Hollywood Don wins Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes / October 2015

(source: Fallbrook/Bonsall The Village News, written by Joe Naiman)

In 1959, before San Luis Rey Training Center trainer Peter Miller was born, Don Hartunian made the transition from managing Frank Taylor Ford in Los Angeles to his own Don Hartunian Hollywood Ford dealership on Hollywood Boulevard. Hartunian’s son, whose Rockingham Ranch horse racing entity utilizes Miller to train Gary Hartunian’s horses, acquired a two-year-old colt in April at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale and named the horse Hollywood Don after his father.

Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien, and other Hollywood entertainers started horse racing at Del Mar in
1937 and the Del Mar track has been frequented by Hollywood celebrities ever since. The racehorse Hollywood Don spent several summer weeks at Del Mar in 2015, making his debut with a seventh-place finish July 26 and winning an Aug. 12 race before winning the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes on Sept. 5.

The Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes is a one-mile race for two-year-olds. Hollywood Don and jockey Brice Blanc had a winning time of 1:35.46 and finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of second-place Hot Ore.

“You’d never watch that race and think he was two,” said Rockingham Ranch manager David Lanzman.

Hollywood Don was foaled in Kentucky on March 28, 2013. He was sired by Tapit and his dam is Ocean Drive. Rockingham Ranch acquired Hollywood Don at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale for $245,000. “Nobody really wanted the horse at the OBS sale,” Gary Hartunian said.

Ocean Drive is also the dam of Hartunian’s seven-year-old horse Unbridled Ocean, who has won six of his 19 career races while finishing second or third in five additional starts, and Hartunian noted that Ocean Drive performs well on turf.

Miller began training Hollywood Don. “Pete does a great job,” Hartunian said.

Blanc has been Hollywood Don’s jockey for all three of the colt’s races. “He’s really been unbelievable on the horse,” Hartunian said. “He’s just really got a relationship.”

All three of Hollywood Don’s starts have been one-mile turf races for two-year-olds. Although he finished seventh in his July 26 debut, he was only 4 1/4 lengths behind winner Rare Candy. After breaking fifth among the eight horses Aug. 12, Hollywood Don took the lead prior to the first quarter-mile and won the race in 1:35.72 while finishing a neck in front of second-place Tiz a Billy.

The Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes was the sixth race Sept. 5. Hollywood Don broke sixth among the 11 horses. After a quarter of a mile he was fifth, 4 1/2 lengths behind leader Tiz a Billy and 2 1/2 lengths in back of fourth-place Swiss Minister. Hollywood Don was also in fifth and 4 1/2 lengths behind Tiz a Billy after half a mile while trailing fourth-place Dubdubwatson by a length. Tiz a Billy led second-place Hot Ore by a head after three-quarters of a mile while Hollywood Don was in third a length behind Hot Ore. Hollywood Don had the lead, a head in front of Hot Ore, when he entered the stretch 1:23.34 into the race.

“Just a great ride,” Hartunian said.

Miller also trained the fifth-place horse in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes; Getoffmyback is owned by Gary Barber and finished sixth lengths in back of Hollywood Don and half a length behind fourth-place Rare Candy. Getoffmyback, who was ridden by James Graham, earned $2,000 of the total $100,000 purse for his finishing position.

Hollywood Don earned the first-place share of $60,000, which is more than 16 times the original list price of a 1959 Ford Thunderbird or more than 30 times the initial list price of a 1960 Ford Falcon. Hollywood Don has earned $102,250 in his three career races.

Hollywood Don will likely next race Oct. 10 in the Zuma
Beach Stakes at Santa Anita Park. “If he hits that, we’re on our way to the Breeders’ Cup,” Hartunian said.

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