Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who dispatched champion Blind Luck to Oaklawn for the past two years, will return to Hot Springs, this time with promising three-year-old Longview Drive. The Pulpit colt is scheduled to fly in from California to tackle the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes on Presidents' Day, February 20.
Most recently third in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita January 7, the Kentucky-bred will be making his second start as a three-year-old after winning two stakes last year on the Northern California fair circuit. The colt also shipped to this region in November and finished third in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot.
"We are shipping tomorrow," Hollendorfer said Sunday morning. "He's been training forwardly since his last race."
Longview Drive showed speed in the Sham, setting the pace with Secret Circle, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint. Their speed duel set up eventual winner Out of Bounds with a perfect trip, but Longview Drive gamely fought back through the stretch along the rail and only missed by a length.
"I'm proud of the fact that he did hang in there and try to fight back through to the wire," Hollendorfer said. "That was a good sign."
Hollendorfer is fourth among trainers on the all-time list of career wins with 6,121 (as of Sunday), and was inducted into the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 2010. His champion filly Blind Luck captured that season's Grade 2 Fantasy and finished runner-up to archrival and eventual Horse of the Year Havre de Grace in the Grade 3 Azeri last year.
The enthusiasm for racing in Arkansas was not lost on Hollendorfer in choosing this spot.
"I really like Oaklawn," said Hollendorfer, who has three wins in 10 career starts in Hot Springs including the 2008 Azeri with Hystericalady and the 1991 Fantasy with Lite Light, who became his first Kentucky Oaks winner in her next start.
"The fans there are unequalled in their enthusiasm, and I'm looking forward to showing my owners what it is like."