San Felipe Stakes winner Hear the Ghost worked six furlongs March 24 at Betfair Hollywood Park as he approaches his next start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in the Santa Anita Derby.
Hear the Ghost was timed in a handy 1:13 3/5 over Hollywood's Cushion Track, fifth best of 14 at the distance on the morning. The 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper out of the Coronado's Quest mare Rehear, owned by Halo Farms and Hollendorfer, has had two published works since the San Felipe in preparation for the April 6 Santa Anita Derby.
"Very nice," is how Hollendorfer termed the move. "He galloped out strong as usual. He'll have a little blowout [next week] and we'll be all set for the Santa Anita Derby."
Hollendofer, enjoying an outstanding meet at Santa Anita Park, is looking for his first win in the Santa Anita Derby with Hear the Ghost.
The chestnut gelding, ridden by Corey Nakatani, benefited from an exceptional speed duel between favorites Flashback and Goldencents to rally from mid-pack at odds of 5.90-1 in the March 9 San Felipe. Hear the Ghost scored by half a length over Flashback, the even-money choice.
Whether Hear the Ghost's 1 1/16-mile San Felipe win was an aberration due to the hot tempo -- six furlongs went in 1:09.94 -- remains to be seen, said Hollendorfer.
"All the horses that are on the 3-year-old trail have to prove themselves every single race," said the Hall of Fame conditioner. "Those races are more under the microscope, so everybody's going to look closer at those. If you don't so something right, they criticize you.
"I've been down that road before, so hopefully, I won't give them anything to criticize Hear the Ghost."
Hollendorfer was second in the Santa Anita trainer standings to fellow Hall of Famer Bob Baffert through March 23 with 26 victories. Striking at a 27% rate, he trailed Baffert by five wins while starting 44 fewer horses.
With 50 points to date under the new qualifying system for the Kentucky Derby, Hear the Ghost is among the leaders and seemingly has enough to make the Run for the Roses.
"We'll see," said Hollendorfer, who is yet to win the Kentucky Derby. "If our horse takes us to the Derby, we'll go, but if he doesn't, we'll go somewhere else."