before the race. From five Kentucky Derby starters, Hollendorfer’s best results were fifth-place finishes from Eye of the Tiger (2003) and Chocolate Candy (2009). 

Making the Grade: Super Ninety Nine

Making the Grade: Orb

Making the Grade: Verrazano

Making the Grade: Flashback

Making the Grade: Revolutionary

Making the Grade: Itsmyluckyday

Making the Grade: Oxbow

Making the Grade: Dewey Square

Making the Grade: Vyjack

Making the Grade: Goldencents

Making the Grade: Overanalyze

Making the Grade: Violence

Making the Grade: Uncaptured

Making the Grade: Shanghai Bobby

A dominant force in Northern California, he won every major training title at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows Race Course from 1986 to 2008. In recent years, Hollendorfer has become much more prominent on the Southern California circuit. Other top stars who thrived under his tutelage include 2010 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Dakota Phone and Grade 1 winners Heatseeker and Hystericalady.

Hollendorfer owns Hear the Ghost in partnership with Ted Aroney’s Halo Farms, which co-bred and co-owned 1989 Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) winner King Glorious, a multiple Grade 1 winner trained by Hollendorfer. Halo Farms also raced Dakota Phone in partnership.

Nakatani has yet to win the Derby, but he was aboard Lite Light and Pike Place Dancer for their Kentucky Oaks victories. Nakatani earned his 10th win in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2012 when he guided Tapizar to victory in the Dirt Mile.

Pedigree: Hear the Ghost is by 2004 Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Ghostzapper, considered by many to be one of the fastest horses of the last decade. Grade 1 winners Stately Victor and Contested are among his top runners.

Kentucky-bred Hear the Ghost is a half-brother to 2008 Spinaway Stakes (G1) winner Mani Bhavan. His dam (mother) was a winner sprinting who did not compete in a stakes race. The maternal side of Hear the Ghost’s pedigree include several talented runners, including Canadian champion Silken Cat and her son Speightstown, the U.S. champion sprinter in 2004 and a successful sire. Other standouts from this family include Grade 1 winner Turk Passer and Grade 2 winner Star Dabbler.

Mike Curry’s Kentucky Derby Top 20

1. Itsmyluckyday

11. Noble Tune

2. Revolutionary

12. Uncaptured

3. Shanghai Bobby

13. Delhomme 

4. Verrazano

14. Oxbow

5. Orb

15. Mac the Man

6. Vyjack

16. Mr. Palmer

7. Hear the Ghost

17. Overanalyze

8. Super Ninety Nine

18. Crop Report

9. Normandy Invasion

19. Palace Malice

10. Flashback

20. Tiz A Minister

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Haciendo el Grado (Making the Grade) En Español

Haciendo el Grado, que se extenderá hasta el Belmont Stakes (G1), se centrará en los ganadores de las grandes carreras, por lo general de el fin de semana anterior, quienes podrían afectar a la Triple Corona del 2013. Le estaremos dando un vistazo de cerca a los impresionante ganadores y evaluar sus posibilidades de ganar el Kentucky Derby 2013 (G1) basado en factores como la habilidad, estilo de carrera, conexiones (dueño, entrenador, jinete) y pedigree.

Esta semana le echamos un vistazo a Hear the Ghost, ganador de el $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) este sábado pasado para el entrenador Jerry Hollendorfer quien ya es miembro del Salón de la Fama.

Hear the Ghost

Gelding Castaño

Padre (Sire): Ghostzapper

Madre (Dam): Rehear, por Coronado’s Quest

Criadores (Breeders): W.S. Farish y

Lazy F Ranch (Kentucky)

Dueños (Owner): Halo Farms y

Jerry Hollendorfer

Entrenador (Trainer): Jerry Hollendorfer

Hear the Ghost debutó en diciembre en Betfair Hollywood Park con una victoria y siguió con un segundo puesto en el San Pedro Stakes en su segunda carrera. Estas dos carreras les dio a los aficionados de Hear the Ghost una indicación de que el podría ser un caballo especial a los 3 años de edad, pero cuando paso volando a los ganadores de stakes Flashback y Goldencents en la recta final de el San Felipe (G2) fue que cementó su lugar como un verdadero contendiente del Kentucky Derby (G1). 

Habilidad: Se necesita un montón de velocidad y habilidad para ganar carreras en el sur de California y Hear the Ghost comenzo su carrera de una forma rápida con una victoria dominante de 3 ¼ de longitud en una carrera en diciembre de peso especial que fue de tres cuartos de milla . El Salón de la Fama entrenador Jerry Hollendorfer mostró su confianza en el gelding castaño cuando lo entró en el San Pedro Stakes, también a tres cuartos de milla, para su segunda carrera el 21 de enero en Santa Anita. En el San Pedro, Hear the Ghost cerró con fuerza para acabar en segundo lugar detras de Distinctiv Passion en lo que fue una actuación muy agradable y una mejora de 20 puntos en su figura de Velocidad Equibase - desde un 86 en su debut a un 106.

Extendiéndose a dos vueltas por primera vez separa a los reales contendientes de los pretendientes en el camino de la Triple Corona, por lo que el 1 1/16-mile San Felipe fue un obstáculo significativo para Hear the Ghost.

El caballo, por Ghostzapper, retrocedió al quinto lugar temprano en la carrera y dejo a Goldencents y Flashback en su batalla hasta la curva lejana antes de desatar su cierre ganador en la parte superior de la recta final. Hear the Ghost alargó la zancada y constantemente atrapo su talentosa, talvez cansada, competencia para ganar por medio cuerpo en lo que fue una victoria visualmente impresionante.

Hollendorfer le había dado a Hear the Ghost una serie de entrenamientos más largos para construir una fuerte resistencia antes de un ultimo entrenamiento fuerte de media milla en su última pieza de trabajo para el San Felipe y su entrenador lo tenía claramente listo para este clave escalon hacia el Santa Anita Derby.

(Click here to view the 2013 Derby Leaderboard)

Conexiones: Incluido en el Salón de la Fama de Carreras en 2011, Jerry Hollendorfer hasta ahora ha disfrutado mucho más éxito en el Kentucky Oaks (G1) que en el Kentucky Derby. Hollendorfer ganó el Oaks en 1991 con Lite Light y en 1996 con Pike Place Dancer, y despues en 2011 ganó el Kentucky Oaks con la eventual campeóna de 3 años de edad, la potranca Blind Luck. En 1998, Hollendorfer tuvo un caballo de 3 años de edad que muchos consideraban el favorito para el Kentucky Derby, Event of the Year, pero el sufrió una lesión que termino con su carrera previo al Kentucky Derby. En el 2000, Globalize, otro caballo de Hollendorfer, fue retirado del Derby después de ser pateado por un caballo del establo a dos días antes de la carrera. De cinco caballos que ha corrido en el Kentucky Derby, los mejores resultados de los caballos de Hollendorfer fueron los quinto lugares de Eye of the Tiger (2003) y Chocolate Candy (2009).

Making the Grade: Super Ninety Nine

Making the Grade: Orb

Making the Grade: Verrazano

Making the Grade: Flashback

Making the Grade: Revolutionary

Making the Grade: Itsmyluckyday

Making the Grade: Oxbow

Making the Grade: Dewey Square

Making the Grade: Vyjack

Making the Grade: Goldencents

Making the Grade: Overanalyze

Making the Grade: Violence

Making the Grade: Uncaptured

Making the Grade: Shanghai Bobby

Una fuerza dominante en el norte de California, el ganó todos los títulos principales de entrenamiento en Golden Gate Fields y Bay Meadows Race Course de 1986 a 2008. En los últimos años, Hollendorfer se ha convertido mucho más prominente en el circuito del Sur de California. Otras grandes estrellas que brillaron bajo su tutela incluyen el ganador del 2010 Breeders 'Cup Mile Dirt (G1) Dakota Phone y ganadores de Grado 1 Heatseeker y Hystericalady.

Hollendorfer es dueño de Hear the Ghost en colaboración con Halo Farms de Ted Aroney, quien coperaron en ser dueños y criadores del ganador del Haskell Invitational Stakes de 1989 (G1) King Glorious, un múltiple ganador de grado 1 quien fue entrenado por Hollendorfer. Halo Farms también corrio a Dakota Phone en asociación.

Nakatani aún no ha ganado el Derby, pero él estaba a bordo Lite Light y Pike Place Dancer en sus victorias en el Kentucky Oaks. Nakatani recientemente obtuvo su victoria numero 10 en los Breeders’ Cup World Championships en 2012, cuando guió a Tapizar a la victoria en el Dirt Mile.

Pedigree: Hear the Ghost es por Ghostzapper, el Caballo del Año del 2004 y el ganador del Breeders 'Cup Classic (G1) quien es considerado por muchos como uno de los caballos más rápidos de la última década. Ganadores de Grado 1  Stately Victor y Contested están entre sus mejores corredores.

Criado en Kentucky, Hear the Ghost es un medio hermano de Mani Bhavan quien fue ganador del Spinaway Stakes (G1) en el 2008. Su madre fue una ganadora de sprints que no compitió en carreras de stakes. El lado maternal del pedigree de Hear the Ghost incluye varios corredores talentosos, entre ellos el campeón Canadiense Silken Cat y su hijo Speightstown, quien fue campeón velocista en EE.UU. en 2004 y tambien un padre exitoso. Otros destacados de esta familia incluyen el ganador de Grado 1 Turk Passer y el ganador de Grado 2 Star Dabbler.

Translated by Jose Contreras

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Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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