Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup Bans Hall of Fame Trainer After 6 Horses Died Under His Care This Year
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is banned from entering horses in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, where he was barred earlier this year.
Fred Hertrich, chairman of the Breeders’ Cup board, said Friday that it would honor Santa Anita’s house rule and not allow Hollendorfer to enter horses in the event Nov. 1-2.
“We did not believe they were going to do this,” said Drew Couto, Hollendorfer’s attorney, “so it came as a bit of a surprise and an immense disappointment.”
The Stronach Group, whose track ownership includes Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco Bay area, ordered Hollendorfer off the grounds after six horses — four at Santa Anita and two at Golden Gate — died under his care earlier this year. Santa Anita had 30 horses die during its winter-spring meet.
At the time, TSG said the 73-year-old trainer was “no longer welcome to stable, race, or train his horses at any of our facilities.”
In addition to training, Hollendorfer shares an ownership interest in several horses in his stable. A California Horse Racing Board rule prevents anyone with an ownership interest in a horse that they also train to race that horse under a different trainer.
“The first priority is to make certain that the Breeders’ Cup decision doesn’t inadvertently penalize Jerry’s partners in any of his horses,” Couto said. “Once those details are taken care of, there will be further time for reflection and decisions to be made.”
But Hollendorfer is running out of time to resolve the complicated situation.
The Breeders’ Cup pre-entry deadline is Monday when the first payment is due for all owners planning to run a horse. The second payment is due Oct. 28 when final entries are made for all 14 races and post positions are set.
A Breeders’ Cup spokesman said there would be no further comment on the decision to ban Hollendorfer.
Los Alamitos in Orange County welcomed Hollendorfer during its summer meet, with track owner Edward Allred saying, “We do not feel he should be a scapegoat for a problem which derives from a number of factors.”
Hollendorfer won a request in a San Diego court for a temporary restraining order that allowed him to run horses at Del Mar during the summer.
But he lost a similar request this week in Los Angeles Superior Court to race at Santa Anita’s fall meet.
However, Couto said the judge encouraged Hollendorfer to file a motion for a preliminary injunction which, if successful, would allow the trainer to run during Santa Anita’s winter-spring meet that opens Dec. 26.
“That’s what we’re going to do,” Couto said.