By Dennis Miller
Jockey Ricky Gonzalez got simple instructions Saturday afternoon from trainer Jerry Hollendorfer Saturday afternoon before the $50,000 Oak Tree Handicap in the Oak Tree at Pleasanton meet during the Alameda County Fair.
Gonzalez had the mount on Hollendorfer’s horse Bronze Star for the Oak Tree and with the trainer down at Santa Anita to saddle a horse for the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup, instructions over the phone was the only way to go.
“Jerry told me to let the horse run,” said Gonzalez. “I didn’t know if he would be alone on the lead as I thought there were others that would go.”
He was – alone that is – in first place. While the lead was always 1-2 lengths, in reality it was much more comfortable as the fractions with not too fast, meaning is was an easy lead.
When they turned for homes, runs by eventual second place finisher Crittenden and third place runner He’s A Pepper were easily rebuffed.
“He was so comfortable out there,” said Gonzalez. “He ran a great race all the way. When we got (to the top of the lane), I knew they weren’t going to catch me.”
Bronze Star crossed the line first and paid $8.60, $4.80 and $3.80.
Hollendorfer was able to catch the race on TV from Southern California. He actually had two horses entered in the race, but scratched likely favorite Southern Freedom as the horse had some blood in his trachea following his last work.
“I talked with the owners and we decided to not run him,” said Hollendorfer.
But with the way Bronze Star ran, it may not have mattered.
“Oh I don’t know about that,” said Hollendorfer with a slight chuckle. “Southern Freedom is a pretty nice horse.”