Garcia Wins Four At Hollywood


A four-win day at Hollywood Park on Sunday, highlighted by a victory on Irish Gypsy in the $76,050 Desert Stormer Handicap, met the satisfaction of jockey Martin Garcia.

“It’s okay,” he dead-panned, while leaving the winner’s circle.

Irish Gypsy was Garcia’s final mount of the day. The 5-year-old Irish Gypsy, sent off as the 6-5 favorite, closed from fourth in a field of five to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Warren’s Blossom, who led by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining.

Garcia rode Irish Gypsy for trainer Bob Baffert, who had three winners on the program. Garcia rode all of them.

In the Desert Stormer, Garcia kept Irish Gypsy on the outside throughout the race, which he said was a key to victory.

“I had good position outside and she was relaxed,” Garcia said. “When I asked to go, she took off.”

Irish Gypsy ran six furlongs in 1:09.67, and paid $4.60. Fund Raise, trained by Baffert, finished third, followed by Washington Bridge and All The Love. U R All That I Am was scratched Sunday morning.

Owned by Mike Pegram and John Sikura, Irish Gypsy won her second consecutive stakes in the Desert Stormer, preceded by a win in the Valid Expectations Stakes at Lone Star Park on May 30.

Baffert said Irish Gypsy would be pointed for the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap over seven furlongs on July 16.

Earlier on the card, Garcia won a maiden race for 2-year-olds with the Baffert-trained Night Tide, an optional claimer for females with the Baffert-trained Toro Bonito, and a $40,000 claimer for sprinters for trainer Mike Mitchell with Deluxe Bus.

Both Baffert and Garcia thought they should have another winner when Da Ruler finished a neck behind Sway Away in an allowance race over seven furlongs.

“I should have had one more,” Garcia said.


Trainer Vann Belvoir was at his base at Emerald Downs outside of Seattle watching on television when he won the first race of his career at Hollywood Park on Saturday with Macho Dorado.

“We were bouncing around the office,” he said. “We thought we’d won the Kentucky Derby.”

It was a milestone win, and could be the first of several new successes in Southern California this summer for Belvoir, who plans to have as many as 12 horses at Del Mar this summer.

Currently ranked second in the standings at Emerald Downs, Belvoir said on Saturday that has asked for eight to 12 stalls at Del Mar this summer. Considering that Del Mar did not have a full barn area in 2010, when many stables stayed at Hollywood Park and the general horse population was down, stall space should not be an issue on a circuit that is desperate to attract new participants.

“I’m hoping we’ll be able to get some stalls,” he said. “That’s our game plan. A lot of my clients are in Washington and California.”

Belvoir, 37, has 50 horses at Emerald Downs and 11 at Golden Gate Fields. In 2009, he was third in the trainer’s standings at Emerald and was second last year.

“I’ve got a good crew and that helps,” he said.

Belvoir said his Del Mar team will include Macho Dorado, who won an optional claimer; Jade Taylor, a maiden race winner at Golden Gate Fields on June 2; and Mack’s Golden Bullet, a stakes winner at Emerald Downs last summer who was fourth in the Auburn Stakes there on May 30.

A former leading rider in the Northwest, Belvoir rode 1,347 winners. He has been training since 1996, and is the son of current Emerald Downs leading trainer Howard Belvoir.

by Steve Andersen


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