Zeewat Rolls To Victory In Gold Rush Stakes

Zeewat Rolls To Victory In Gold Rush Stakes

     Zeewat, sporting blinkers for the first time, ran away from his rivals down the stretch and scored a 3 1/4-length victory in the $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields Saturday.

     Jockey Russell Baze, Zeewat’s regular rider, felt his colt wasn’t focused when he ran a lackluster third in the Golden Nugget Stakes on Nov. 10.  Baze suggested to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer that he put blinkers on Zeewat and Hollendorfer listened to the Hall of Fame rider.

     “That’s how I work with Russell on a lot of different things,” said Hollendorfer, a Hall of Famer himself.  “He makes suggestions.  He’s riding the horse so I give him whatever he wants.”

     “He’s a different horse with the blinkers on,” said Baze of Zeewat.  “It (adding the blinkers) really woke this colt up.  He’s had a lot more life in the morning, working on his own.”

     Zeewat was making his first start around two turns in the one-mile Gold Rush and was with the leaders from the start.   

     “We were on the lead but we were going very slow,” said Baze.  “He was up on the bit and wanting to run the whole way.  He has a nice way of traveling, and when I set him down he extended his stride and away he went.  I never thought distance would be a problem for him.”

     Zeewat clocked a time of 1:38.13 in the Gold Rush and paid $6.00 as the 2-1 second choice in the feature for 2-year-olds.  Condiment, a 22-1 outsider, took second by a length over 9-1 My Best Bet.  

     Royal Barrister, who won his career debut at Hollywood Park in impressive fashion for trainer Doug O’Neill, was bet down to even-money favoritism in the Gold Rush.  Royal Barrister was part of the pace brigade but faded in the final furlong to finish fifth in the field of six.

     The Gold Rush is the second stakes victory for Zeewat, who won the six-furlong Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes at Santa Rosa during the summer.  A Pennsylvania-bred son of Harlan’s Holiday, Zeewat has three wins and a third in five career starts.  

     Owned in partnership by Hollendorfer and George Todaro, Zeewat earned $45,000 for the Gold Rush victory and has banked $117,700 in his five races.

     Hollendorfer watched the Gold Rush via simulcast from Hollywood Park, where he won the Grade 2 $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes with Lady of Fifty ($8.80).  Hollendorfer had a very big Saturday as he won three races at Golden Gate Fields and two at Hollywood Park.

     Racing continues Sunday at Golden Gate Fields.  Post time is 12:45 p.m. and the track is offering $1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 programs, $1 hot dogs, $1 beers and $1 sodas.  Football fans can watch all the NFL games at Golden Gate Fields as the track broadcasts the action via the Sunday Ticket.

     Golden Gate Fields is a Stronach Group company, North America's leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator.  The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness.  The company is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its Adena Springs operation.  The company owns and operates AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service.  The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.