Hollendorfer, 3 fillies picked for Hall
Jerry Hollendorfer has been among the nation's leading trainers for nearly a quarter-century, and he's closing in on 6,000 career victories.
His biggest win may have come Friday, though, when the 64-year-old dean of racing in Northern California was elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame.
''It's something you can never expect in life to be put in the Hall of Fame,'' Hollendorfer said during a conference call. ''I'm quite humbled and very grateful to have been placed there along with a lot of other great people.''
Champion fillies Open Mind, Safely Kept and Sky Beauty also were elected in the contemporary category by a 183-member voting panel. The hall's Historic Review Committee will announce its selections next month, and the class of 2011 will be inducted Aug. 2.
Among the finalists not voted in were three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, last week's Derby winning rider John Velazquez and Garrett Gomez. All were up for election for the first time.
Hollendorfer has won training titles at every major Bay Area meeting from 1986-2008, including 37 straight at Bay Meadows and 32 in a row at Golden Gate Fields. He also has fared well in Southern California, and won a training title at Arlington Park in 2001.
Hollendorfer branched out even more last year, and it was one of his best with five Grade I wins. His 3-year-old champion filly, Blind Luck, won the Kentucky Oaks, the Alabama and the Las Virgenes. He also won the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile with Dakota Phone and finished third among trainers with 286 wins and fourth in earnings in $9.3 million.
''I just tried to do what I could do every day to take care of my business and try to make a better stable,'' Hollendorfer said. ''Now that I've branched out, it's been a lot busier. I have to get on a plane more than I used to, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices to do different things, and I'm willing to make those sacrifices. I'm going to continue to try to do the things I've been doing all these years and try to live up to being put in the Hall of Fame.''
Open Mind was voted champion filly as a 2-year-old in 1988, and again as a 3-year-old. Trained Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Open Mind won 12 of 19 starts and earned $1.8 million. Among her victories were the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, the Kentucky Oaks and the Alabama. She also won the New York filly Triple Crown — the Acorn, Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks.
Safely Kept, trained by Alan Goldberg, was the champion sprinter in 1989, and won 24 of 31 races for earnings of nearly $2.2 million. One of her biggest wins was the 1990 Breeders' Cup Sprint, when she defeated European champion Dayjur.
''The Hall of Fame is tough for sprinters to break through, and we thought she was deserving because of the amazing things she did,'' Safely Kept co-owner Barry Weisbord said. ''We started to think that maybe the day wouldn't come, so we're very honored and very thrilled.''
Sky Beauty, trained by Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens, was the 1994 champion older female, and finished her career with 15 win in 21 starts with earnings of $1.3 million. She, too, won the New York filly triple crown, in 1993.
''She was very special,'' Jerkens said. ''She won the triple crown for fillies and the Alabama. It was just too bad she couldn't do it in the Breeders' Cup, but she did everything else. She was just great; some of them are just born to be great.''