ARCADIA , Calif. (Feb. 24, 2013)—Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, fresh off victory in Saturday’s Grade II San Carlos Stakes, fitted veteran gelding Ain’t No Other with blinkers for the first time and the result was a three quarter length victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Sensational Stakes for older horses bred in California at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course. The 5-year-old son of Old Topper negotiated the course in 1:11.53.
“I worked him in blinkers and he worked really well,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “He didn’t try to lug in. He didn’t try to wait on horses, he just went on.”
Off as second choice in the eight-horse field at 9-2, Ain’t No Other sat third early, four lengths behind pacesetting longshot Coach Bob and Victor Espinoza. With fractions of 21.24, 43.05 and 1:05.50, the Sensational Star set up for horses coming from behind.
As the field approached the dirt crossing at the top of the lane, Bejarano split horses and made the lead in mid stretch, and then held off a fast finishing Starspangled Heat and Corey Nakatani, who was flying at the rail.
“Today he showed me a lot of speed from the gate, but I didn’t want to be on the lead, so I let the speed go a little bit,” said Bejarano. “I found my position quickly though. He wore blinkers and he showed me a big kick today.”
Owned and bred by Tom and Debi Stull’s Tommy Town Thoroughbreds LLC, Ain’t No Other paid $11.40, $6.00 and $4.00. With the winner’s share of $60,000, Ain’t No Other increased his earnings to $434,973. His record now stands at 24-8-6-6.
With today’s victory, Bejarano has now won with 10 of 17 mounts for Hollendorfer at the current meet and Hollendorfer, currently third in the trainer standings with 19 wins overall, is a near-perfect four for five with Tommy Town starters.
Starspangled Heat broke slowly from post position five and settled comfortably into last position, 11 lengths off the lead past the half mile marker. Nakatani cut the corner turning for home and rallied strongly at the rail through the stretch, finishing a nose in front of A Toast to You and Martin Garcia.
“Yeah, he came flying,” said Nakatani. “The turf has been playing to speed lately and they’re running one-eleven and change…What more can you say, he runs his heart out every time.”
Starspangled Heat, off at 5-1, paid $6.00 and $3.80.
A Toast to You, also off at 5-1, finished wide-out, a length in front of pacesetting Coach Bob. A Toast to You paid $4.20 to show.
Cat Talk, the 2-1 favorite with Garrett Gomez, broke a bit slowly and settled in sixth position early, but could not mount a contending rally.
Live racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday, with first post time at 1 p.m.
The 76th running of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap will highlight a star-studded card that will also include two other Grade I stakes, the Frank E. Kilroe Mile and the Las Virgenes, this Saturday. Special early first post time on Big ’Cap Day is at 12 noon. For more racing information, visit www.santaanita.com.