Aug 082019

The La Holla


Grade 2


Track: California

Restrictions: 3 Year Olds

Distance: 8.5 Furlongs

Surface: Fast Dirt

Purse: $375,000

Post Time: Saturday, August 10, 2019


I took a little vacation to get away for about a week at Land Between The Lakes located in southwest Kentucky.  I stayed at Moors Resort in a cabin right on the lake.  I did various things while I was there including take out a boat and cruised the lake and went to the Hummingbird Festival Dinner.  But I have returned home to my same old routine and I guess it is back to business.  After returning home I scouted out a race that is taking place in California, The La Holla.  This race is a Grade 2 opportunity for 3 year olds and it has drawn a nice field of twelve colts and geldings.  I have been informed that the track is going to be listed as Fast Dirt as the contenders travel around two turns in this 8.5 furlong race.  There are several good front runners in this race, so the question has to be, can the big closers catch them?  The odds makers have set their morning line and post positions have been drawn.  So let’s take a look at this field of twelve very nice horses that will be running in the G2, The La Holla.



Horse/Odds                                          Owner                          Jockey


1.  Ready For A Forty  6/1                     desimster6                   T Kelly


First up is this closer sired by More Than Ready that will be coming out of the first gate position.  In his last outing on 07/06/2019 in Delaware he ran 8.5 furlongs across a fast track in the G3, The Vinny Barbarino where he showed up 2nd and was 2 lengths back at the wire and put out a 109 sp rating.  This horse has been running very well and has only missed the boards once since October 2018 and that came in the G1, All Saints Derby Lock race in Louisiana in March of this year when he crossed the wire in 7th place.  He will need his top 109 sp rating and perhaps a little extra today against what should be a very competitive field.  The owner makes a call to Pennsylvania to get a familiar jockey in T Kelly to take the mount up top as they head out on Saturday representing the Blazing Saddles residency.


2.  Real Good Trip  7/1                         gcphantom2                 A Rolling


This Honor Code colt tends to like to run at or near the front in his best outings.  He has a total of eight career starts and was only off the boards once when he came in 4th in the G3, Chicago Derby back in March of this year.  His last outing in Iowa at 8.5 furlongs in the G2, Flat Land Derby he was up front and got caught after the 3rd Call and finished up 3rd in that race with a 109 sp rating that day.  He will need that coming into this race and if his jockey, A Rollings from British Columbia can reach into his bag of tricks this colt should show to be competitive at the front of the pack.  They will be representing Universal Racing Club when they head for their gate at post time.


3.  Tinian  14/1                                     buffalosteve2                  N Lawton


The owner will be bringing his Bay colt sired by Uncle Mo to the track representing Racing HQ on Saturday.  He is a G3 badge earner of which he got that winning the G3, The Rebel Yell back in March of this year.  Since that race of which he put up his top sp rating of 106 he has struggled when trying to travel in higher Graded races and traveling distances above the 8.5 furlong mark.  A step back down to 8.5 furlongs for this race may improve his chances to hit the boards.  He will go off today as the second longest choice in the field in the morning line.  The owner contracts with jockey, N Lawton from New York to take to the irons for this race.  Hopefully this familiar jockey can get this horse back in form for this race on Saturday.


4.  Big Wong  7/1                                  azul25                               O A Haack


This G1 winner is a scratch bred gelding (NYQUIST x PLEASANT COLONY x SIR IVOR) who earned that badge back in March of this year in the G1, All Saints Derby Lock race that granted him the golden ticket to run in the Bluegrass Derby.  He then went on to compete in the Middle Jewel Stakes.  In both of these races he seemed to not like the longer distances and failed to compete.  But in his last outing on 06/30/2019 he dropped back down to 8.5 furlongs running in New York in the G2, The Liar Stakes.  He led the field around the track, but coming down the stretch he was caught in  a late charge by Storm Cracklin.  Big Wong ended up 2nd and was 2 lengths back at the wire and put up a nice 110 sp rating.  If jockey, O A Haack from out of Florida allows this horse to run his race he should be at the front or just off the lead to hopefully get him on the boards at the wire.  They will take to the gate on Saturday representing the Only Stayers residency.


5.  Sarcastic Pirate  6/1             wofmoonranch                      E Seifert


Another scratch bred (DISTORTED HUMOR x BROAD BRUSH x A.P. INDY) comes in on Saturday as a G3 badge earner when he went gate to wire in the G3, The Nawbo Derby in Texas at a distance of 8.5 furlongs.  His next outing in the G1, The Labatts Ontario Oaks was not kind to him when he showed up way back in 11th place.  But in his last outing in California he bounced back to hit the boards traveling 9 furlongs in the G2, Swamps Stakes with his best sp rating of 108.  He came in third that day with jockey, E Seifert from Argentina up top.  The owner puts in the call and was able to find jockey, E Seifert ready and available to ride his horse again come this race on Saturday.  In eleven career starts this colt has only failed to hit the boards twice.  If his jockey brings a stiff whip we could see this horse contending with his speed up front.  They will be going out to represent the Northwest Racing Circuit as they head out to the track at post time.


6.  Curlin’s Storm Cat  23/1                  ddkstables20             F Oxon


There will be no love in the morning line for this scratch bred colt as he goes off as the longest choice in the field by the odds makers (CURLIN x STORM CAT x UNBRIDLED’S SONG).  This colt earned his G1 badge when in September 2018 he won the G1, Dell Computer Futurity in California.  Since that race this colt has struggled and never hit the boards again.  His last race was in New York going 7 furlongs in the G2, The Stephen Woody.  He put up a career high 103 sp rating in that race, but it was only good enough to get him to 7th place and was 3 ¼ lengths back at the wire.  His owner puts in the call to Louisiana to find jockey, F Oxon ready to fly in to take the ride with this colt.  This jockey will have his work cut out for him as he tries to find a way to get some more fire power out of this colt.


7.  Oliver Atom  10/1                             baeza                               V Elliott


This colt sired by Dark Angle started his career and broke his maiden on the turf.  But in his last three outings he made the switch to dirt and successfully has not missed the boards since making that change.  He earned his GP badge in his last outing on 06/15/2019 when he traveled 8 furlongs in Norway in the G2, Trial By Night Stakes where he made a late closing effort from mid pack to hit the wire 2nd and was edged out by a neck at the wire.  He put up a 105 sp rating that day which is his career best.  He will need a little more fire in those legs today competing with this crowd and his owner looks to find the help of jockey, V Elliott from Maryland to help his horse find the boards.  This rising star at 10/1 may need to get on some tickets at the betting window when they head out to represent a residency of which I am unfamiliar in Hipodromo Chile.


8.  Reef Tax  7/1                                    trotter11                           J Caves


This is a colt sired by Maclean’s Music who went out in his last race to earn his GP badge when he hit the wire 2nd by a neck in a nice late closing effort in California in the G3, The Affirmative Stakes.  He put up a career high sp rating of 110 that day and he will need it again here on Saturday for this race.  He is familiar with the track which should help him, but he is not familiar with the jockey that the owner has contracted with in jockey, J Caves from Kentucky.  This colt has been on the boards in nine of his twelve career starts, but capturing a Graded win has thus far eluded him.  I still think this big Bay colt deserves a look to at least compete to get on the boards in this race, especially after his last outing.  I look forward to see how this colt and his new rider will pair together as they go out to represent the Empire State Racing (ESR) residency at post time.


9.  Zerosphere  8/1                               seeya                                B Scott


This gelding is on a Hot Streak and was sired by Tizway.  His last outing was in a Listed Stakes race in Turkey, the Summer Sluice Dirt Sprint where he traveled a distance of 7 furlongs.  He went gate to wire in that race as he stepped up in Class to run in his first stakes outing.  He will be taking a jump in Class for the first time opportunity for this gelding to run at the Graded level.  He will need to find some gas in the tank and fire in the legs to keep up with the other front runners in this race.  Jockey, B Scott from Massachusetts will be a first time rider up top of this gelding as he flies in to take to the irons.  B Scott will try to keep this geldings success in tact as this horse in eight career starts and has four wins and has never been off the boards.  When they head to the gate on Saturday they will be met by members of the All-Stars Racing residency to show their support.


10. Ruga  7/1                                        bigsteve1                            E Sharp


This Bay colt bred in Japan is sired by Behkabad.  He has thirteen career starts and has won ten of those races and has never missed the board.  He likes to close late and fast from way back, but he lacks in Graded level experience than some of the other horses in this field.  He has only one Graded start and that was in Delaware going 8.5 furlongs in the G3, The Vinny Barbarino.  He made a big closing charge after the third call to get up for the win by 2 lengths with a career high sp rating of 112.  He has come a long way after being claimed back in July of last year.  The owner contracts with jockey, E Sharp from Ohio to take the ride with his colt.  This is a first time pairing as they go out to represent the East-West Connection (EWC) residency.


11. Gold Zone  11/1                              spiderman1                     V Jennings


This Awesome Again colt has had his struggles in his last four races and has failed to hit the boards since winning the G3, Legoland back in January of this year.  He has run in some big races since that time but has been inconsistent in being able to run triple digit speeds.  His last outing was on 06/15/2019 in Norway when he traveled 8 furlongs in the G2, Trial by Night Stakes.  He ran a 99 sp rating and trotted to the wire in 7th place.  Today his owner calls in a familiar jockey to this colt in V Jennings from Arkansas.  They paired up for that win in the Legoland and the owner looks for this jockey to bring out a repeat performance with his horse come Saturday as they head to the gate to represent DelPenn National residency.


12. Kymarc Laarg  8/1                           kymar17                       J Scott


This Listed Stakes winner sired by Strong Hope comes in very hopeful for the race here in California after throwing down a 115 sp rating in Maryland in his last trip to the track in the Bocastle Dirt Sprint.  He stalked the leaders and closed up shop nicely winning by a half length.  That was a race that was 7.5 furlongs, but he has successfully run at this distance of 8.5 furlongs before.  In his best outings he likes to be up front or just off the lead.  This outside gate and lack of experience at the Graded level concern me.  He picks up jockey, J Scott who will take to the irons up top of this colt for the first time.  I am unfamiliar with this jockey and this too draws another concern.  He has the speed and will need to bring that forward in competing with this more experienced field as they head out on Saturday representing the Universal Racing Club residency.



Good luck to all horses and all owners of this race.  Most importantly have fun!!!


Never mind my picks as it is all in fun and I rarely pick winners.  Hope you do better than I do for this race.




Skippy’s Picks


1.  Ruga:  He lacks a little in experience, but the owner has done well with this colt since claiming him.


2.  Big Wong:  A rabbit in this race that is at times hard to catch.


3.  Real Good Trip:  A consistent colt that likes being in the money.



Tarton’s Long Shot


Tinian:  His last few races it seems he did not like due to distance.  He steps back down to 8.5 furlongs for this race which we know he can win at.  At 14/1 I will put him on my exotic tickets for this race.  And he could very well fire to get on the boards.





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  One Response to “G2, The La Holla: The Golden State of California hosts 3yr olds going 8.5 furlongs on Fast Dirt.”

  1. Great article, Gus. Thanks.