Trainer Michele Dollase has what she considers a pretty good California bred 3-year-old colt but nowhere to run him at home. That 3-year-old is Hardboot, winner of the $100,000 Silky Sullivan at Golden Gate Fields in April, and most recently second in the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes, both restricted to state breds and both on the grass.
There are no races for him early at the upcoming Del Mar meet so the trainer began to consider broadening the horizons. She inquired of trainer Doug O’Neill who having a similar situation last year opted to go East. Dollase asked how he thought a Cal bred might stack up in the East or Midwest and his reply was “you won’t know unless you try.”
So Hardboot boarded an airplane that arrived in Kentucky Monday with his connections intending to run him Saturday in the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury.
Dollase’s son accompanied Hardboot and they are currently at Keeneland with her sister Aimee who is an assistant for Muck Ruis. Dollase reports that Hardboot “jogged fine” at Keeneland and had a “good work Saturday here.” ‘Here’ being San Luis Rey Training Center in Bonsall, CA where Dollase trains the two horses she races for Silver Creek Stables, Hardboot and his full sister Lady Espionage, and where she also oversees another three dozen horses for various trainers and owners. She gets many of the top 2-year-olds ready before they move to Santa Anita or Del Mar.
Before leaving for Canterbury she will work 30 or so horses at San Luis Rey on Friday morning. Hardboot is expected to van to Shakopee late Thursday, along with other horses stabled in Kentucky that are participating in Saturday’s Northern Stars Racing Festival.
“We’re having fun with him,” Dollase said of Hardboot. “He ran a good race in the Snow Chief.” Hardboot is a late runner who can, according to Dollase, “fall asleep” at the back of the pack. When he did get rolling in the Snow Chief it was simply too late. “He makes a run. He has a pretty good kick,” she said, adding that he “needs a target.” That target could be Minnesota-bred sprinter Mr. Jagermeister who is expected to enter Wednesday as well.
Jockey Geovanni Franco, a former Canterbury rider who is making a name for himself on the Southern California circuit, is often at the training center so Dollase learned more from him about Canterbury’s turf course and also found that Dean Butler is a top rider here. One thing led to the next and Butler should be aboard Hardboot Saturday evening in Canterbury’s richest race of the season.
And if the Dollase name sounds familiar, it should. Michele is the daughter of Wally Dollase, a legend in our sport for several decades, who raced at the pinnacle of this game recording multiple graded stakes victories.
The Mystic Lake Derby, at one mile on the turf, is one of five stakes races on Saturday’s 10-race card that begins at 6:00 p.m.